There’s a Disease Killing People in This Town – By FoolishWhim
I noticed it about three months ago.
Three of my professors had canceled their lectures for the week. Each email I received varied, but they all had the same underlying reason for cancelation. The professors had fallen ill and were in the hospital for treatment.
Though I knew it was odd that all three of the professors had succumbed to some mystery sickness within the same week, I gave it little to no thought after the fact. I am a college student after all. This just meant I had more time to sleep and dick off.
When the following week arrived and those professors were still in the hospital, I became more concerned. When word got around that more people had caught this mystery bug, my concern shifted to alarm.
There were professors and students all over campus who were now hospitalized. No one knew what sickness had befallen them, just that they were gone. Apparently there were a few people who tried to go to the hospitals to visit and they were turned away. Rumors of quarantine were thrown around campus.
The students and faculty that remained tried to continue on with the semester, they wanted to keep things as normal as possible.
Their efforts were valiant, but still in vain.
In the coming weeks, as more people were quarantined, hysteria seemed to rise. Some of the students refused to leave their dorms, they were too afraid of the risk. Others left, heading back to their hometowns. Still, there were others who chose to treat the situation as an excuse to party.
I will not lie to you, I was one of the latter.
I’m originally from a smaller farming town, I knew very little of the people on campus, and it seemed to be a great way of keeping the current events out of mind.
Each night I would go from party to party, drinking myself into a stupor. I would wake in the morning full of regret, but not regretting it enough to stop.
I began to notice that more and more people were wearing surgical masks at these events. There was also an obscene amount of hand sanitizer being used. People were doing their best to keep the illness at bay. Despite the effort, less people were showing up as time passed. It became harder, even with all the alcohol in my system, to minimize how surreal and terrifying the situation had become.
At the last party I attended, I spent some time questioning the stragglers that had shown up. I asked whether anyone had any contact with any of the people placed in quarantine, but no one had seen or heard from any of them. I questioned whether anyone had heard anything about the sickness, but they were still keeping a tight lip about it all.
Eventually, a rather intoxicated individual who had been slumped in the corner, began to loudly address my line of questions.
“They can’t, release any information because they have no idea what it is. They’ve been researchin it since the first case showed up, and they can’t figure out what causes it or how it spreads.” He took a long swig from the murky brown bottle he held in his hand. “Both hospitals filled up already, so they started taking the sick out to that old abandoned building near the country.”
He finished his drink and stood on shaky legs, stumbling over to the counter to rifle through what was left.
“More than half of this fucking town is either quarantined in the hospitals and that building, or laying dead in their houses. No use trying to visit anyone, anymore, you wouldn’t like what you found if you tried.” He held a half finished bottle of vodka up victoriously before stumbling back to the same corner he had left. He fell, face slamming into the wall, as he reached his spot. He seemed rather unaffected by it as he rolled into position and took a long hard swig from his new drink. Blood was trailing down his nose as he did.
Everyone else had gone silent, a mass of forlorn faces surrounded me. I was drunk, and a feeling of aggression overcame me. I was pissed at the guy for trying to bring everyone down. I thought he was talking out of his ass. “If they aren’t telling anyone anything and they turn everyone away, how in the hell would you know anything about it?”
“I was an intern for one of the hospitals, you little bag of shit.” He spat at me. “One of the few idiots willing to volunteer my time. I was sent to the quarantined building along with the other volunteers when the hospitals filled up.” He stared at the wall, lost in thought for a moment before scrunching his face up in anguish. “I thought I would be able to help those poor fuckers. I didn’t realize that we’d been sent there to babysit them until they died.”
“Bull. Shit.” I was furious with him at this point. Every fiber of my being wanted to launch myself across the room and knock him out. The people who sat around me were crying softly to themselves now. “You are a drunken idiot. I don’t know if you get your rocks off trying to scare people, but you need to shut the fuck up.”
He chugged what was left of the vodka and leaned his head back into the corner, the hint of a smile played at his lips. “You should all be thankful you’ve been spared this long.” He was drifting in and out of consciousness as he spoke. “Whatever this disease is, it’s eating away at people. Leaves them rotten.” His eyes jerked open after he laid there a moment, “Plenty of ways to find out if i’m a liar. The military is guarding the building now. I got out before they showed up. No one leaves anymore. Not without…” The liquor finally won and he passed out, snoring loudly.
I left after he passed out. I was still fuming about what he had said. Looking back, I think I was more scared than anything, but in my own intoxicated state that fear was expressed as anger. Whatever it was, I had decided then to do a little investigation.
I had a car that I rarely used parked in a lot near my dorm. My roommate, Jared, usually did the shopping for the two of us and my parents had bought me a meal ticket before semester started. I still kept my keys with me wherever I went, despite the lack of necessity. In my angry, drunken, state I made my way to my car.
In the time it took for me to reach the lot, I couldn’t help but notice that the campus looked deserted. There were lights shining through some of the dorm windows, but the usual bustle of activity was gone. An eerie silence hung over the place. I think I saw, maybe, two or three people throughout the entire walk.
Once I got into the car I debated where to go first. I had a grandmother who lived in town and a key to her house. She had given me one before the semester started so I could do laundry there, but I paid Jared to do it instead. I couldn’t be bothered to spend quality time with her at the time. I turned the key and took off in the direction of her house.
