Double Life. Flash Fiction.

Sandra took a sip of her coffee, it was going to be a long, boring day. Everything had been running as expected and while she couldn’t complain about it, it certainly made things extremely dull. In the first few months it was all fascinating, but the excitement it all held had faded. She took another drink and ran through the list of things she needed to check before she could go, then she started planning her evening. Todd was working late so it was her turn to cook dinner, she’d stop off at the shops and pick up a few things. Gracie was with the sitter, Thomas was at his friends and was staying the night. That made things a little simpler for dinner. Thomas was the picky one. Maybe she’d pick up some treats and they could watch a movie together. It had been a while since they had done something like that.

Sandra’s watch started beeping, she sighed and turned off the alarm, time for her rounds. She grabbed a pen and the clipboard and went into the first room. There she checked over vitals and scribbled down notes. Patient was still unresponsive, the parasites were progressing normally. This patient was being fed intravenously, to see how long they would survive, she checked the bag of nutrients and made a note on the clipboard.

In the next room the patient was emaciated, bones jutting outwards, skin that seemed paper thin. This one wasn’t being fed. She had lasted much longer than any of them had expected, Sandra thought that she would die in the next few days. At this point it way just waiting to see what would kill her first, starvation or the parasite.

She went through several more rooms, noting things down and checking them over. When that was done she went back to her office. Sandra sat at the computer and started to type up a few observations.

The parasites were designed to be simple and effective. The person would become infected through contaminated food or water, then the parasite would make its was through their system. In a week the victim would be excreting parasitic larva that would infect others. In the second week they would slip into a coma, then, depending on their level of care, they would die within a few days to a few months. Antiparasitics would kill the parasite, but in its death it would release poisonous chemicals that would also kill the host.

It was so simple, so elegant. Release it into the town or city you want to clear, then wait a few weeks. If you need the land you could send in people in biohazard suits to sterilise the area. The parasite itself couldn’t survive for very long outside the human body. 48 hours had been the longest in absolute perfect conditions, so after a few days even contaminated sources would be clear. Their current testing was to see how long the parasite would continue to live in the host, after the host had died, and what conditions allowed for a longer or shorter life span.

Sandra got into the her car and started the engine, already running through what she needed to pick up at the shops. She was looking forward to a night with her family, perhaps she’d get some baking done too, if there was enough time before the movie.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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