"And has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation."

-Khalil Gibran

"The disease which destroys a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him."

-George Santayana

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Fanfiction written by Efrain Hernandez

Inspired by "Quarantine" by John Erick Dowdle


1

Gone to Hell

"What's your name?"

"Brianna."

"Brianna, that's a very pretty name. How old are you Brianna?"

"Five."

"And who do you live with?"

Thomas had his hands folded behind his head. His eyes followed the red second hand lazily and with each tick his beating heart moved with it. The gray-indigo pattern of the waiting room matched his tie and shirt. Although he preferred the stripes than the spotted tongue noosed around his neck he sat reluctantly next to a table of magazines, a dusty Ficus Tree and waited for the abysmal design to disappear in the back of his head.

"With my mom, my dad and my dog max."

"Mr. Garret," a stout woman in bone-patterned scrubs opened the door next to the front desk and invited Thomas in. "Fourth door to your right. Dr. Coleman has Max in there."

Thomas smiled quickly and hurried towards the only door with a folder hanging outside. The folder read Garret, Thomas.

"Max, I haven't met Max. Where is he?"

"My dad took him to the vet cuz he's sick."

He knocked on the door, waited and then entered the room with a chair, a stainless steel counter topped with doggie treats and latex gloves. He greeted the man wearing the lab coat who was crouched next to a Collie and quickly squatted down next to it. Though with the trouble the dog had cost him Thomas had set it all aside and loved the dog. He rubbed the dog's neck which then lapped the bottom of his chin.

"Max's good to go," said Dr. Coleman. The balding man stood up with Thomas and proceeded to pull out his clipboard from the counter.

"So no more symptoms?" Thomas's fingers played with the collie's ears.

"Not that I've seen so far. We ran a few tests and gave him some antibiotics, which should the job but don't hesitate to bring him back if the bleeding persists."

"That's good to heart, Doc. I know Brianna's gonna love it when I bring him home." Thomas beamed and then looked at the jar full of bone shaped treats.

Dr. Coleman saw Thomas eyeing the jar and nodded.

"May I?"

"Sure."

Max's ears perked up at the smell of the treat in the ear. Thomas popped it into the dog's mouth and smiled.

Dr. Coleman flipped through the pages of his clipboard and watched the dog carefully.

"Tell me Mr. Garret, where was the dog when you last found him?"

Thomas closed his eyes to think.

"Near the fourth floor I think. That's usually his favorite spot."

"Was Max ever let into the other apartments?"

"No," Thomas shook his head. His throat tensed at the idea of Max visiting other places than his own home. "Why?"

"You sound a little sick yourself."

"Yeah (she's had it for weeks but it's not-)"

"You know what, if you don't mind I like to keep you quiet while I interview Brianna because it just confuses the audience when people talk from off the camera (Oh, I'm sorry), No-no It's ok. I'll interview you afterwards (No it's ok, that's fine. We don't need that)"

It took Thomas a minute but when Dr. Coleman saw his eyes light up he knew there was more to the story than what Thomas had told him. Max stared up at his owner with tearful eyes.

"Do you know the resident that lives in that place?"

"In what place?" Thomas's voice trembled.

Dr. Coleman sighed and slid his hands into his coat pockets. "Mr. Garret it's late so I'm going to be very straightforward with you on this one." He rubbed the dog's fur. "We found unusual traces of chemicals in the dog's system."

Thomas was wide awake now. "What kind of chemicals?"

A loud pop traveled down the hallway into the ears of Thomas and the Dr. Coleman but before either of them could move, a man who moved too fast for Thomas to recognize opened the door to their room with his arm extended. In his hand was a gun and it only took one five seconds for the man to fire one round into Thomas, two into the chest of Dr. Coleman and another through the skull of Max.

"I don't like being sick."

"Yeah I don't like being sick either. Well Brianna you're a very brave girl and I'm very glad we've got a chance to meet."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah (She's always been good since she was a little child. She's always been an incredibly strong child)"

The man closed the door behind him and dropped the gun back into his jean pocket. He rummaged for Thomas's wallet, slid that into his pocket, and then squatted over the Collie's body that was now lying on its belly. It looked at is if it was sleeping with paws tucked underneath its snout.

"You curious little dog," the man whispered. He pulled out a syringe and plunged it into the dog's coat.

"I can't have you roaming around with this." The man pulled on the syringe and extracted a blood sample which he then capped and carefully placed into a metal wallet. The wallet found a spot next to the gun.

The man got up and looked at the bodies beneath him.

"Everything's gone to hell." The man double-timed his walk down the hall. He passed stout woman in the bone patterned scrubs who was now hunched over the front desk with a bullet hole in her head.

"Taxi and then the LAX," he continued whispering. The man reached for the front door out of the clinic when the door swung back open and he was sent falling backwards.

A team of highly equipped policemen stormed the waiting room surrounded the man who was curling up on the tile floor. The gun slipped out of his pocket and was now spinning on its side. A wave of regret and terror surged through him but not from the police.

"Stay down!" The policemen shouted. They immediately handcuffed him and carried him out of the clinic.

The man whined to be released but his pleas were met with angry shouts and hostility. Outside he saw the streets filled with brilliant red-blue lights for only several seconds before the policemen tossed him into the back of a dark van. The van roared to life and sped away behind a convoy of many squad cars and darkly tinted Lincolns.

"Please! I don't want to die!" The man's screams were overpowered by the van's movement. He was tossed around with every turn and bump and all it took was the sound of broken glass and his screaming became shrills.

(Please review for the continuation of this story. Thanks for reading!- EH)