The roads were completely deserted, which is something I should have been glad for at the time. Instead of being grateful, it left me with a feeling of isolation. I began to drive more erratically, trying to get to her house quicker.
As I drove, I tried to convince myself that I would find her alive. I wanted to believe that she would be ok, at the most she might be sick.
When I reached her driveway, my stomach dropped. All of the lights were out and her yard was completely overgrown. Her mailbox was overflowing and newspapers littered the porch.
My legs were shaking as I exited my car, making my way up the porch steps. It felt like time slowed down as I swung the door open. The odor that rushed out to greet me was overpowering. My eyes began to water as I made my way through the house, turning on each light to survey the scene.
The closer I got to her room, the stronger the smell became. The whole house was a wreck. Plates were left lying about with molding food still on them. Everything was coated in a thick layer of dust. There were tissues littering every surface, each one stained with a bloody mucus looking substance.
When I reached her bedroom door, I found her cat. The poor thing was laying there quietly. It was still alive, but just barely. Though I knew I would find her dead inside, I still needed to see her. I think it was because I wanted to see what was happening to the people of the town. It was stupid of me.
I opened her door slowly, prolonging the inevitable. The smell of rot hit me first. I had never been so close to a dead body before, let alone a diseased dead body. I swallowed chunks of vomit as I covered the lower portion of my face.
When I saw her lying there under the blankets I realized that she had to have been there for a while. Her eyes were closed, like she was sleeping. She looked bloated and it appeared as though there was some dark bruising running the length of the bottom of her arms and neck. There were small clusters of open wounds covering her body in patches.
It looked like her pores had opened up in little honeycombed style clusters. Each hole looked to be the size of a quarter and they were seeping the same foul bloody mucus tinged substance I’d seen on the tissues. I couldn’t help but begin to itch when I looked at them. The sight of her discolored gums, slick with the ooze was what finally pushed me over the edge. I turned and beelined for the door, skidding to a halt when I remembered the cat. It didn’t fight me at all when I tucked it into my arms and took off.
When we got into the car I broke down. I hadn’t been very close to my grandmother as I grew older, but it was still upsetting to find her like that. It also made me think about what the man from the party had said, about half the town being quarantined or dead. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about all the people who died the way that she had. I don’t know how long it took, but eventually I turned on the car and threw us in reverse.
I thought I was going to be able to leave town.
When I reached my exit point that hope was dashed quickly. I skidded to a halt when I saw a barricade that spanned as far as I could see in either direction. There were people patrolling in hazmat suits with some extremely intimidating firearms.
I sat there, sobbing uncontrollably for a long time, pressing the cat into my chest. I must have passed out eventually because I was jolted awake to a sharp crack to my drivers side window.
I raised my head in confusion and saw one of the hazmats was standing there, pointing a gun at my face. I raised my hands in surrender instinctively, too stunned to do anything else.
“Turn the fucking car around and don’t come back,” he barked at me.
I guess I didn’t come out of the stupor fast enough, because he raised the gun into the air and let off a loud warning shot. “I said turn the fucking car around!”
I shook my head violently in agreement and threw the car in reverse for the second time that night.
I never did go check out the abandoned building. After everything I had encountered that night, I knew that man hadn’t been lying to me.
For a while, me and Jared stayed in our dorm room. He would go out to scavenge supplies while I hid there. He hadn’t had to experience what the disease was like first hand, and he’d always been willing to go the extra mile.
He eventually got sick though, just like everyone else. He deteriorated within the week and I found him one morning, the same honeycomb style clusters covering his body. I didn’t have access to a shovel, so I just put him in the hallway and covered him with his blanket. Now it’s just me and the kitty, who I have unimaginatively dubbed “kitty”.
I don’t know how many people are still alive here, I stopped being hopeful when Jared passed. At this point i’m just waiting for the inevitable.
I know that people are going to ask where I am, but I refuse to tell you. Even if you could get past the barricade alive, I won’t condemn anyone else to die like this.
I guess my main purpose for this is to warn you all. There isn’t any cell service, and they’ve somehow blocked social media sites. It was actually Jared who had pointed out to me that Reddit was still usable. I think they knew most people would just brush this off as some sick ass joke.
I still have no idea how this spreads or what caused it, I don’t even know what to call it. I do know it isn’t spread through contact. I was here with Jared the whole time he was sick and I had direct contact with his body multiple times. When he got weaker, I was the one who tried to clean those wounds. Keep your eyes and ears open, pay attention to your friends and neighbors. If you notice too many people getting sick at once, get the hell out of there. If it can happen here, it can happen other places too. I have a hard time believing this will be an isolated incident.
I don’t know what they plan on doing here once everyone is finally gone, maybe they’ll find some way to wipe us off the map. I honestly wish I never would have come to this shit hole.
Anyway, I’m running low on supplies so I need to head out and scavenge what I can. Wish me luck. Maybe I can make it another week or two.
UPDATE: Alright guys, tomorrow I’m going to investigate and see what I can find out. You’ve all been incredibly helpful with your replies, and I am grateful for the advice and well wishes. Crossing my fingers that I’ll find something useful.