Monday, October 1, 2012

Cold Terror


He thought it was just a cold. Deena ushered him off to bed and went to make him soup. Men could be such babies, but since she was working from home now, she supposed she could indulge him this time. He really had been putting in a lot of extra time at the office. She was only a few months along now, but he was obsessed with making sure the baby…their baby…would have the best of everything from day one.

She’d only taken minutes with the soup, but when she looked in, he was already asleep. He looked a bit pale and was sweating heavily. She considered putting in a call to their doctor but knew Stephen would have a cow over the cost of it and so she let it go. If he wasn’t better by morning, perhaps. He seemed awfully feverish for “just a cold”.

Unwilling to disturb his fitful rest, she was reclined on the lounger situated on the balcony of their high-rise apartment.  Reading a book, near sleep herself, she didn’t look up when she first heard him in the living room. A loud crash as he knocked over a lamp had her on her feet and almost back into the apartment. She stopped, frozen by the sight of him.

His face was a red ruin of blood and fluids and, though he seemed trying to speak, only wet, gobbling sounds emanated from his crimson lips. He stumbled, blindly, toward her leaving a path of bodily fluids and gore in his wake.  Deena backpedaled away from him, an involuntary response, and tried to avoid his questing arms. She stopped at the furthest corner of the balcony, cowering in fear of the sight of him and terrified beyond reason.

She watched, as if in slow motion, as he staggered out and cast his head about, blindly seeking her. He was, clearly, delirious and must be in a great deal of pain and yet Deena could not bring herself to go to him. She saw him butt up against the low railing and, at last, found the presence of mind to respond. Before she’d gone more than two steps, he surged forward against the hard barrier and plummeted over it seventeen stories to the unyielding streets below. She could only stare down in silence, not believing what had just happened. 

Only then did she notice the streets were awash with strobing lights. It seemed hundreds of emergency vehicles were darting everywhere about for as far as she could see in any direction. What could possibly be going on?  Slamming the glass doors, she activated both the security field and the environmental filters. 

She flipped on the vidlink and located a news broadcast. Unable to focus her thoughts, she heard words such as “pandemic”, “virulence” and “mortality rate” before turning the volume off. She sat with one hand on her tummy, rubbing worriedly at the slight bulge there, while the other wiped absently at her runny nose.



This story was written for the weekly Motivation Monday prompt: "[ ] thought it was just a cold."

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