I take a deep breath before knocking. No telling how whoever’s living here will react to me. There never is.
The one thing I don’t really expect, not if I’m honest, is what eventually happens. A woman I actually recognise opens the door. Cautiously. Everything’s done with a certain degree of caution now. She stares at me for a moment, either trying to work out whether or not I’m a threat, or maybe wondering if she really does recognise me.
“We don’t have any food or beds going spare,” she tells me, apparently deciding it’s a ‘no’ on both counts.
“I’m not looking for either,” I mutter, “You have someone sick in the house.”
She pales. “I’m sorry, you must have the wrong-”
I block an attempt to shut the door in my face, jamming a foot between in and its frame.
“I don’t. You know I don’t. I can help. Please.”
“Just leave us alone!” she begs, almost on the verge of tears.
I’m clearly not the first to try here. I wonder if the first was when the sufferer in the house wasn’t showing any symptoms. Back when this woman could refuse help without any guilt, because she didn’t know she needed it.
“Please,” I say, “Just let me help.”
She is crying now, full flowing tears. “We don’t want your help!”
“She’ll die. No doubt about it. It’s your daughter, isn’t it, that’s sick?”
It’s a lucky guess, nothing more. But she doesn’t need to know that.
“You can’t know that she’ll die,” she snaps. “You haven’t even seen her.”
“No-one survives this. Not without the cure.”
“Why can’t you people just leave us be?”
I hold up my hands in defeat at the venom in that question and move back from the door, allowing it to be slammed shut this time.
I can’t say I really expected that to go any better than it did. I wonder if history knows of any other cases where the cure was more feared than the disease. Or maybe it’s exclusive to this particular area of time and space.
She most likely expects never to see me again. That would be typical of my kind. Two visits at most to a reluctant household, then forget it and move on. I, however, am not typical of my kind. In any way.
I have no plan of action for this case just yet. For now I’ll have to settle for finding somewhere to spend the night.