Her heart was pounding, the wind blowing against her thick coily air, and her feet almost levitating off the ground, all those hours of training seem to have finally paid off. She is racing through the sports field. Sprinting passed her competition. She is almost there, almost at the finish line.
That was three weeks ago, and today she is still running, this time not toward the finish line, but toward safety. Running from that sweet lady from the flower shop, instead of lilies, she has a machete in her hands. That librarian who always shushed her and her friends for making noise in the library is the one shouting out the loudest “Get her, they must all die!”. And that postman who used to greet her every morning with a smile is now on the frontline of the crowd, the instigator.
She had been dodging bullets a few days ago, but it looks like people have run out of ammunition, and now they use whatever they can find as assault weapons. At first, it was fear in their eyes, but now it is pure rage and hate. They just want her dead.
This disease has changed many things, but the worst it has done is take away her precious memories. She can’t even remember her name.
As she runs passed the park, a sudden image crosses her mind like a vision. it’s of a man, familiar but strange. He is teaching a little girl how to ride a bike, a pink bike with sparkles on the paddles, and a small white basket in the front. She could hear his soft voice, so soothing, so encouraging as the little girl fell off her bike over and over again. “Never give up, no matter what okay? now go on dear, go on…try again, I’m here for you” he says. Determined, the little girl picks herself up and gets on the bike again. After paddling for longer than she did before and making it to the other side of the park, with the man running right beside her, she shouted out “Daddy, look I did it!”
She slowed down while trying to savor that moment. Tearing up, and looking back at the park she then slipped and fell over a toy, probably abandoned there during the chaos of people trying to leave town when the disease had started spreading.
The mob was coming closer and closer toward her, more determined than ever to be rid of her kind, the infected ones. As she tried to pull herself up, waking from the daydream of what seemed to be a memory of her past, a young man suddenly appeared from the side of the street, took her by her hand, and pulled her up to run. He took her into his white van and they drove off.
“Wait…who are you?” she tried to say but her words come out all scrambled and chopped. She is losing her speech now. She is changing faster than she expected. The young man turns to her and says,
“Don’t worry I won’t hurt you, I’m taking you to a safe place, it will all be alright, trust me.”
Did he hear what I said?
She is confused but feels safe enough.
She has no more energy left to fight anyway. Maybe he is her last hope of finding out who she is and finding her family, if they are still alive.
She caught sight of herself in the rearview mirror, she is not an attractive young athlete anymore. The disease has added a few years to her face. Her beautiful golden-brown glow is turning to a pale grayish tone, almost transparent. Cold to the touch. Dark dilated pupils are looking back at her, she no longer has that pleasant hazel gaze that the boy from Geography class fell head over heels for.
She looks to her rescuer in the driver’s seat and notices how handsome he is, with clear skin and dark curly bangs that hung over his big brown eyes. She is jealous of his youthfulness. He is wearing a grey hoody, some faded blue jeans, and white sneakers.
Typical white-boy swag.
She sees they are leaving the city and going into the countryside. The more she tries to speak, the less she is understood.
Twitching and ticking have set in now, a sign that she is almost completely changed.
Her rescuer notices this and offers her some food as a distraction from the thought of her terrible fate. A stale tuna sandwich, and bottled water. She accepts as she hasn’t eaten in days. She didn’t even notice how hungry she was. As she bites into the sandwich the taste reminds her of something, but she doesn’t know what. She struggles to hold on to her fading memories but they are quickly slipping away. The disease is close to killing her, well the old her.
They make it to their destination, a massive
mansion in the countryside. Inside they are greeted by a young couple and an old woman with money and authority written all over her. She could have been the mayor or a town councilor, but she couldn’t recognize her anyway. They seem to be excited to see her, relieved even.
“Hi, my name is Leo and this is my wife Cassie, I’m sure Jonathan took good care of you, right?” The man said smiling, dressed in matching cargo pants and black t-shirts with his wife.
She didn’t realize that her savior had not introduced himself. She glanced back at him.
Johnathan, that sounds familiar.
They lock eyes. The old woman interrupts the moment and says in an authoritative voice, “I am Victoria, nice to meet you.” stretching out her hand for a handshake.
“My…name is…well, I don’t quite remember, I was hoping you would help me with that. I…uh”
She remembers that no one can understand her.
“Don’t worry dear, no need to explain,” Cassie says, she looks a little frightened but tries to hide it with pseudo-confidence.
They pull her into a room set up like a lab.
“Sit down dear” Victoria says.
Who are these people? Are they scientists? Am I their next experiment?
She is uneasy and hesitates to sit. She looks around for Johnathan, he is standing leaning against the door with his arms folded. He looks calm and tries to reassure her with a smile and a nod.
She sits, Cassie tries to strap her in the chair, but she resists.
“Stop! (Hissing)… no, (mouning) stop it, please! (Snarling)”
Everyone froze, she could tell that they were afraid of her but they were still
determined to do whatever it is they meant to do with her.
Johnathan comes closer, kneels beside the chair, and holds her hand. For some reason she trusts him, and without a word spoken she calms down and lets Cassie finish what she started.
Victoria just watches from the corner of the room like she is the one in control of the whole thing, whatever it is.
Leo then appears with gloves on and a needle and syringe in his hands. “This will sting a little.”
Oh well, that’s it for me then. I had a good run.
Taking one last look at Johnathan, she squeezes his hand. He looks into her eyes and says “It’s okay Aisha, you’ll be alright.”
Ais…Aisha, that’s it! that’s my name!
Wait, don’t…how do you know me? how do you know my n…
She falls into a deep sleep.