Photo Credit: ~zomgwaffles on deviantART
The harder she scratched away at her forearm, the quicker the flesh pulled away from the muscle underneath. From outside the sealed quarantine unit, Doctor Mia Sprague watched in dismay as she saw her patient’s body fall apart. Her fourth attempt at a vaccine had failed. The virus was still too powerful, or perhaps she just hadn’t analyzed the entire virus and its characteristics well enough. This woman was going to die and her body would reanimate, just like the movies they made. God only knew what she would act like, however. Would she be fast? Slow? Eat all available flesh or just the brain? Would she be superhuman strong or retain her current body’s strength? How fast would her reanimated body decay? How contagious was this virus? Had she already infected others? She was the second patient that had come in with this condition, so obviously the virus was present in the general population, but she had had a close relationship with the last patient. And the last patient had effectively set herself on fire in her own house when Dr. Sprague had told her what would happen when the virus took over her entire body, so they didn’t know what would occur if the patient was allowed to reanimate. Dr. Sprague had to tell the media. She needed to have them tell everyone who had unexplained flesh wounds or thinning of the skin to come to her hospital to address a non-life threatening condition. She knew that the virus was, in fact, life-threatening, but she couldn’t cause a panic. She couldn’t afford to cause panic yet.
Heidi Baker kept picking at her wound. First the nail of her index finger to start a foothold of sorts, then slipping the pad of her index finger between that foothold and the muscle underneath. The skin gave way, tearing and pulling away from her body, turning white as the tissue died. It hurt, but she felt compelled to keep picking at it, as if she were someone else pulling the flesh from her arm. She knew she needed to stop before she pulled all the skin from her arm, but she couldn’t seem to make herself stop pulling at the loose flesh. There wasn’t a stopping point like other wounds she had had in the past. The more she pulled, the more came loose. She was really sick. The medicine hadn’t worked. She was going to die, probably from exposure to the elements without the protective barrier of skin, even though she was in a quarantine room in the hospital that was kept super extra clean. She even had her own heating/air conditioning system so she couldn’t catch any other illnesses from other patients in the hospital and so she couldn’t infect any other patients with her virus.
They didn’t even have a name for the virus she carried yet. Her doctor hadn’t even told her any other symptoms that would happen to her. She was finding out about symptoms as they happened to her. For example, one of her molar teeth had started to feel loose the past couple of hours, and she couldn’t help pushing her tongue against it to see how much looser it was feeling by the hour. She hadn’t had a chance to tell her doctor about that yet though. The stupid bitch was just standing outside the room, watching her with a concerned look on her face instead of out in her lab or wherever doing research on how to fix this problem. She obviously wasn’t coming in anytime soon, either, because she was still wearing her nice clothes and pristine white lab coat, not those horrid orange hazard suits the staff had to wear when coming into the quarantine room.
She stopped picking at the flesh on her arm, got up from her bed, and pulled the curtain to cover the window and went back to her bed. She didn’t feel like being a zoo animal any longer. All she wanted to do was follow Sarah and go home to set herself on fire. On second thought, no, she didn’t want to set herself on fire. She had been devastated to find out how Sarah had killed herself. Heidi had always had a feeling that Sarah had a tendency toward suicidal thoughts, but she never thought that those thoughts would be violent. Perhaps Sarah had pictures of Hollywood-style zombies in her head and she didn’t want there to be a chance of becoming one of the undead, so she burned herself and her house.
Heidi took a minute to think about why Sarah committed suicide the way she had. Had she been right? Was this virus going to be the cause of a zombie outbreak like in the movies and comic books? She couldn’t be right. In the movies, people looked completely normal until they died and came back to life. They didn’t start rotting before they even passed away. She found some comfort in that thought.