The Infection

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Chapter 3

Written by: roseyn

My head is still hazy but I desperately try to process the information.

Three parasites… successfully removed….don’t… carry spores.

Did that then mean…?

The surgeon is studying me like one reading my thoughts. “You will live, Eric.” His voice is low, firm and thick with conviction.

“So why the isolation tent?” I ask him.

Stanovich casually shrugs. “Bureaucratic policy. Nothing more.”

For one brief, fantastical moment, I feel no pain, just an enormous sense of euphoric relief.

I have been given back my future.

My thoughts quickly centre on Lillith, my breezy, endlessly optimistic Lillith, on old movies, long beach walks and delicious spaghetti banquets.

And I smile.

“My name is Dr. Stanovich,” the surgeon says with immaculate pride. “And I will be in charge of your case study.”

Apprehension makes an unwelcome return in me as I recall the remainder of Stanovich’s news. We have not encountered anything like them [the parasites] before… keeping you here for further study.

I wonder what this means precisely? More importantly, what it means for me? And how long will I have to stay? I ask Stanovich.

He laughs but there is no humour in it. “So many questions, Eric. And I will answer all of them… later. Right now, you are to rest.”

And with a long, slow, satisfied grin, one ripe with knowing, he disappears from the screen.

I am alone again.

I take in my windowless surroundings. It is all white walls and immaculate silver fixtures, oppressively clinical… friendless. The noticeable odour of antiseptic assaults my senses, and the only sound is the steady, rhythmical beeping of the vital signs monitor. This is to be my home for an indefinite period.

My timeless cell of no night or day.

I shiver.

In time, I drift off. Bizarre dreams haunt my sleep, hostile dreams of hostile faces, of shadowless, cold places and I’m in the centre, unable to move, unable to speak.

Somewhere a light turns on and….

“Eric….”

I bolt upright, awake and shaken. Hot, sharp pain stabs my ribs and I groan. My heart is thrashing, my hands are sweaty, my hairline wet. Just a dream, I say repeatedly between long, difficult breaths, just a dream. So why wasn’t I convinced?

“Eric….”

The voice is whispery, urgent and is coming from the screen’s direction. I narrow my gaze, stare hard and then wonder if I’m still dreaming.

Lillith?

She immediately gestures me to keep silent. She appears frightened, skittish, constantly checking over her shoulder. “I have to get you out of here.” Her eyes are wide, wild, her expression unusually stern. “The Infection,” she says, “the one in your body….”

I don’t much care for her present tense assessment. Infection is gone… past tense. I open my mouth to speak but she overrides me.

“You didn’t just get it,” she says in her non-Lillith voice.

And I begin to question who she really is.

He put Infection in your body….”

“What?”

Stanovich… he put it there… on purpose.”

Comments

Oooh this is fabulous. I shivered as I read the last few sentences. This is beautifully crafted with rising tension and timely twists….and the character was beautifully drawn. Great stuff!
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