Word Count: 951
“Is there a problem, Luca?” the shrink lady asked. I’d kicked off. So sue me. They knew I had a volatile personality, that I was impulsive and violent; they’d already seen that. A nurse had heard the commotion and by the time she got there I’d already knocked out two orderlies, and was fighting with another, screaming at them to let me out of that place.
I slouched into the back of the sofa, my arms folded across my chest, literally trying to dodge her question.
“You keep calling me that, for a start,” I growled at the wall to my right.
“Well what would you- look at me, please,” I didn’t. “Please, Mr. Morgan, I’m here to help you. What would you like me to call you?” I glanced over at her. She was the only person I’d seen so far not dressed in white. The room we were in was painted a sort of warm peachy color, there was a fake pot plant in the corner and there was even a window that afforded me a view of the compound we were in. They’d thrown up some sort of military protection around the hospital, and frankly it looked like a prison more than a hospital now.
“Why is there half an army outside this hospital?” I asked.
She hesitated, not looking much like she wanted to discuss the matter. But she could see the soldiers walking around outside with their guns out and the barbed wire fences that had gone up around the parking lot, and probably the rest of the hospital too. “You know what a vaccine is, don’t you, Mr. Morgan?”
“No,” I shrugged, “didn’t really go to school after my grandma died.”
“Well, it’s a watered down version of the virus, really. Dead, or half dead cells that teach your body how to fight the disease off. We haven’t found the right combination of chemicals that allow your body to learn it properly yet. As I’m sure you’re aware, most drug trials run for a long time on lab animals before being brought out to the human population, but with this one we haven’t had time,” she looked at me. I was still watching one of the soldiers. He looked… scared, from what I could see at this distance. He didn’t want to be within a hundred miles of this place.
“So what you’re saying is we’re trapped in here because any one of us could be infected and spread it around Reno,” I glanced over at her again. She didn’t want to say it outright, but I could see it in her eyes. “That’s what you’re saying isn’t it?”
“We can’t risk anything, Mr. Morgan. The situation is already a disaster, we can’t afford to make it any worse.”
“And what I saw in that ward was real, wasn’t it?” I looked straight at her this time, leaning forward. She shifted her position so she was leaning away from me and down to the side. This move, I’d learnt over the years, meant that someone had something to hide. “Tell me. You’re hiding something I can see it. You don’t spend years winning poker games without learning to read people. Tell me,” I repeated a little more forcefully.
“It’s classified,” she said. I growled. For a shrink, she was doing a very bad job of questioning me; it looked like it was going the other way.
“Well we’ve already established that those guys out there are there to keep us in, rather than keep stuff out!” I yelled, losing my temper, “and whatever this stupid, shitty disease is, it’s probably going to kill me at some point in here anyway, so you might as well just fucking tell me!” By this point I was stood over her, my fists balled, ready to do some serious damage to this woman that was now defensively curled up on herself in her seat, sobbing out of fear. The two orderlies outside the room burst in when they heard me shouting and rushed over to restrain me. They dragged me down to the floor, telling me to calm the fuck down because, y’know, this is me. I wasn’t going to go down quietly.
“Yes!” the shrink screamed over the noise, “what you saw was real,” she was crying openly now. There was a split second there where I was so shocked into silence that I fell still and the orderlies jumped on the chance to handcuff me and pin me to the floor. I guess they must have been expecting outbursts like this. Either that or they just felt like carrying police issue handcuffs around with them that day. Struggling again earned me a heavy dose of tranqs straight in the neck.
When I came to, I was tied down to a hospital bed with those wrist and ankle cuffs you see them use on the mental patients in movies. There was an IV going into one arm and a nurse was taking blood samples from the other.
“Wadderu doin?” I slurred, not exactly with it. My head felt heavy and my body wouldn’t respond to what I was telling it to do. If I hadn’t been drugged up so much, well let’s just say I wouldn’t have been sitting there letting them do anything to me. I realize there’s only so much you can do when you’re cuffed to a bed, but it’s letting them know you’re not about to give up that counts, right?
“Good morning, Luca,” the nurse smiled at me.
“Fu’ off,” I grumbled, closing my eyes. I wasn’t going to let the drugs make me sleep again, I just wanted to rest my eyes.