Amy tossed and turned. Water was all she could think about but she couldn’t muster the strength to ask. She opened her bleary eyes and looked about the room. She found the cup; and noticed her parents asleep on chairs outside. She reached as far as she could to no avail. Defeated, she closed her eyes. In her mind, viewed the cup coming to her still outstretched arm and felt a splash. Her eyes bolted open; startled to be holding the cup she couldn’t even reach a mere moment ago, warm water dripped down her hand and wrist. Shock and panic began to overwhelm her, she tried to fake calmness as she sipped her water and gently placed the cup down on the bed rail. A nurse must have come in and given it to me while I had my eyes closed and is probably just around the corner Amy hoped as she peered over the edge to see around the room. No one was there, the door was still shut, there was no sound besides the constant beep of the monitors and her heart beating in ears.
Amy laid back and closed her eyes. She thought of her cold toes and imagined the blankets moving over her feet. When her eyes opened, nothing had changed. She sat up and frustratedly put the scratchy blanket back over her toes and pushed the service button.
“Thanks, Sasha” Agent Ryan said as the screen went back into place and the other feeds came back into view. He leaned back in his chair with his pad, spun once and moved towards his desk.
“Amy, honey” Her mom whispered softly lowering herself into a chair by the bed, her father put his hand on her mother’s shoulder and looked down teary-eyed. “I’m so…sorry” Amy managed to murmur. Her parents cried and held her hand as the world faded into black again.
Black suit, soft steps, swipe of a card, whir of a door – the room is completely dark but responds to the touch of his finger. “Sasha” he says in a clear voice and a line of blue light makes its way around the circular room. “Agent Ryan Parker” she greeted as warmly as possible for an AI. Lights slowly came on, and images of hospital rooms appeared on a wall to the left. “Your patients are all stable, the doctors reports are on the console” he moved toward the center of the room as his work station lit up – the tablet on the desk awakened with the latest updates. He flipped through the reports scanning for anything abnormal.
An alert started going off – one of the screens to the left lit up. “Sasha, focus on that one” Ryan swiveled his chair to grab a notebook and watched intensely at the feed.
Apologies for the length of time between this installation and the last one. Life and vacation happened and I ran out of words. I finally managed to put a few together this morning because I just needed to write. Hopefully I’ll break down this block and write more frequently again, thanks for your patience.
“It seems,” said the doctor quietly as he secured the door “that your daughter has become infected with a rare strain of smallpox”. Silence and worried looks passed throughout the small quarantined room – it was then that Amy noticed her parents and the doctor were all wearing masks. “Smallpox was in the case” she realized, horrified.
As the doctor continued to explain the situation as best he could, dread filled the atmosphere. “Unfortunately, because of this weaponized strain, there is as of yet, no antidote. We’re not sure what will happen, but we have the best people working on this. I suggest that this information stays within this room, and as far as friends and other family are concerned, we tell them it’s just a very bad case of the chicken pox until we know more.”
He hung his head apologetically and left the room, giving the family some space and time to process everything that they had just learned.
Catching up? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The train screeched into the station as if in a hurry. A man in a black suit with a briefcase got up and went to the door as it lurched to a halt. He disappeared as soon as the doors opened.
A small town in the middle of nowhere. The semester just ended and amid the swarm of college students leaving for vacation stood one girl, noticing. The sound of glass crashing caught her ear, she jumped, turned around and saw a small cracked case in the wake of a speeding unmarked car. None of the other students heard the sound above their own chatter, or noticed anything beyond their excitement.
Curious, she left the mass and went to look at the object on the side of the road – It was removed from the crowd so the chance of the case being planted or intentionally thrown toward the students, she deduced, was unlikely.
She picked up the case – the shell was cracked but nothing seemed to have fallen out, broken, or leaked. The rest of the students were gone now; she stood up and surveyed the campus from a distance.
Amy was never a normal girl – she noticed the things others missed. Details, sounds, she could tune out of the chatter and see what was really happening in a scenario that no one else noticed. This was both a curse and a gift. A heightened sense of awareness and the propensity to pause and intensely focus on particular details made her a bit of a loner. It’s no wonder then, that she found refuge in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and solace in the Chem Lab. To wander beyond the campus to investigate a case that fell out of a car really wasn’t unusual for someone like her.
She walked slowly back towards campus with the case. At a cursory glance it didn’t look like anything dangerous was inside.
The man in the suit flashed his badge at the security in the CDC building and walked swiftly into a room with no windows. A panicked expression on the faces around the table greeted him as he shut the door.