It’s not right, the way this new world, this disease, makes me view people. Makes me put them into categories straight off. Sufferers. Carriers. Unaffected. Cures. That’s all there is to people for me, all there can be, since this all started. I have enemies, purely because I can’t avoid that, but no friends. The occasional helpful person to feed or shelter me, maybe. Nothing more.
Then again, the way I’m viewed by them isn’t right either. I’m a cure. That’s the title my kind has chosen for ourselves, not the one that we’re usually given. I’ve been called a witch, a demon, a Satanist… a few more unrepeatable names as well. ‘Voodoo’ is the nicest term I’ve heard for what I do. ‘Murder’ is the other, perhaps more accurate one.
No-one knows where the illness came from, and I really do mean no-one. Some don’t believe it even exists. Still. Even after about three quarters of us were wiped out in the first month after it first appeared. It makes slower progress now. But it’s still there. Lurking. And once you contract it, death is as certain as it is painful.
Unless, of course, a cure gets to you in time. Someone like me, with a sixth sense for finding sufferers and the ability to treat them. Treatment isn’t too difficult, not once you’re used to doing it. It’s getting to your patient in the first place that normally causes problems. It isn’t that their families don’t want them to be treated. Not at all. It’s just the way we deal with carriers that people tend to disapprove of…
I take a glance sideways at the carrier that has, unfortunately, decided to occupy the same room as me. He’s looking at me too, equally aware of the situation. He’s middle-aged, just starting to grey. Much taller than me. I certainly couldn’t take him if he started something now.
He gives me a quick nod before ordering a drink. He knows I won’t start anything right now and my existence isn’t bothering him all that much. I relax slightly when he moves away from the bar and goes to sit with a small group in the far corner. None of them are carriers or sufferers. Yet.