Word Count: 963
Waking up really threw me off. For a few minutes, I genuinely believed that the last week or so hadn’t happened. Waking up in a bed in a white room with an IV stuck in one arm and nothing on but a blanket really did convince me that I’d dreamt the whole thing. Rayn was sat in one of those plastic hospital chairs they put out for visitors, his head resting on my arm.
A nurse walked in a few minutes after I’d woken up and gave me a glass of water, settling down on another chair she pulled over.
“Cancer?” she held a clip board in her hands and looked up at me. That was when I realized I hadn’t been dreaming. It was the same nurse from before. Well that’s a fucking let down.
I sighed. “That would be me.”
“I have a couple of questions for you that my captain wanted to ask. He’s had to go and deal with something else today, but he’s left me in charge, is that okay?”
“Nothing about any of this is okay,” I gestured to the room, “I don’t want to be here.”
“It was just standard procedure, we test survivors and give them the option to stay here where it’s-”
“No,” I cut her off, glaring at her, “you never gave us the option. You saw my arm and locked me up in here. I’m fine.”
“Cancer,” she pursed her lips, trying not to get annoyed with me. “Please, just cooperate. You’re here now.” I just carried on glaring at her. She could purse those pretty lips all she fucking wanted, it was gonna take a lot more than that to intimidate me. “Right then. Were you a part of one of the vaccine camps, Cancer?”
“When I was analyzing your blood results last night, I found the pathogen, but I found some interesting compounds that were attaching your antibodies to them.” Her words went totally over my head. Clearly she hadn’t gotten that I’m dumb shit trailer trash thing before. “Now, the pathogen seems to usually find a way of hiding from your antibodies, by burrowing into your blood cells and finding their way into your brain, which is how it kills you. But what’s in your blood is kind of… highlighting it, if you will, pointing it out to your antibodies. This is an incredibly exciting discovery,” she looked like Christmas had come early, alright, “we’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I’m gonna just pretend I understood what you said,” I grumbled, trying to keep my temper with her babbling on like I was supposed to know all this already, “all I’m interested in is this: have you found a cure? Am I free to go?”
“We’re not sure,” her eyebrows tilted down into a frown, “your body is responding to it and your antibodies seem to have learnt what the virus is and how to fight it off. For now,” she said, adding in a quick explanation of what she meant. I wasn’t sure what made me angrier – the fact she had expected me to understand what she was on about, or the fact she had had to dumb it down for me like a fucking child. “But the virus could still mutate and kill you.”
I took a moment to process those words, making sure Rayn really was asleep and not hearing all this. After a few minutes, I just nodded. “Fine. That’s fine. Just let me go and let us get on with our lives how we want, then,” I tried to keep my tone as reasonable as possible, but I wasn’t sure how well it was working.
“I’m afraid we can’t do that,” she said grimly.
“What do you mean? You can just take some more blood and then we can go our separate ways.”
“I want to try and find a way of turning it into a cure, but I need you here to test it on.”
“I’m not a fucking lab rat,” I growled, sitting up. Rayn woke up then, not appreciating me moving. “I’m not staying here. I’m not letting you lot fucking experiment on me like I’m not a human being,” my voice was getting louder and my body was doing its own thing. One hand was pulling out the IV, the other was dragging the blanket off me.
The nurse stood up, alarmed as I swung my feet over the side of the bed, determined to get out of there. Rayn sat back and watched blearily as I stood up, wobbling. “Let me out,” I demanded. My head was spinning.
“No. You’re not even dressed,” she protested, stalling.
“Do I look like I care, lady?” I shouted, wishing the room would stop spinning. I’d never felt so sick. How long had I been out for? Had they put something in the IV or was I just getting smacked around the head by some nasty withdrawals? I couldn’t tell. I took a step forwards, feeling strangely detached from my anger towards her and the soldiers that were watching carefully through the open door.
Another step. My knees buckled and I sank to the floor, my head in my hands. A wordless roar echoed around the room as I shouted at the linoleum.
“Get him back into the bed,” I heard someone saying. Hands pulled at me. I swatted them away, trying to keep what little was in my stomach where it was. They tried again while the room was swimming in front of me, dragging me back over to the bed and lifting me into it. They held me down as I tried to fight them all off, but I just didn’t have the strength. I felt so sick.