What I thought was a scream dragged me roughly out of my peaceful slumber.
My eyes flew open, but I could hear nothing. I must have dreamed it. With blurry vision I turned to see the figure laying peacefully in the bed beside me. Long hair that used to shine a healthy golden colour now fell bedraggled past her struggling shoulders. Her eyes were shut, the frail skin showing purple bruises across her lids. There was a crease between her eyebrows, like she was having a bad dream.
Even like this she looked beautiful.
I slipped my hand into hers and sighed, willing her to respond.
'Come on Tara,' I mumbled. 'Please.'
No response though. Just the shaky rise and fall of her chest, the occasional whimper, the slight fluttering of lashes against skin.
With a sigh I stood up, stretching the tiredness out of my body. My limbs had grown numb from spending the night in that damn hospital chair. I decided to head outside, get a bit of fresh air, maybe pay my mother a visit.
Not that she deserved it, but still, I wasn't sure how long I could continue the way I was.
Something stopped me however. A small, slight moan coming from my right. It was weak, but there was something about it that stilled my heart, widened my eyes, got my hopes up.
'Tyler?' a voice cracked pathetically.
'Tara?' I gasped. 'You're awake!'
'Where, am I...' she coughed.
'You're in the hospital, don't try and move.'
'What...happened?' Another whimper.
Before I could reply, the door opened. A tired nurse stepped through with a clipboard in her hand. She was average looking, maybe in her late twenties early thirties with mousy brown hair and pale grey eyes. There was nothing remarkable about her appearance but there was something off about her...
Then I noticed. Her hand was shaking, the clipboard trembling fitfully in her grip and her skin was a sickening shade of green.
'Are you okay?' I called apprehensively.
Without warning she fell to the floor.
'Oh my God!' I cried out. I bent down to roll her into the recovery position as she began fitting violently.
'Can we get some help in here please?!' I shouted out into the corridor. A split second later, doctors were gushing into the room, securing her to makeshift bed, checking her pulse, hooking her up to a monitor.
'What happened?' one of them asked me.
'I don't know,' I replied. 'She just...fell, and started fitting.'
'Did she say anything?'
I shook my head.
'Is she gonna be okay?'
'We don't know,' the doctor replied truthfully. 'We've had a few illnesses like this in the hospital, unexplained seizures, people collapsing. We think it's some sort of viral infection.'
'Oh,' I frowned. 'Tara you best be careful.' I turned round to face Tara and screamed. I actually screamed.
A doctor who must have gotten past me had Tara's pale arm in his grip and was...bringing it up to his mouth.
'Oi!' I grabbed him by the shoulders, but not before he'd bitten her, and threw him against the wall. 'What the fuck do you think you're doing?'
'We're gonna need security in here!' the doctor from the doorway shouted. In a sudden frenzy, hospital security had grabbed the deranged man and were leading him out of the room.
I instantly turned to Tara.
'Are you okay?'
'I-think so...' she replied shakily. Poor thing looked terrified.
How on Earth were we supposed to know that was just the beginning?