Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
asutter would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

In Sickness and In Health

By asutter All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

Chapter 1

She was startled to see Clyde standing by the door as the meeting dragged on. It would have been nothing unusual under normal circumstances, true, but it was Tuesday. And he had died last Wednesday.

In her astonishment, she inhaled too deeply, coughed harshly, and sent a wave of whispering through the room. Pulled from her chair by a security guard in a biohazard mask – one of the old ones that hung baggy around the cheeks – she assured him that she was not sick, but he dragged her into the quarantine office without uttering a word. Clyde followed her just as silently and sat down by the wall as she waited for them to come and test her so she could go.

"You think there's reason to worry?" Clyde asked her as he fidgeted on the thin, clean carpet.

Of course there's reason to worry, she thought, I'm seeing a dead man.

"That's not what I meant," he said and wrapped his arms around his drawn-up knees. She glanced over at where he sat. "Is there a reason?" he tried again, his voice lower than before and more demanding.

"No," she assured aloud. "I haven't been anywhere to be exposed. I haven't done anything to be exposed." God, she'd barely been out of the house except for the funeral.

"Then why were you coughing?" He would not let it drop.

"Because you startled me!" she quietly insisted. "I didn't know it was improper protocol to be surprised when a ghost shows up at your work."

"Has someone been sick?" he asked, ignoring her outburst. "I noticed Stevens wasn't at the meeting."

"I haven't been near Stevens for the past week," she countered as something raw shook itself in her gut and curled around her heart. Now she was becoming paranoid because of a dead man.

"That doesn't mean -"

"Shut up!" she hissed, and he turned a wide-eyed gaze upon her before falling silent. With a soft knock, the building's biohazard nurse stepped through one of the interior doors. He snapped his mask in place and turned on the air filters without a word.


It had been her birthday last Tuesday, and Clyde woke her up for breakfast. She had felt queasy the night before with a headache to complement, and they had gone to bed with the worry lurking in the back of their minds. She had dreamt of quarantine and death but had opened her eyes in the morning to find her ailment gone. As if he had known, Clyde already stood against the wall with a plate in hand, and they sat down together cross-legged on the bed to eat her birthday meal and to silently, guiltily count their blessings – to thank whoever was listening for avoidance and escape. They ate her birthday breakfast together on Tuesday, and they still had enough time, time enough. 


"You coughed at 15:24 today?" the nurse directed toward her.

"I was surprised, is all," she defended. "I forgot a key brief for the meeting, one I've been working on all month, and I just – I guess I choked on my own disbelief, you could say."

"Arm out," he told her, and she dumbly held it in front of her, all excuses forgotten. And really, there was no place for excuses here, not with a virus that wiped out ten percent of the world population. Placing the syringe against her bare skin, he depressed the plunger. There was a slight pinch, and she watched her blood meander into the clear syringe. Then the skin was cauterized, the needle removed, and her precious life flow was never once exposed to the air. Sitting down at a desk, he slid the syringe into a machine she did not understand and watched the screen as electricity stirred and fans whistled.

"Ask him about Stevens," Clyde told her.

"Ask him yourself!" she shushed back. The nurse turned his attention away from the machine to give her a confused, condescending look, and she realized with nauseous fear that he could not see Clyde and that she might be crazy.

"Negative for antibodies," he told her after a tense and embarrassing silence, and she felt her muscles go limp, the problem of Clyde's existence momentarily forgotten. He firmly pressed a wrapped syringe into her hand. "Go home and quarantine," he demanded. "Tomorrow morning, take another blood sample and call for expedited delivery. If it's clear, we'll call you, and you can come in."

"But my meeting," she pleaded. He simply turned his back and had the instructions relayed to her superiors. She nearly began to cry, not knowing how she was to survive going back to that empty house with such doubts. Clearing her throat, which earned her a suspicious glance from the nurse, she steadied her heart and opened the door.

"I just worry about you, baby," Clyde said as she left the building and he followed. It was Tuesday, and Clyde had been dead for a week.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

DennisT: This is an excellent story by an author who writes very well. the only problem areas that I see relate to proofreading and editing. All of the stories by Vanessa are excellent, and I have read them all more than once. I had hoped that they would be better edited and proofread on this site, but it...

kathryncoard: I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast paced book, that kept me interested . Yes, it was political commentary, which I found to be relevant to many things happening in the world. The snippets from the journal show the " boiled frog " analogy that is clearly relevant . Interesting that peop...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

LeoDuhVinci: Absolutely loved this story. I'm a sucker for Sci Fi and Forever Roman knocks it out of the park. Read it- you won't regret it.Good concept with immortality, great story with fast paced development, and incredible execution. Extremely creative.To the author: Keep the great work coming! I can'...

EchoOblivion: As an avid reader of sci-fi, this book really appealed to me, and it did not disappoint with its descriptions of a futuristic society and planet. I really enjoyed reading it, the only slight issue I had with it was there was not much of a overall plot - the whole book just hinged on the fact that...

Tony Lee: Great ideas. Some mistakes here and there, but not too much to break the immersion :) This was my second book here, and I'm pretty satisfied! Well I can't think of anything else to write so I'm just gonna fill the space up with random words. Magazine holder sidney sheldon first bible shack tom ha...

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

More Recommendations

Angel S. Adames Corraliza: Sensational! As a fan of superheroes, I have to say, you have a real winner of a story so far. I like that you made Allison a Wonder Woman expy, but kept her likable and relate-able in this first chapter. You showed us the Mother while also glancing at the Superhero, which I think is important to...

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

heavyreader: great scifi novels but needs a better spell checker (check auto-substitution level) and grammar checker!!! otherwise, ready for mass market publishing!!

frigidfallacy: I gotta say, this was one helluva ride. I loved it. And I loved the plot even more since it was related to Colors (I've also been working on a story which involves it). You've done well to make me hungry for more out of this story! I'd definitely recommend it to teens who read from the fantasy ge...

sambolie: Couldn't stop reading this!! Beautifully engaging story & I love the richness of the characters. I hope to see the next volume soon! I can't wait to see how the girls carry on to Invasion Day with all that happened.

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."