Certain death from a virus drives him out of the only remaining city and into the wilds.
There is no treatment for this disease, no cure other than death.
But he may still be able to find salvation.
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(c) 2016 Simon Goodson.
Sam felt nervous as he entered the hospital, though there was no reason to be. Still, he’d been surprised when, after he’d called the clinic with his symptoms, the appointment was made not with his usual doctor but at the hospital. Unusual, but nothing to get too alarmed about.
Everything was automated, but that was normal. He booked himself in then followed the indicators which took him down several corridors and, eventually, to the right room. He saw no one else during his walk which again was unusual without being overly worrying.
He stepped through the door then stopped in confusion. Instead of the desk, chairs and doctor he’d been expecting he found himself in a small, drab room. A single chair was fixed to the floor facing a window set into the back wall.
Now he knew something was wrong. Moving towards the chair he saw a doctor settle in on the other side of the screen. The doctor asked him to sit in the chair, then the next twenty minutes were a whirl.
First a compartment opened beneath the screen and the doctor took samples from Sam using remote tools. Then the doctor grilled him on everything he’d done over the past few days. Everyone he’d seen. Everywhere he’d been. It was a pretty short list. Sam had been feeling far too ill to leave his house.
The doctor had then made his apologies, disappearing from view for several minutes before reappearing with a sad look on his face.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “The tests are positive. You have the Darkfire virus.”
Sam stared at the doctor through the thick plastic window. The stark room wavered around him as the words sank in. No. No! It couldn’t be! Not that!
“No,” he managed to whisper. “There must be a mistake.”
“I’m sorry,” repeated the doctor. “I really am. There’s no mistake. The tests are never wrong. You have the virus.”
Sam shook his head slowly. He hadn’t been feeling well, but he’d never imagined it could be that. Everyone knew about it, of course. Everyone was terrified of it. Everyone had seen the news, had seen the havoc the virus wreaked on those infected. Mortality was one hundred percent. The symptoms were terrible, the death even worse.
Then he thought about the questions he was asked, about the last contact he’d had which was seeing a couple of friends when he was first starting to feel ill. No! Had he infected them?
“What about my friends? Could I have… could they be…”
He couldn’t make himself say it. Had he killed them too?
“We’re checking them out,” the doctor replied. “But they should be fine. The virus doesn’t normally become infectious until a couple of days after you feel the effects. That’s the only good thing about it.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that to make me feel better?”
“Really. They’ll be checked, but I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
Sam slumped down, surprised at the relief he felt. His friends would live, but he was still going to die. Why wasn’t he more scared? He felt more numb than anything else. Images of the horrors the virus inflicted kept flashing across his mind, but they felt abstract. He couldn’t apply them to himself.