Naturally, I’m not actually going to let things get to the stage of a funeral, not if I can help it. But, I think to myself as I’m pretending to walk away from the house, they don’t really deserve much better if they won’t let me help. I think that every time someone won’t let me carry out treatment. Yet, strangely, I never just leave them to it. I’m too nice to be a Cure, really. Quite a few don’t go into a house to help unless they’re invited in. But I just have to start with the breaking and entering if I can’t get to the sufferer legally…
Once I’m a convincingly large distance from the house, I dive off the laneway into a field. I’m sure I can sneak around the back of the house and find my way in without running into any problems. As long as I stay low and move quickly, no-one should see me. Then again, I never did get an answer regarding where the rest of the family were. That’s problematic. But, if I’m lucky, there’s no reason I can’t pull this off. If I’m ridiculously, improbably lucky.
I keep low, running in a crouch even before I’m back within sight of the house. Can’t be too careful, particularly when I can’t even be sure how many people are there. Once I’m close enough that I could be seen I drop to my stomach and crawl. The dryness of the ground makes it difficult; dust rises, almost choking me, and the dying grass either stabs or flattens. Fields provide better cover after a spell of rain, when the grass is tall and dense.
But I continue, ending up at the back of the house with my arms sliced up to the elbows and my lungs filled with dry earth. And I realise I’m not lucky enough to pull this plan off.
The only door at the back of the house is boarded up with a few layers of wooden planks, and padlocked besides. No-one’s sneaking through that anytime soon.
I bite my lip, checking other options. None of the windows can be opened from the outside. In fact, I’m not sure they’ve even been opened from the inside in quite a while, judging by the rust. Clicking my tongue impatiently, I glance at the upstairs windows, wondering if I could find a way up. One of them is open but the curtains are drawn. The sick room.
I know the symptoms of the disease well enough at this stage. Starts off like a cold, progressing to a ‘flu. Then, suddenly, the temperature jumps and all the other symptoms stop. The temperature keeps rising, day by day. Other symptoms present themselves. Complete loss of appetite. Sensitivity to light. An unexplainable difficulty in breathing. Eventually, loss of consciousness. Finally, death.
So of course the curtains were drawn and the window open. The girl’s too warm but she can’t stand the light from the window. She’s fairly advanced; I don’t have much time.
I know this, but I’m not moving. I don’t have time to be cautious but, at the same time, I can’t afford to rush into this. For one thing, if I rush I could just as easily kill her as cure her. For another, I can’t get caught. There’s a carrier somewhere in this family and I know for sure it isn’t the mother or the son. Which leaves the father, who is probably capable of killing me if I let any of them find me.
I have two options: climb in through that window or barge straight in through the front door. Neither of these are great options as far as stealth is concerned. In the end, I choose the window as the lesser of two evils.
I’m quite used to climbing up to and into second storey windows. More used to it than I really should be. But this is a hard climb, even for me. Some places have plants growing up the walls. Others have drainpipes. This place has a wall and a very high up window that I want to get to. I sigh and begin to climb, searching for footholds in the plasterwork as I go.