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10:13am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

-8 F

IMSA students are still shuffling to class on a bitterly cold Tuesday when they receive news from their reigning overlord, Dr. Bob Hernandez.

All students are to report to their respective halls by 5:30 p.m., and curfew check will occur at 5:45 p.m. All IMSA activities will be canceled on Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday.

There is screaming, cheering, and then a wave of fear washes through the student body. Quarantine.

5:45pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

-14 F

“You are not to leave the hall for any reason. You are not to open the doors to the outside. You are not to open your windows. Any of these actions will result in handing you over to the administration immediately. They will do with you as they see fit. Do not touch your PTAC.”

A girl in my wing pipes up, “What if our PTAC stops working again?”

Our RC looks her directly in the eye. “Find someone to share a room with.”

We are baffled. We already have roommates.

6:32pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

-19 F

My roommate tries to order pizza. Sodexo dinner was short and tasteless. The RC’s all say no.

“Why not?” she asks.

All the pizza places have frozen.

11:23pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

-22 F

“Hey, are we allowed to have our parents sign us out tomorrow if they want us home for the next couple days?

The RC in office does not understand. Going home? IMSA is your home. “I guess we can’t stop you from leaving. Remember that you can’t open the doors.”

“How am I supposed to let in my parents then?”

The RCs don’t answer, only stare with wide, dark-circled eyes.

9:00am Wednesday, January 30, 2019

-27 F

A voice crackles over the intercom. “We are now serving breakfast.”

There is a thunderous noise as all 80 people in the building rush to the hall commons. Food is limited. The quarantine could last forever, so everyone needs to stock up.

It’s only after that we realize someone had to be treated for severe bruises and sprains after he tripped and was stepped on in the mad rush.

12:13pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wind chill = -57 F

“I can’t take it anymore!” One of my wing-mates hurls herself against the window in the wing commons. “It can’t be that bad! I just want to leave! Just let me leave!”

The RCs come in. We haven’t seen her since.

8:30pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wind chill = -52 F

We have lost all concept of time. We do not know what day it is, or how long we’ll be here. Tomorrow’s school has been canceled. We have watched 4 movies in two hours. Where are we?

5 people have gone missing.

3:27am Thursday, January 31, 2019

Wind Chill = -41 F

We are contemplating sleeping in the wing commons together. People keep disappearing, we keep laughing for no reason, a movie is still playing. We don’t know which movie. We don’t remember starting any movies since yesterday at 6.

“I’m gonna chug a Mountain Dew,” a girl says, whipping one out of nowhere.

A chorus of why’s followed this statement.


We all nod in understanding. Caffeine is a life-giving substance. Maybe it will save us.

2:31pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

-8 F.

We see people from other halls in the main building. They have shifted our quarantine so we can talk to other people. Everyone looks gaunt.

I ask a friend how the quarantine went in his hall. His eyes are haunted. “We’ve lost so many.”

5:22pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

-2 F.

“We should go outside,” my roommate says suddenly. She has a scary, crazy gleam in her eye. “It’s not that cold. It’s not even that cold.” She mutters this over and over again for the next hour. I’m worried for her.

8:33am Friday, February 1, 2019

0 F.

IMSA students shuffle to class, a glassy, dead look in their eyes. What day is it? No one seems to know.

We made it to February. But at what cost?

About the Author

Kaleigh O'Brien
Kaleigh O'Brien is a senior of 1501 C wing, a Community Developer for 1501. She is so terribly excited to be writing for Acronym this year, and to have found yet another extracurricular to be involved in! Outside of the Bubble, she's a Writing Center tutor, Editor-In-Chief of the yearbook, and she runs track, occasionally cross country, and Irish dances about 5 times a week, plus some other stuff on the side. When she's not writing or studying, you'll find her . . . actually, you probably won't find her unless you catch her between meetings and practices, but she's down to talk all the time and any time.

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