The Androgynous Strain 3
One way boys (and girls) were looking better was holding in their
stomachs. Others were dealing by hyperventilating to get more
There is no hope.
"I don't understand what I'm feeling or why."
"Everything from the way I was raised to my DNA controls my
"You are powerless."
There is no way out.
No friends. Obstacles.
"You always come home late!"
"You never do what I want!"
Rolling of eyes.
Read the same paragraph over and over and just don't get it. Déjà
vu. Read the same paragraph over and over and just don't get it.
The words above the main entrance were Camp de Cahuenga High
School. Some teens entering were rubbing their backs and
grimacing. Some were holding their stomachs and talking about
butterflies. Some could not breathe. Some asked to be excused to
the rest room every few minutes to urinate. Some dragged their
feet down the halls and sat in class yawning and trying to keep
their eyes open.
Little children spin until they fall down. These teens did not
need to spin.
Some snapped at friends. Some didn't talk as tears ran down their
faces. Some had wrinkled foreheads. Some held themselves as stiff
as a board. Some yelled at anyone nearby.
Some sluggish fat kids had dry skin, dull hair, and were not very
smart. Some skinny kids were excited, restless, and seemed to
have diarrhea. Some hyperactive kids could not sit still.
"Where's your paper?"
"I don't have it."
"Please don't tell me the dog ate it because only little children
use that lie."
"I did it but I left it at home."
Some students no longer laughed at that line in the TV
commercial: "I've fallen and I can't get up." Because when they
fell, they couldn't get up. Some never found the commercial funny
in the first place because they had grandparents or because they
were in wheelchairs.
Some hadn't fallen down physically. They had run out of ways to
"Are you listening?"
"I asked you a question."
At bedtime when the rest of the family went to sleep, Cameron
usually powered down when there were no chores to do. Powering
down conserved her batteries. For all practical purposes, it was
sleep. This week, Cameron's bed was never slept in. Other
students were not cyborg but still could not sleep. Some could
sleep but woke up every night screaming.
Some could not pass a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test
when stopped at night by the police. Some could not pass these
tests during the day at school. Some tested positive for other,
"I need more muscles."
He took something to build his body.
"I don't look like the model in the magazine." said one girl.
"Of course not. She's a grown woman and you're a teen girl." said
The teen pointed to the article about the model.
"She's the same age as me."
The mother had no answer to that.
Some students blacked out. Some clutched their side and spat up
blood. The paramedics took them to the ER.
Some bit their nails. Some perspired even though they were not in
Phys-Ed. Some held their forehead and then swallowed pills.
Many, like John Baum, left their bed unmade in the morning. Some
left the water running. Some left the refrigerator door open and
came home to a parent angry that all the food was spoiled and, in
some cases, water all over the kitchen floor. Some left the door
to their house open. Most of these were lucky that they were not
robbed like the Baums and wiped out financially. Some left their
locker open at school. Few wanted to rob you but you risked
someone planting drugs in your locker and then calling the
The blasé rich kids had seen everything and would rather watch
paint dry or watch grass grow than watch the clock as they waited
to transfer to private school with the other rich kids. What a
Some teens just stared at the floor or into empty space. Some
moped and brooded. Some stopped seeing friends and stopped
talking to parents or siblings.
Some picked fights. Some tended to overreact.
Some girls had to see the doctor more often. Some boys had to see
a male specialist. Some had inflammations.
Some had an idea how the teen with progeria felt when their hair
fell out and it wasn't chemo. Some had to see a periodontist.
Thwarted, some ground their teeth and had to see an endodontist.
Some shook and it wasn't epilepsy. Some thought everyone was out
to get them. Some lost the ability to trust others.
"My chem classroom was here yesterday.
"You're on the wrong hall." said the principal.
Cameron was not the only one who forgot who she was. Some zoned
out. The doctors called it a "Transient Dissociative Episode."
Some forgot their medication and freaked.
Derek Reese had survived what Skynet Forces had called a work
camp. He now had a condition worse than simple PTSD. Derek
disliked going near the high school. It reminded him of the
adolescence that was taken from him by Judgment Day.
Some, like Cameron, felt shame. Some self-blame. Some felt
permanently damaged while others really were permanently damaged.
"Nobody understands me."
In the future, the machines sent a cyborg on a mission to destroy
the leader of their enemy. She was captured and reprogrammed by
Doctor Katherine Brewster to believe herself evil and The
Resistance good. Do good people engage in torture and
brainwashing? Cameron even began to idealize the one who ordered
this experimentation upon her -- John Connor. Then she met his
"There is no meaning to life."
Sarah never understood why Cameron never protected herself by
taking cover when bullets were flying. Sarah never told Cameron
to duck because Sarah didn't care.
Food, feathers, dust, and pollen. At school, some had eczema or
broke out in hives. Some had blackheads, lesions, and pus.
Disgusting! Dermatology bills were high.
"You're too sensitive."
"Maybe if you didn't criticize me I wouldn't be."
Sarah came home late. Derek was not there. Laundry was piling up
and Cameron had not done it yet. John's room was a mess.
"Do I have to do everything myself?"
Some students were annoyed. Some were agitated. Some were
overwhelmed. Some numbed themselves.
The school nurse earned her pay but she wasn't a doctor.
Inspired by the show Jackass and the game Grand Theft Auto, some
took to street racing, car surfing, and daredevil stunts. Some
jumped from bridges into water. Some jumped from rooftop to
rooftop. Some sought thrills in other ways. Boys succeed at
suicide. Girls just want attention and are ineffective at
suicide. A girl named Jordan Cowan succeeded. She jumped off the
roof as other students chanted: "Jump! Jump! Jump!"
No one thought it was fun afterward.