The Doc hummed as he slipped a slide under a microscope and focused the lens. Nobody spoke and the room was completely silent apart from the occasional hum from the Doc, which sounded to Jason more like a deep drone. Time seemed to have stopped as Jason and Amanda awaited the results of the blood test. The Doc eagerly scribbled down notes in between glances through the lens. He then took a second slide and dripped another blood sample onto it, before repeating the viewing, humming and note taking that had just occupied the past twenty minutes.
Finally he spoke.
‘Ok.’ He said, followed by a long exhale. ‘I think I have it figured out.’
‘Well, don’t leave us hanging Doc. What’s the verdict?’ Jason said. ‘Am I dying? Because if I am there’s things I want to do, people I need to…’ His voice trailed off as Amanda glared at him.
‘Will you be quiet and let Eric speak.’ She said.
He took the hint. Now wasn’t the time for joking around.
‘Sorry Doc.’ He said. ‘Please continue.’
‘Well… How do I put this?’ The Doc said, pausing for effect. ‘It seems that you are infected with the virus but it has been stopped from developing further, due to the cure.’
It took a moment to sink in and then it hit home.
‘I’m still infected?’ He said, more to himself than anyone else. ‘But I feel ok.’
‘You are ok. It doesn’t look like it will develop any more. You obviously have the reflexes and strength of a Screamer but without the nasty side effects.’
‘Nasty side effects?’ Jason asked, looking worried.
‘Ugly exterior, intelligence issues, you know? All the bad stuff.’ The Doc said.
‘So this could be a good thing?’ Amanda said, looking for a glimmer of hope.
‘Yes, yes. Absolutely.’ The Doc replied. ‘For a start, it means you won’t get infected again. Second, you have strength and ability beyond that of a normal human. Not greatly increased, but certainly strong enough to have a knuckle fight with a Screamer, as we’ve just witnessed.’
‘Where do we go from here?’ Jason said.
‘I have no idea.’ The Doc said. ‘It proves the cure can stop the virus in its tracks but it doesn’t actually cure the patient.’
‘So that Screamer in there will never turn back into a human being?’ Amanda said.
‘Not any time soon, until we can further develop the cure.’ The Doc replied.
‘It never will Doc.’ Jason said. ‘You heard what it said, no more humans.’
‘What are you saying? That we are all going to die?’ The Doc said.
‘I’m saying…’ Jason began, gathering his thoughts as he spoke, ‘…that mother nature has had enough of humans interfering in things that we shouldn’t be messing with.’
‘We should just let nature take its course?’ The Doc said.
‘I’m saying nature is taking its course. It’s too late. The governments screwed up with the vaccine and now nature is resetting itself.’ Jason said.
The room fell silent. Each person lost in their thoughts, looking for any other scenario to the one which Jason had just presented. Every time, they dismissed an alternative and returned to Jason’s conclusion. He was right. It seemed as though nature had had enough of human interference and was starting again. The Screamers were, in effect, man-made. A mistake. A deadly mistake. Wiping out humans faster than the plague. But now it was up to nature to correct the mistake, it needed to start again from the beginning. No more cities, no more pollution, no more technology, and no more interference. Eventually, the Screamers would all die out or be killed by the survivors, and then a new civilisation would be built. One that would respect the true power of mother-nature.
Eventually they all came to terms with the way the future was looking.
‘So what now?’ Amanda said.
‘We look for more survivors.’ Jason said. ‘We find as many people as we can and we find a secure home. Oh, and along the way,’ His voice turned hard, ‘we kill as many of those evil things as we can.’