April 27, 2019. Hot. Fever. Rising. 104.8. Patient is highly alert. Irritable. His skin is pale, his heart beat is slow. Despite the fever patient is cool and clammy to the touch. Pupils dilated. I’ve secluded myself from him- placing him in the apartment across from me. It’s not safe. I’ve bolted both locks. No sleep. At night he comes out and just slams the door. Sometimes there are screams, but I can’t tell if it’s him or if they are coming from somewhere else in the complex. I want to leave, but I can’t. I’ve seen people run, drive, scream running by, wearing masks to hide their faces or to stay away from the infection. I should’ve known this small college town would be the first place where shit would hit the fan. Phones still in service. Mom Dad Caden ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| April 30, 2019. Patient temperature reading 109. Not sure if real or if the thermometer is broken. Wasn’t able to do full assessment. Sclera of eyes crimson red. Bloodshot. Pale. Light red rash around eyes. Sick. Pale lips. Screaming. I’m not sure if I’m thankful for it- I think it keeps others away. Patient vomiting blood. Mental state unable to asses. Patient shows signs of schizophrenia. Time of death: 14:42 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| May 1, 2019. Phone service has been cut off. Last phone call from Caden received yesterday, April 30 at 16:07. Alone. Mom Dad Caden Eliza read the journal entry. It had been two weeks since all phone lines had been cut down, and a month since all of this had started. There had been news reports of a sickness that had flu-like symptoms spreading throughout large areas and some colleges throughout the country. It hadn’t phased her much. She thought of all the times where people had been paranoid about illnesses in the past. The swine flu, bird flu—what would this one be named? Well that was the problem. It was revealed that there was no specific known cause for it. It didn’t resemble any type of illness that had been treated or seen before. The idea of that had this twenty-three-year-old graduate student perplexed. She began taking notes on the people around here. The first two days students began skipping their classes, before the fourth day where the University started cancelling the classes themselves. Stay home, they urged. It was a time where Eliza was thankful for her small apartment off campus. It was set just off the main road of the town, making it a quick target point for some of the looters and graffiti artists who wanted to let it be known that the illness was the end. The second week of the illness her boyfriend had fell ill. It had only been a few months into their relationship but she knew that the man over-exaggerated about nearly everything, so his small temperature didn’t make her bat an eye. Then his health depreciated quickly. Within the week, he and many others in the complex had either fled for their families or were dead. Occasionally she would hear footsteps, but she wasn’t sure if it was someone who lived there or those who were searching the building for supplies. While it wasn’t a CDC approved preventative for the illness, she wore a medical mask daily in the complex. When she came to think about it—she hadn’t gotten the chance to leave. After David died she’d packed her bag, ready to go. After the phones went out she stood at the exit door of the complex, ready to leave. Chicken. Two weeks. She hadn’t heard from Caden in two weeks, and it was beginning to eat away at her. It was either that or the bit of hunger that had set in when she’d gone through her last bit of canned soup. Hunkering down as graduate student wasn’t as easy as it seemed, especially with lack of funds. She wasn’t even sure what was going on much in the world at this point. Being in a college town was great for all of the crazies coming out. It was what lead her to keep her pages of notes of the activity she’d seen, and characteristics of the illness in others as they passed by. 305 pages of notes to be exact over the course of the month. Some were just random thoughts of what might happen, but most had to do with research she’d done in her own textbooks, relatable symptoms, etc. Liza scanned over the page again, looking at Caden’s name not crossed off. She brought her pen to the page, and hesitantly put a question mark next to his name. It was what would drive to get her out of there. The only weapon that she really had was a kitchen knife, which she reluctantly wrapped in a towel and threw in her backpack. She shoved the two large notebooks and pens into her bag as well. The young woman thought fighting was a foreign concept, but before the lines had gone out her mother had told her that things weren’t exactly going well in some parts of the country, and she needed to stay where she was (and be prepared). Her mother was dead now though, and for two weeks the question mark next to Caden’s name had driven her mad. She hadn’t had any human contact since David had died, and dammit she wasn’t going to die in this apartment building alone. Eliza stood in front of the side exit door leading to the outside, medical mask still on. She wore a plain back t-shirt and black shorts. Thankful in her bag she’d prepared for a bit of colder weather at nights, but in the late afternoon it was pretty hot that day. The girl pulled her maroon beanie down, for once, a sense of determination in her green eyes and--- As she stepped outside she pulled the mask down. The door slammed with a loud click. Deep breath. The air felt… Fresh. She was shocked when there was, well, no one to be seen… Yet. A big billboard off the in distance read ‘Oaklahoma is OK’. “Far from it…” She whispered to herself. And then it dawned on her… How the hell was she going to get home alone?