TITLE: Dead Silence
A pandemic sweeps the globe and Hawaii loses contact with the rest of the world. A teenage girl learns her father has the antidote . . . but he’s missing. She must find him before the airborne virus reaches the islands.
Friday, December 12, 2025
The day the world fell silent, I sat in Basic Chinese, a class I was going to fail. Again. Chinese would be my doom. It was a required course in Hawaii, so I had to pass.
Millions of Chinese babies learned the language without any trouble, but here I was, a reasonably intelligent tenth grader falling further and further behind.
While the teacher scanned the room for someone to torture, I scrunched down behind a boy the size of a Sumo wrestler. His bulk hid me from Mrs. Wu and spared me the humiliation of responding to questions I couldn’t answer.
Beyond the classroom walls, surf pounded and called me to the beach. It was wrong, flat out wrong, to trap me here when I could be windsurfing or snorkeling or jogging on the beach.
And I was supposed to care about Chinese?
Mrs. Wu left her desk. Like a shark circling its victims, she stalked down one row and up the next and asked students random questions.
Not me, not me, I inwardly chanted. Pick someone else. Anyone else.
She stopped in front of Tiffany Warrick and smiled with all the warmth of a cobra. “Zhè shì shénme?” She held up a book.
What is this? That was an easy one. Even I knew the answer.
“Zhè shì shū,” Tiffany said without hesitation.
Mrs. Wu gave a swift nod, but no praise. She interrogated other students, but luckily, I escaped her attention. Hands laced behind her back, she returned to her desk.
Relief rushed through me. The inquisition was over.
Mrs. Wu pivoted. Her gaze burned a path straight to me.