Sabitsuki didn't leave the bed anymore; she was afraid her legs were too weak. She had seen another little girl's legs snap, when she had tried to get up out of bed and her legs couldn't take it. Her bones had been red. They'd rotted away before the skin had.
So Sabitsuki didn't really want to leave.
In her room now there was only her, and Oreko, and one other child way at the other end where she could barely see. At first there had been ten or twenty of them. Now they were the only ones left.
A few weeks ago, so many children had been dying that Doctor and Nurse had put hooks in the ceiling and put the children on the hooks. Then they'd hoisted the children sideways over the walls. Sabitsuki had seen their blood drip down their feet and onto her white hospital smock. Sometimes the children had fallen apart before they'd been hoisted all the way to the Morg (which was where Doctor said the dead children went), and then they'd splatted on the floor. This was a disease that turned children into bloody mush. Sabitsuki and Oreko were also turning into bloody mush.
Doctor and Nurse had once tried to explain to them exactly what the disease was.
"It's like there's a plant," Nurse said eagerly, "or maybe lots of plants—and it grows up inside your body—"
"What are you talking about, Nurse?" Doctor scoffed. "Now listen here, kid 23, kid 24. This disease is like lots of little red demons that eat the insides of little kids…and they're so small they're invisible, and they float through the air. And when you take a breath—" he demonstrated—"some of them get sucked in."
"And then they attack your body!" Nurse said with an energetic jab in the air.
"And then you start to turn to mush," Oreko added.
"And your hair falls out," Sabitsuki said, touching her fuzz-covered scalp.
"And then you go crazy," Oreko said, spinning a finger around her ear.
Nurse laughed. "Yes, that's right!"
Doctor and Nurse seemed awfully happy for people whose job was putting children on hooks. The boy in bed number 22 had said darkly that they were probably getting paid lots for it, but then he had died the same afternoon and they'd put him on a hook too. Oreko romantically supposed that Doctor and Nurse were getting married, which also seemed like a good explanation. Or it was possible that Doctor and Nurse just didn't notice how bad everything really was, or maybe they didn't even care whether the children died or not. That was what Sabitsuki thought. For a doctor, Doctor didn't seem to be very good at curing people. Maybe he wasn't even supposed to, and the entire hospital was actually a Morg.
"I wonder if the other rooms are doing better than us," Oreko said.
"What if they're doing worse?" Sabitsuki voiced a thought that had been troubling her. "And it's just us left in the entire hospital?
"You mean just us and the kid in bed 54."
Sabitsuki privately didn't count the kid in bed 54. It spent all its time giggling to itself and biting the sheets. That was all it could do, because its limbs had fallen off.
"Do you think you're going crazy yet?" Oreko asked.
"No," Sabitsuki said; but she thought she might if kid 54 didn't die or at least shut up soon, because she felt too sorry for it, and the smell of its rotting limbs was making her sick.
"I don't think I am either. Sanity buddies!"
Sabitsuki reached out, and Oreko reached out, and they touched hands.