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I woke from my couch, in my office at St. Luke Hospital. I looked at my personalized clock my coworkers gave me for Christmas one year. It was inscribed “To our new member of our family Dr. Roberts.” The clock read 4:10. I was due for a shift at the clinic. I jumped out of the couch and ran out into the hall. The usual nurses whose station was in front of my office weren’t there. I looked inside the patient rooms and the patients, too, were missing.
The rooms looked as if left in a hurry. Some pans and meds were on the floor, askew. In some rooms the sheets on the bed looked as if they were torn off the bed and flung onto the floor.
Finding not a soul in the hospital, I wandered out onto the street. The usual scent of mini doughnuts, pizza, and gas were nonexistent on the barren uninhabited land. Cars were abandoned on the street, doors still open.
I glanced at my watch and noticed that a bit over a full day had passed. That, to me, wasn’t unusual. I had been overworked with patients. In the war zone it was demanded from me to work on the patients until I passed out, and now I guess it stuck with me.
Every now and then a light roll of wind blew through the city and a slight scent of blood filled the uninhabited city. The wind blew the fliers through the eerie street.
I went to a nearby church. Kneeling in between the rows of pews in front of the altar, I asked for help with the situation I was in.
“Father in heaven, I am lost. I do not know what to do and I am seeking your guidance. I have seen no one, and I am beginning to worry.” A bang came from above, on the balcony. “Hello, is anyone there?” I asked pulling myself up off the dusty, wooden floors. I walked over to the staircase. “Hello?” I called again up the dark, drafty, old, stairs.
I felt my way up the pitch black, steep narrow stairs. At the top of the stairs, was a door, the handle was cool to the touch and I pushed it open. An old stain glass window was the only source of light. The tinted light made abstract shapes on boxes piled in corner and the room smelled of a mix between dust and mold.
A girl limped out from behind a box. She looked to be about ten and she looked as if she had lost some blood. The blood on her clothes was probably hers.
It took me a few seconds to assess my situations. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m a doctor.” I reached out to the pale girl. She just stared at me with her black eyes.
“What’s your name? How old are you?” I took a step closer so I could smell her blood. I turned her head to see a bite mark. The bite was from a human.
She quickly turned her head and bit down with great force. Pain pierced my body; I threw her off my arm and raced out of the church.
I ran to the convenience store applying pressure to my bloody arm. I grabbed some bandages and sat down on a bench outside. I wrapped my bloody pulsating arm in gauze and blood leaked through instantly. I wrapped a clean one around my arm when it appeared to stop bleeding. I got up and walked to the newspaper stand, flexing on my way. In large letters multiple papers screamed “Outbreak!” I picked up a copy with the shortest article. It said:
Scientists have been experimenting with genes. In attempt to make humans immune to viruses, they had made humans the lowest of low. They have made an instinctual cannibal. The scientists had spent only a few years of research on the idea before the actual attempt at the immunity but now it is loose. It is believed to still be somewhere in New York and is thought to be infective only through its bite. A scientist that worked on the creature was showing symptoms similar to the monster only two hours after being bitten.
The newspaper slipped out of my hand, crashing to the cement below my feet. How could this have happened in just one day? Phrases like “hatred for light” and “gathers in groups caught my eye as I skimmed some of the other papers. I left the stand in distress, as I heard something in the shadows. I passed the empty cars as I rushed back to the hospital. The sky was darkening at a quick pace tonight. I took a shortcut through a moldy alleyway. On a street adjacent to the ally, I saw men putting up a fence. I ran to the men once I noticed their familiar military uniforms.
One shaky, young solider was standing guard on the ground in his area. “Stop!” He screamed, scared. I continued on, but slower and with my hands in the air.
“I’m not one of them,” I told the young man.
He aimed his gun at me, “How can you not be? Those monsters are everywhere in the city!”
One of his commanding officers overheard our screaming and came over. His eyes went wide as he saw me and the man shuddered slightly. I looked at the commanding officer’s jacket to be sure of what my eyes told me. Roberts was written in black letters on his camouflage uniform.
“Bradley, take care of it! Now.” He ordered the man holding the gun. My heart panged as my brother said those words.
“But I’m not infected! I act and feel fine!” I moved by bandaged arm behind my back.
Bradley hesitated, unsure of whom to listen to. My brother took out his pistol from his holster.
“I’m sorry; it’s too much of a risk.” His eyes pleaded for both understanding and forgiveness.
And a shot rang out.