Not Even Elephants
Short Stories & Other Writings

Not Even Elephants

** A flash fiction exploring one nurse whose life is altered by a deadly contagion. I wrote this story as part of a writing prompt/challenge. The rules were to start each sentence with a letter of the alphabet in order, a to z. I had a great time writing this story. **

by Phroggee

A steady stream of patients poured through our doors, and each bore bites, scratches, or limbs half torn from their bodies. Body bags filled with their intended contents sat on gurneys to save room for the newcomers. Crashes, squealing tires, and the screeches of metal on metal met our ears from near and far; victims tried to get themselves or loved ones to help. Danger lurked everywhere; the healthy becoming just as threatening as the infected.

Erroneous data had been coming in for weeks, and only served to confuse and cause further chaos. Fatality rates soared because we just didn’t know how to deal with the outbreak. Getting to and from the medical facility presented quite the problem, we hid, scurried, and sprinted our way across town.

Healing was no longer an option; doctors looked over patients and sent them to us, the nurses. I administered each of the infected with a compound of chemicals meant to kill them, their next destination the incinerators.

Jabbing a needle into the crook of another patient’s arm, I spotted Melanie’s eyes darting around the room; she’d been jumpy since she had gotten to the center today. Keeping an eye on her for any sudden movements, I watched the patient’s vitals crash and gave a nod for body removal.

Life trickled out of body after body; a grim reminder of how life had changed in a mere month. Melanie wheeled the next patient over, staring at a gash in the man’s thigh; I watched her tongue dart in and out of her mouth and her eyes became dilated. No denying it, she had become infected; we’d seen enough of them to know the signs.

Over the next hour, I watched Melanie pick at her skin and chew on her lip; all while her eyes darted around inside her head. Picking up a syringe and stepping forward, I turned to Melanie and started to say, “Excuse me.” Quicker than I thought possible, Melanie lunged forward and grabbed me by the face.

Ripping my arm through the air, I plunged the syringe into her jugular, twisted, and drove my shoulder into her torso. Saliva flew from her mouth as she teetered off-balance, crashed into a cart of medical supplies, and dropped to the floor with an audible thud; I felt the infected droplets hit my cheek and ran for a cart and disinfectant.

The infection had either spread at an alarming rate in Melanie, or it had mutated. Until Melanie, I had never seen anyone become so violent without showing symptoms sooner. Various scenarios played through my mind; our jobs were about to get a lot worse. We couldn’t wait to see what had changed with the virus; I’d have to get a blood sample from Melanie.

Xbox hadn’t prepared me for this future; the player doesn’t have all the mundane worries on top of this hell. Yesterday, I read a report that wasn’t meant for me, and now I understand what I read. Zero chance of survival, CDR3s abort to LS-65.

Copyright © 2016 Phroggee

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