No One HomeMature

“Oh my God,” Caitlin screamed, pointing towards Mr Morgen. Summer grabbed my arm tightly.

“Oh no! We let him sleep because he was ill and we got a free lesson - “ she wailed. I looked at the teacher and for the first time noticed the blood seeping across the desk from his right nostril, staining the white papers with red blossoms.

For the second time that morning I swore. We approached the desk slowly, warily. Summer reached out and tugged his shoulders so that he fell back properly into the chair.

“Don’t touch his blood,” I whispered. I had seen enough medical shows to know that viruses could be transmitted through physical contact with a person’s body fluid. Caitlin hung back by the classroom door.

This was worse. Of course it was another epidemic. I had lied to myself. How could it have escalated like this? Just on Friday everything had been normal. Could everything change so much in two days?

“He’s breathing,” Summer sighed in relief, pointing at his steadily rising and falling chest. There was a gurgling noise as he came around - we all winced at the sound of the blood in his throat. His eyes were distant and unfocused for a minute before he realised what was going on.

“Go home, girls,” he choked, grabbing his jacket and weakly standing up. He stemmed the flow of blood from his nose with the wrist of his white shirt. “It was on the breakfast news that this virus is going around the whole north of England and Wales. They’ll be -”he broke off to cough, a grating, hacking sound that made me flinch “ - crazy to keep schools open with this sort of thing happening again. I think it’s only going to get worse. I need to get home right now.”

He stumbled out of the room. Danny moaned, dragging himself to his feet and staggering, disoriented, after Mr Morgen.

For a moment we stood, wide-eyed, staring. Then we realised there was no point in us being there anymore, and walked out.

“I have to see if my mum is alright,” Summer said, frightened. “She has that, and if she -”

We cast glances back at the classroom, as though we could see through the wall to the blood-covered desk.

We sped up our pace but nobody stopped us as we walked out of the school gates. It was eerie because the place seemed so empty. A few other students were walking in different directions, hands covering their noses and mouths and sometimes bending double to cough as they struggled home.

The school’s car park had only five cars in it, and one was occupied by an unconscious gym teacher slumped over the wheel. He had fainted before he could start the engine.

“Should we wake him up? Call a doctor?” Caitlin suggested nervously. I shook my head as we hurried on by.

“If it’s anything like last time, the doctors will all be very busy. There might not even be any available if they catch this, which is likely if they’re turning away people looking for help with colds,” Summer explained, not really noticing what she was saying. She was too on edge, worrying. I didn’t think about what I was saying.

“Yeah - you’d think people would realise that there is no cure for viruses. If they kill you, they kill you.”

Both of them stopped walking; I turned around and both of them wore agonised expressions, panic obvious in their already afraid eyes.

“Leia!” Caitlin hissed, her voice sounding as if I’d betrayed her.

“Sorry,” I said immediately. “I didn’t -”

“Think? That was obvious,” Summer snapped; she was tugging at her bag in agitation. “As long as you’re okay, it’s fine, right? Just because nobody in your family is coughing up blood -”

“No!” I gasped, appalled. I knew it was the unpleasant mix of panic and anxiety making her be so waspish but I was still surprised when both of them glared at me and kept walking. I lived in the opposite direction, so there was nothing I could do but cross the road and walk home by myself, fuming with the unfairness of it.

When I reached my house I was in a bad mood, so I didn’t stop to think why I could just walk right in, the door being unlocked.

I was halfway down the hall when the smell hit me. It was rusty, some kind of old metal smell, like copper. I wasn’t used to the smell so I didn’t suspect what it was until I walked into the living room and saw the congealing spatters of blood all over the laminate floor.

It was almost like my heart stopped, then everything froze for a minute, then it started again with a twisted thump.


The End

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