Friday, July 29, 2011

Patient Zero

I’ve only been in town three days, and already people are dying.

There’s been panic as they’ve flooded the streets, half blind, half mad, covered in boils, in their vain attempts to flee the city. But the bridge has been blown and the military’s sealed off all the highways, so they shouldn’t get far.

Some won’t believe that U.S. soldiers would fire on unarmed civilians. They’ll swiftly learn otherwise.

They’re saying it’s only a temporary measure, a quarantine as they research potential treatments, but this is nonsense, of course. They always quarantine the city, they always research treatments, and none of it ever comes to a God damned thing. Eventually, their “temporary measures” turn once thriving cities into mausoleums. I’ve seen it happen before and I’ve no doubt I’ll live to see it happen again.

And yes, I know it’s all my fault, don’t you think I know that? By this late stage in the game, of course I know.

But still, here I am, packing my things and preparing to run. I’ll be leaving tonight. By foot or by bike, sticking to the back roads, avoiding the quarantine zones as best I can and hoping to bluff my way through if I happen to get caught.

It’s easier to bluff through than you’d expect, considering. But in a way that does make sense. I look perfectly healthy, after all, and even soldiers are human beings, capable of the same levels of empathy as anyone else. They’ve been told the contagion shows symptoms in hours, and kills in days, so when they see a healthy looking fellow such as myself they assume I just got lucky. And by the time they start showing symptoms, a few hours later, it’s too late. They’ve already let me pass.

Because what nearly nobody knows is that there are carriers, who spread the contagion without showing symptoms of any kind. It’s one of the CDC’s best kept secrets. If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, there’d be even more panic than there already is.

If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might be stopped from leaving town.

I might have been stopped from leaving the last town.

Or the one before that.

Hell, if people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might not have been allowed out of that research facuility in the first place, so many months ago.

I wonder how my life would differ had I not been…

No matter, life is what it is. I can leave town, so I will, and when I arrive at wherever it is that I wind up next, people there will start dying. I know that too.

And I also understand I ought to turn myself in. Should’ve turned myself in after the first town I murdered.

But to do so would mean a lifetime in a lab, poked and prodded and tested and, when I die, dissected.

I hope they would wait until after I die.

Hopefully I’ll never have to find out for certain.

So instead of doing what I know in my heart to be the right thing, I’ll set out on my own. Avoid people, avoid cities, and hope for the best. It’s all I can do.

Maybe that’s selfish. Probably it’s selfish, but I honestly don’t care. I never asked for any of this, and I most certainly don’t accept it.

I know you’ve stopped listening to me, you’re long since dead. You started dying the second I walked into the room, and I don’t know if you even understood why. Still, thank you for letting me vent like this. It feels good to get it all off my chest. People need that, sometimes.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go. I need to keep moving, after all…


  1. Chris, this is excellent! The voice is spot-on, chilling and yet you still feel for him. Great work!

  2. I feel kind of sorry for him, but I do wish he would turn himself in.

  3. Loved your story. The narrator is quite the jerk, and all I could think is enjoy your future time alone.