You wake up in an empty room to the kind of silence that can deafen you.
The room is both familiar and strange, a warehouse with cool, metal walls and strobe
lighting. You get to your feet, moving immediately for some kind of escape because
wherever it is you are, you don’t want to be there for long.
You walk towards the door. You try the handle – expecting it to be locked – but it creaks
open. The corridor is dark. But you recognise it. It is your place of work.
The exit is directly ahead, but even in the shadows, you can see the bars across it.
Escape seems futile.
You know that if you don’t get out now, you never will. You need to make contact with
the outside world. You remember the phone in the breakroom.
You waste no time. Dial 999. The receiver beeps into life.
This number is currently out of use. To reach Quarantine assistance. please dial 0181534726.
You don’t understand.
Still, you dial the number. After an agonising pause. someone answers.
Hello? Can I help you?
You open your mouth. but no sound comes out.
Are you trying to reach a safe space? Are you near the infected?
A rasp escapes your throat. A guttural sound. More animal than anything. They sigh.
You can’t speak, can you? We can’t help once the infection has hit. I’m sorry. If it makes you
feel better, they say you soon forget when it spreads. Oh god. I am sor-
The phone cuts off.
You can’t speak. You can’t speak. You turn towards the mirror on the wall. It is only when
you open your mouth, do you see the film of skin that has grown across it.
Nobody hears your scream.
The beginning of the 20th century.
I am 12 years old. Our family is peasants.
I run out of the house and run straight to meet my little sister.
My heart is full of happiness.Today is a day off. The whole family is assembled – mom, dad, me and my favorite red-haired sister and her nanny. We are walking in the yellow field of rye. Above us is a dark gray pre-threatening sky.
A strong wind is blowing, a thunderstorm has begun. I grab my sister and run towards the house but the field becomes endless. It scares me and I stop. Around us there are 12 peeping heads of riders in ritual clothing. They’re watching us. I can’t move. I hold my sister in my arms. I understand that they came for her.
Another moment they disappeared. The storm doesn’t stop. We ran to the house. Adults like they know what happened to us. Mom and the nurse are nervously looking for my sister’s drawings and saying that there are clues that she’s special. It needs to be protected from them. Dad cooks something from herbs…
I find myself in the big empty room of our house. Around me riders. I try to prove to them that something. They are not collapsing. They are a deity. They are leading “justice”. They order my dad to bring my sister. He tries to agree with them. Riders are annoyed…
I find myself outside the door. My little sister is no more. The nurse reads a prayer. My mother screams and cries. The door opens. From there comes the daddy. The blood of my beloved sister is on him. I beat the walls from the pain inside me. I’m screaming.
I wake up from my own cry.
I had a dream where my cat turned into a terrible spider and tried to kill me. He said that all this time, deceived me, and for many years made plans to destroy my family. I had to smother him with a pillow.
I was standing in line at the supermarket. On my shoulder sits wasp and stings me. I know that I have an allergy (actually not), take out the ointment. Turns woman standing in front of me and says, “I’m sorry”, and with tears running away. Do not pay attention to it, I open a tube of ointment and smear the bite. At the same moment the hand begins to swell and covered with red blisters. I did not panic, because I know that the beginning of an allergic reaction, and will soon begin to act medicine. But the hand continued to increase, and the blisters begin to burst. From fear and pain I squeezed his wrist with such force that his nails scratched and bleeding. Takes effect a cure: the tumor passes, but stretched skin droops. It becomes a gray tint, as if aging; cracks. A few seconds later it turns into something like the bark of a tree with a huge crack. Through a crack visible muscles and bones with traces of burns. I thrust a finger into the crack, and I wake up in pain.
PS. I apologize for spelling mistakes. English is not my native language.