Stuck with You - Alexandra Moody



The world was supposed to end with zombies. At least, that was what all my favorite horror movies suggested. I was fully prepared to have to roam the streets with a machete in hand and run for my life whenever I heard the garbled moans of the walking dead.

Sitting at home in my pajamas was definitely not how I saw things going. That was the reality of living through a pandemic though. And, right now, this reality was just as uncertain and just as frightening as trying to survive a horde of the undead.

“What do you mean you guys can’t get home?” My voice shook with emotion, and my gut twisted with concern.

My mom’s phone reception was shoddy at best, but I didn’t miss her carefree laugh. “Well, we’re stuck. Isn’t it wild?”

Wild was not the term I’d have chosen to describe our current situation, and I could think of several swear words that were far more appropriate. Mom and Dad were photographers and had been out of the country this week for a wedding in Mexico—the same week an unknown and highly contagious virus had swept across the globe. Now, airports were closing, school was closed, and the world had gone to hell.

At seventeen, I was used to being left home alone when my parents were out of town for work. They were never gone for more than a week, and I was pretty self-sufficient. That didn’t mean I was equipped to deal with my parents being stranded overseas when we faced a full-blown pandemic though.

People were dying, hospitals were overrun, toilet paper held more value than gold, and the news showed long queues snaking away from the entrances to gun stores. Shit was getting real. But, as bad as things might be for me here, I was far more worried about my parents.

“You’re stuck? How is that possible?” I struggled to keep the panic from my voice.

“The airport here has closed, and we can’t get a flight home.” Mom didn’t sound the least bit alarmed. “I can certainly think of worse places to be trapped during a pandemic though. The sun’s out, and you should see how clear the water is today.”

My parents were such free spirits, which was great when you wanted to go to a party or jet off on a spontaneous trip around the globe. It wasn’t so great when there was an emergency. I’d told them when they were leaving for this latest trip that it was a bad idea. They hadn’t listened though, and now they were stranded. To be fair, no one could have predicted how quickly things would escalate in a week.

Just one week ago, I’d been starting spring break, and the pandemic was barely a concern. Sure, there were a few cases here in the US, but it seemed like the virus was confined to countries on the other side of the world. I certainly didn’t imagine that days later we’d be locked down in our houses and my parents would be unable to return from their trip. Looking back, it was amazing how naïve I’d been. How naïve we’d all been.

I huffed out a breath. “Mom, I don’t want to hear about your plans to work on your tan. Will you please put Dad on the phone?”

There was a rustling sound on the line before I heard the steady tone of my dad’s voice. “Hey, Clary, how are you?”

“How am I?” I shook my head. “I’m not the one stuck in another country while the whole world’s going into lockdown. I’m more concerned about you guys.”

“Don’t worry about us,” Dad replied. “We’re fine.” He sounded so calm I had to wonder if my parents realized how serious this all was.

“Dad, they’re saying on the news we have to stay home, and we’re only supposed to leave the house to exercise or to get food and medical supplies. This is bad…” I rubbed a hand across my cheeks and tried to stop the tears from coming. I wasn’t the kind of girl who usually cried, but right now, I felt pretty damn close to tears. “What if you guys can’t get home?”

“We’ll get home,” Dad said. “I’m going to call our travel agent, and we’re going to sort this out. We’ll be back before you know it, I promise.”

I nodded my reply, not that Dad could hear it. I was just glad he seemed to be taking things seriously. I had no family here in Harford, and they all lived across