DAY 33

I’ll do my best to explain Beth’s theory on what’s been happening.  She did say it would require further study and testing, but it sounds reasonable, and a bit disturbing.  We did go back to get the rest of her equipment from the boat, but now that she has more room and a reliable source of power, she wants to go out and get more to continue her work on the virus.

Beth said that it is in fact a virus, and that it appears to be a strain of the influenza virus.  But this strain is either highly mutated, or has been genetically altered.  Beth suspects the latter, and believes that it was altered for a specific purpose.  That purpose had been unclear to her until she met me.

Beth explained that a certain small percentage of the population would have been immune to the virus.  This immunity would also have some genetic component, which explained why she and her brother were not infected.  She said that if their parents had been alive, one or the other would likely have been immune as well.  Beth and Bert had managed to get a blood sample from one of the zombies, and Beth was then able to isolate the virus.  She said that when she compared the zombie’s blood to mine, both samples showed that the virus was still active, and apparently continuing to do what it had been designed to do; keep us alive.

When I told Beth that after I had received a serious injury, like when her brother shot me, I quickly became feverish and achy, and the area around the wound would itch.  She surmised that this was the virus kicking into overdrive to help repair the damage.  Beth wasn’t certain how it was doing that yet, but she also believes that my near constant hunger was another side effect of the virus working to keep me healthy.  This would also explain why the zombies were always trying to eat and why, though most appeared to be wasting away, they weren’t actually starving to death.  It explained why you could shoot them and it wouldn’t kill them, and why the ones that fed regularly appeared to be obviously healthier.

Beth’s theory on why shooting the zombies in the head killed them was that since the brain controlled all of the body’s functions, destroying it kept the virus from being able to do its job.  Stopping the heart didn’t prevent the brain from working, and the virus was still able to function and repair that damage.  But this was one of things Beth wanted to study more carefully before she could be certain about it.  What she did seem pretty sure of was that the zombies and I appeared to be alike in all respects, with the sole exception being that I still had a fully functioning brain and the zombies seemed to be operating on pure, basic instinct.

All of this led me to ask that, if the virus was healing me, or helping me to heal rapidly, would the virus keep me from aging?  She didn’t seem to want to give me an answer to that without doing more tests, but she did say that it seemed to be a possibility.  So I also asked how long could I live, assuming I don’t get shot in the head?  This is what she was guessing that the virus had been intended for; someone, somewhere, had been experimenting on how to slow down, stop, or reverse the effects of aging.  There would never be any way to say for sure what had happened, but somewhere along the line they had screwed up, and now most of the Earth’s population was either dead, or a fucking zombie.

So what does that make me?  Am I just a zombie with a high IQ?  Am I immortal?  If I am like the zombies, then that wouldn’t be technically correct since a bullet to the head should kill me.  Definitely not testing that out if I can help it.  So am I doomed to walk the Earth until someone gets off a shot at my skull, or I just get tired of living take myself out?  I guess it would be better to have some answers.  I guess…

 

Barnett Jane

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

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About scottamehlman

Scott A. Mehlman was born and (mostly) raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Having earned both a BS and an MBA, Scott has tried his hand at a variety of jobs without finding one that truly satisfied or engaged his creative impulses the way writing does. He has published his first novel, The Immortal and The Dead, which is the first book in The Immortal Virus trilogy and continues to work on the JAEGER e-book series.

Posted on November 16, 2013, in Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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