Outbreak: A Short Story


“Check their vitals,” you hear a panicked voice demand.

Your eyes slowly blink open to reveal a white, tiled ceiling. You are tranquil for a moment. You feel yourself floating in the air, as you were in the ocean on your family beach trip in 2008. Suddenly, you are thrown back into your body. A wave of excruciating pain takes over. You attempt to scream, but only hear the rush of a hospital staff.

You examine your surroundings: nurses pacing back and forth, beeping machines, bare walls. You look over your ventilator mask and down at your body. An IV is pierced into your right arm, allowing fluids to enter into your bloodstream. A blue gown is draped over your aching body. A pus-infested rash covers both of your legs. You fail to recognize yourself; you appear at least thirty pounds lighter.

“What happened?” you finally manage.

“He’s conscious!” a young male nurse exclaims.

 A doctor draped in a yellow Hazmat suit darts to your side. She immediately lifts your heavy eyelids and shines a blinding light, causing you to flinch. She records something onto a clip board.

You wheeze, “What is going on? How long have I been out?”  

“Please, calm down. Everything is under control. You are safe here,” she assures you.

 You place a hand onto your head, noticing it is now bare. It is the least of your concerns.

“Where is my family?”

She glances at a nurse. They share a look of concern. She motions towards a machine, instructing the nurse to adjust a setting.

 “How long have I been out?” you demand, now panicked.

The doctor takes a deep breath, as if she is afraid to answer your question. “Two years.”

You stutter, “What year is it?”

“2022.”

You are shocked. You possess no recollection of the time you have spent here. The last thing you remember is checking out at your local Walmart. Hot tears begin to flood from your eyes.

The doctor ushers several nurses to leave the room, as you are growing overwhelmed. Her blue glove grasps your wrist and raises your arm for a bodily inspection.

You notice a newscast on the television in the corner. The headline reads:

     “Global Pandemic: COVID-2021”.

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