DAY 36

You know how in many of the old science fiction/monster movies there is a scientist/doctor that runs up to the alien/monster and says something to the effect, “No!  We can’t kill it.  We need to try to communicate with it, study it, learn from it.”  And then, inevitably, the scientist/doctor gets killed by the thing.  Well, it seems that Beth is that kind of doctor, though she hasn’t gotten killed; yet.  While Bert and I were out getting lumber yesterday, and this morning while we were getting it situated on the roof where we wanted to build the pigeon house, Beth was going door to door looking for zombies in our building.

I hadn’t actually expected her to go looking for them when I suggested it, but now there are several apartments with big Xs on the doors indicating that there are zombies inside.  Beth now wants Bert and I to set up a couple apartments as isolation rooms with glass doors that will allow her to observe the zombies inside.  She explained that the more we know about them, the better we’ll be able to deal with them in the future.  I couldn’t really argue with this, but actually keeping some of them around to experiment with seemed like asking for trouble.  Beth of course pointed out that these zombies were already in the building, and knowing exactly where they were would make us that much safer.  Again, I couldn’t argue.

If we’re going to keep some of the damn things around on purpose though, I was going to make sure none of us got killed on accident.  I want to make certain that there are several layers of protection between Beth’s lab rats and us.  First, we are going to keep them at least two floors below us.  The zombies don’t handle stairs very well, so the more the better.  Whichever floor we choose, the stairwell doors are going to have glass in them so we can look before entering the floor.  Next, we are going to add one of those cage doors to the elevator so that if any get loose, they won’t be able to get to us when the elevator doors open.

Rather than leaving the zombies to roam the entire apartment, we are going to keep them in a bedroom, and the bedroom door will have an observation window in it.  The main apartment doors will also be fitted with windows in case the zombies get out of their rooms.  Once all of that is in place, then Beth can begin studying the damn things, and I might feel relatively safe.  But I might add another set of doors of some sort to the hallways, just in case.

Bert and I spent the rest of the day laying out the plans for Beth’s zombie observation labs, and figuring out what we’ll need and where we can get it.  We realized that most of the things we’ll need would be available at the hospital along with everything else Beth wanted.  I asked Bert, when Beth wasn’t nearby, what he thought his sister’s motivation was for all of this experimenting.  He seemed to take her at her word when she said that all she wanted was to know the enemy better.  I asked him if he thought she was trying to find some sort of cure for the zombies and he waved the idea off as nonsense; even before I had hooked up with them Beth believed that there was no fixing what had happened to those people who were infected.  I was nervous to put forth the other possible motivation Beth might have, but it had to be considered.

Before I lost my nerve, I asked Bert, “Do you think that there is any chance that Beth might be trying to find a way to get the virus to work better?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Now that she has met me, and believes that the virus was intended to make everyone like me, but wasn’t ready to be released yet, could she be trying to fix it so that it will work on both you and her?”

“That’s ridiculous,” Bert scoffed.

“Is it?  The idea of being virtually immortal could be very enticing, particularly to someone getting older.  And even more so considering it is apparently possible.”

“That is not the kind of person my sister is,” Bert said.  But he had hesitated briefly before saying it.

“So the fact that she seems quite impatient for us to get that equipment for her doesn’t bother you?”

“Not at all,” Bert replied.  “What you need to understand is that she is a doctor, a cardiac surgeon.  Beth is used to a very high-stress environment where she literally held people’s lives in her hands.  When something needed to be done, it had to be done right away, without questions, and without mistakes.  After the pandemic hit, there was nothing she could do about it.  And when we both survived, she was suddenly out of work with nothing to do.

“But after a few days, she realized that there was still a virus that needed to be investigated, and she threw herself into it.  Meeting you filled in a few gaps for her, but she still hasn’t solved the problem.  Maybe she is looking for a cure, though she told me it was virtually impossible, maybe she is trying to find a way to make it less deadly or more effective, I don’t know.  What I do know is that working on the virus, for whatever reason, is the only thing keeping her sane.  So I’m going to do what I can to help her.

“Your concerns might be valid, to a certain degree, but as long as we keep her in check, like with the safety precautions you’ve suggested, you have nothing to worry about.  It’s a crazy world we’re living in now, and we’re all doing what we can to remain relatively sane and survive.  But I’ll talk to her and see if I can’t get her to ease up on the surgeon’s attitude a bit.”

What he said seemed reasonable.  I suppose I don’t need to be overly concerned about my wellbeing, at least here in the building.  But I’m still going to keep an eye on Beth.  Those crazy scientists who want to communicate with the aliens often got a lot of other people killed as well.




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



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 25, 2013, in Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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