Author: shell29bell PM
It began with a simple flu. And 3 months later, all hell broke loose. Now they are just trying to survive. Can Bella help Edward find the cure when every last thing he cares about is on the line? BxERated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 23 - Words: 54,565 - Reviews: 829 - Favs: 406 - Follows: 292 - Updated: 09-25-10 - Published: 08-03-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5273646
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight.
He stumbled into the ER clutching at his sides. From several feet away I could hear the tell tale wheezing and see the blue tinge to his lips. I gently nudged the doctor next to me, attempting to wake him. I only managed to whisper Carlisle's name in my own weakened state. We had been awake for days. In the beginning, our rag tag team had furiously worked together to try and save the dying.
Recently we realized our efforts were futile.
Our new task had been to let those suffering die with as little pain as possible.
Carlisle's head jerked up at my nudge and before his eyes could clear from the haze of sleep he was already walking toward the man who had now collapsed. Carlisle kneeled beside him and pulled a syringe from his pocket and quickly injected the man's deteriorating form with Oxycodone. Between wheezes the man mumbled "thank you" before succumbing to the effects of the drug and was brought hopefully closer to death.
I hurried over to join Carlisle in his efforts of moving the man to an empty stretcher nearby. I gently pulled the covers up to the patient's neck. The act was an illusion of comfort and safety. It made me feel as though I was doing the job I came here to do, nurse the sick to health and comfort the dying.
The quiet hum of the fluorescent lights was the only noise in this hospital's emergency room and it surrounded me. The noise seemed to grow louder with nothing to compete with. No beeping machinery. No cries of the dying and their families. No sounds of traffic. No sirens alerting us of incoming patients. No patients waiting to be seen.
It began with a simple flu. The CDC and the WHO reported the symptoms to emergency rooms around the country. Soon after the initial outbreak, emergency rooms began reporting deaths of patients showing similar symptoms. The public was alerted. The WHO raised the pandemic phase level to 6 and the CDC posted a level 5 PSI, predicting at least as many deaths as the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918. As the cases began spreading faster worldwide the WHO and UN collaberated to suspend all international travel. But it was too late. The number of deadly cases continued to climb.
Families, then whole towns, had been quarantined.
Emergency rooms overflowed with the sick and their loved ones looking for relief.
It soon became known to the doctors and the affected that the only relief was death. For months the CDC and the WHO continued to send reports to the media of hope that a vaccine was imminent. Press conferences were held regularly to answer questions posed by the public. As time went on and people continued to die the public grew restless. The riots began three days ago after the CDC's announcement that a minimum 40% of the world's population were affected and expected to die. There was no cure and no preventative vaccine. The president took to the airwaves to plead for understanding and peace. His speech did little to encourage the masses as he was visibly ill. Martial Law was enforced in all major cities. The public felt betrayed. They had been lied to for months and blamed their illness and their losses on the people who had been dishonest.
I caught news bits when I could. We had been swamped with patients. The hospital had been reduced to work conditions not unlike third world countries. Many staff members had already died from the near constant exposure to the Flu. Some walked out the doors and never looked back. The dying lined the hallways to make room for those that were healthy yet injured in the riots. Those who were unaffected by the virus took what they could load in their bags and cars and left the city.
I was brought out of my reverie by a gentle squeeze on my shoulder. I turned to see Esme, Carlisle's wife, standing next to me and offering a hot cup of coffee. Carlisle had insisted she come stay at the hospital the day before the rioting started. She tried to refuse, claiming she would only be in the way at a time like this, until Carlisle had threatened to come escort her himself. Although she was not qualified to care for patients she had been there for all of our crew until it was just the 3 of us left. I swayed on my feet as I reached for it and dragged my feet towards the closest chair. I sipped the hot liquid and shuddered. I hate the taste of coffee but I needed it so often to function it was almost a necessity now.
I scrubbed a hand over my face and tried to bring it through my hair. "Ugh" I groaned. When was the last time I showered? I raise an arm and sniffed my pit. Esme giggled at my ridiculous behavior. "Go hit the showers" Esme ordered. "Carlisle wants to talk to us when you're done". I finished my coffee and stood again. As I walked toward the locker room I felt the caffeine begin to circulate and sighed in relief.
We sat together in the empty cafeteria picking at the last of the canned peaches and drinking Alphabet soup from Styrofoam cups. Carlisle cleared his throat and looked out the windows at the smoldering skyline around us. Off in the distance you could see plumes of smoke rising from several fires still burning. The black smoke was the only remnant of the chaos that had engulfed our world in the last several days.
Carlisle turned his gaze to us and spoke slowly as if each word was draining him physically. Carlisle is a brilliant Trauma Doctor. He has always been quick on his feet with a diagnosis or silly joke but at this moment he struggled to find the words. "I was listening to the scanners and trying the radios. I can't reach anyone." He sighed heavily and continued "I think we need to find a smaller space that can offer us better protection. We will gather what we can carry before we leave. We'll need batteries, medical supplies, and flashlights. We'll stay here tonight. We will travel together and only during the day. "Esme and I sat in silence, trying to process what the real world had become as we had been nestled in the fortress of the hospital. We both nodded in agreement. "We'll meet in the doctor's lounge in an hour. We'll sleep there and first light tomorrow we leave." We all nodded together in agreement.
I left my chair and walked towards a shelved cart usually reserved to deliver food or flowers to the patients. I wheeled it into the large pantry in the kitchen and began stacking as many cans and other nonperishable items as the shelves would hold. Carlisle left to collect medical supplies and shelf stable medicines and Esme went down to the laundry to gather several pairs of hospital scrubs. We met up again an hour later to inventory what we had before we finally let the exhaustion take us.