Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
They’re on to me. Not bad. Three continents, sixteen countries, four passports, and two illegal border crossings later, the one scientist shouting about me has, finally, received a fair hearing. Way to go, Gerald. I hope it makes your fortune, for all that it’ll never make up for what you’ve lost.
Too bad they’ll never get to me in time. It would be ironic to be the first person saved by their hastily-assembled remedy.
Time for my last Tabultin. Stuff’s been around for years, just another drug to combat flatulence. Still don’t know how they found out it kept the worst of the deleterious effects at bay. Probably some old bloke with a crappy diet somewhere surprised them by not dying quickly, so they analysed his blood, then asked what he was taking.
In case you’re starting with the last entry and working back, my name’s Nancy. I was a nurse, until I got set up to take the fall to save some doctor’s reputation. After that, life went downhill until selling my eggs and unsavoury gig work were all I had.
Then came Gerald Bacan and his drug testing. There were several levels of involvement, but the highest offered accommodation, regular meals, even a salary! I applied for that, and got accepted.
Gerald’s project came at a hefty price: military backing. He admitted his work could be weaponised. He also took pains to hobble any such efforts. In the end, they were pointless. One of the sera turned out to be deadly.
Batch 1.11Y.4g, ‘Illya-G’, hit Volunteer 84, Dav Mikalos, like a truck. Barely had the needle left his arm when he collapsed. He died the next day. Everyone who had been in the room with him died within a week. Everyone who came into unprotected contact with his body died within two weeks. This included Helen Bacan, Gerald’s wife. As Gerald was away, appearing before a committee in Washington, he missed it all.
Helen and I had become friends. She’d confided in me her doubts as to the sanity of trying to save humanity from cataclysms. I thought her a little crazy in that.
I was one of those infected by someone who came into contact with the body. I keeled over, then woke up in a makeshift morgue. My metabolism slowed so much they thought me dead. I’ve since seen a couple of studies that match my pathology.
Being mostly paralysed for a day after coming round, I overheard some interesting conversations between various officials who were using the space by the door for ‘off the book’ discussions. While the topics were awful, it was the anticipatory glee that sickened me most.
Around then is when I became what you’d call crazy. It gave me clarity and motivation like I’d never experienced. After sneaking out, I raided the pharmacy; turned the loot into cash to get me started. I preyed on anyone, and at every opportunity. Didn’t have long: no time for niceties. I used public transport, hung out in crowded malls, packed restaurants, everywhere people congregated in the last throes of the joy at COVID-19 being ‘defeated’.
What gave me away was the text I sent Gerald: “My condolences. She was right.”
What let me get this far was the disbelief that met his claim of someone deciding to spread Illya-G in an effort to end mankind.
I love the silence of snow-covered woodland. Deep amongst the trees, where only wolves and white rabbits disturb me, I’ll feed the scavengers and decompose. Hopefully I’ve done some good for them with my passing deed.