Chapter 1: The Plague
Down in a town
In South Carolina
A demon he dwells
In the bug ridden swamp
Covered in mud
and surrounded by bones
You can’t even hide
In the safety of home
Brian yawned as he finally pulled into the parking lot of the motel they were to be staying in. Jordyn, Ian, and Roderick had fallen asleep hours ago, and the only one left awake was Joey, who was currently reading a book in the back seat.
“Hey dudes-we’re here.”
The sleeping passengers made no movement, so with a little smirk, and without warning, Brian honked the horn obnoxiously, causing them all to jump in rude awakening. Once Roderick realized what had happened, he started laughing.
“Brian!!” Jordyn yelled, her ponytail tangled and frizzy. Ian rolled his eyes.
In response, Brian jerked into a parking space and hopped out before Jordyn could hit him.
“I’ll go get us checked in!” he exclaimed. Roderick hopped after his best friend, not feeling like dealing with grumpy Ian after a nap. The two of them stopped right outside the lobby door, where a large sign was placed so you couldn’t miss it.
No water. Please use porta-potties lined up outside. Sorry for inconvenience.
“Ian’s sure going to be happy about that.” Roderick snickered before going inside. A very short balding man with dark brown skin stood at the front desk, writing something down. As soon as he saw them, he threw his hands up in annoyance.
“I am sorry. No water. No water.”
“Why isn’t there any water?” Brian asked curiously. “Is it-.”
“No water!!” the man spat. Then, with a sigh, he went over to his computer. “How many?”
“Um… I think we have a reservation.” Roderick said hesitantly. “It should be under… Wilson Lenard?”
The man at the desk squinted at his computer, and then scanned a couple of key cards.
“I repeat. No water.” he said again, sliding the cards over to them. Then, without another word, he walked into the back room.
“Ok…” Brian said slowly, taking the key cards. “I guess there’s no water.”
“I think there may have been a little bit of a language barrier as well.” Roderick told him as the two of them made their way outside.
“Hey bro-this place doesn’t have any water.” Roderick called out as they met back up with the others. Ian looked at him aghast.
Roderick shrugged in helplessness. Ian scowled deeply and then got back in the van.
“Then we need to find another place. I am not staying in a motel where I can’t shower and brush my teeth.”
“But this is where Chief Lenard-.”
“I don’t care. It’s even more hot and humid here than it was in Missouri.”
Jordyn rolled her eyes and yanked him out by the arm.
“This will be incentive for you then. The faster we solve this case, the faster you can take a shower.”
Ian grumbled something to himself, and then pulled up his phone, probably trying to find a place he could shower anyway.
So after setting up some of their stuff, they hopped back into Brian’s van and towards the local hospital. On the way, they went over what little details Chief Lenard had given them.
“Ok, so starting a couple of months ago, people in this town started to get sick.” Jordyn began, reading out of a file. “They weren’t sure exactly what was causing it, but they bring about weird symptoms and there’s talk of something strange in the swamp.”
“What kind of symptoms?” Joey asked curiously.
“It says we’ll get more information when we talk to the leader of the health department in town.” Jordyn told them.
The town itself seemed normal enough, and they pulled up to the hospital without any sign of creepiness or strange creatures from the swamp. However, when they finally walked up to the front of the building, they were met by a woman with long blonde hair with bangs and rather large glasses set atop a crooked nose. She had been pacing rather uneasily, and then stopped as soon as she had seen the van.
“Oh good. You must be the ones Wilson sent over.” She said with a curt nod. “I am Lori Evans, head of the local health department. Come with me please.”
None of them had any opportunity to ask any questions as she hurried into the building, and they had no choice but to simply follow her. The woman walked like she was on a mission, forcing them to almost jog to keep up with her. When the finally stopped at a door that said “Authorized access only,” they were slightly out of breath. She turned to them, her face grave.
“Now, much of this sickness is still unknown, so we are going to take as many precautions as we can. I’m going to have to ask you to put on these gloves and masks please.”
They all did as they were told, and then followed her passed the double doors. They didn’t have to walk much farther, for she took them to the first area with a curtain.
“Brace yourselves.” She said, and then pulled back the curtain.
They all gawked at the man lying in the hospital bed. His eyes were glazed over and milky, open wide and staring, and thick vines were sprouting out of his mouth and were wrapped all around his arms, legs, torso, and neck. It looked like he also had moss growing in different places on his skin, which had turned to a brownish gray. And on top of all this, he was secreting a thick, sticky, clear liquid. Ian immediately took a step back in disgust while Brian pulled out one of his little scanners.
“How long has he been like this?” Jordyn asked, cautiously leaning over to get a closer look.
“About four weeks now.” The woman said, her voice cracking a little. Roderick seemed to notice how the woman was holding back tears.
“Do you know him?” He asked kindly. The woman gave a little sniffle and pulled herself together.
“He’s my husband. When they get to this state, they no longer will take any fluids we give them, and they no longer show signs of brain activity. It’s up for debate on whether they are still alive at this point, but their hearts are still beating.”
“Do you know what is causing this?” Joey asked in concern.
“All we know is that it has something to do with the water.”
“Well that explains the no water situation back at the motel…” Ian muttered, mostly to himself.
“This is weird!” Brian exclaimed. “I’m going to have to add yet another thing to my scanners, cause it’s not a ghost, spirit, or anyone with powers.”
“Are you kidding me?!” Jordyn exasperated. “If it’s not any of those things, then what is it?”
Brian simply shrugged in response.
Roderick stared at the sick man in front of him, unsure if he was even breathing.
“Do you think he’s still alive?” He asked quietly of the woman standing there with them. Lori thought about this for a moment.
“I hope he is.” She finally replied.