“I’m going to write you up for some medication to help with the racing thoughts and any further anxiety.” Christiana said.
Daniela looked at her dubiously. She didn’t seem convinced.
“It’s just a short term fix to help you,” Christiana encouraged her. “It will help you organise things in your head a little more whilst we go through some therapy to work through this.”
Daniela shrugged in response but seemed upset with the plan. Christiana wrote the medication down and handed it to Gary.
“Do you have this?” She asked.
Gary took a brief look over the prescription and nodded.
“We’re well stocked.” He said and disappeared to fetch the medication.
Daniela glanced over at the door and Christiana saw a flash of hope flow through her. She turned to see who had arrived and saw Duncan walk over. His head was caked with drying blood but he didn’t seem to notice it.
“You really should get that checked out,” Christiana said.
“It’s fine.” Duncan replied, “I barely feel it.”
“How can you barely feel it? It looks pretty intense.”
“It hurt at first but the worst is over.” Duncan said, taking his place next to Daniela and sinking back into the chair. “It’s not even bleeding anymore.”
Christiana made her way over to Duncan and examined the wound. He was right. The blood on his head appeared to be old and Christiana struggled to find the wound at all. She grabbed something to clean his head and set to work at washing off the blood. Once she was done she was instantly confused. There was only a thin line where his head had hit the table and somehow it appeared to be almost healed.
“What the hell?” She said, grabbing his head and taking a closer look.
“Watch it!” Duncan cried.
“I don’t understand,” Christiana said. “The cut looks like it’s practically healed!”
Suddenly Daniela was off the bed and by Christiana’s side. Both Duncan and Christiana gaped at her. This had to be the most movement she had made since Christiana had turned up at the clinic and probably long before. She reached for Duncan’s head and Christian moved out of the way so that she too could examine it.
Although she still remained mute, her mouth dropped open at the sight of the healing wound and Christiana could see her mind ticking over.
“What?” Duncan asked her, suddenly interested.
Daniela looked at Duncan and shook her head, a look of shock on her face. She moved back to the bed and picked up the notepad Christiana had eventually found, immediately beginning to write. When she was finished, she turned the pad round to show Christiana and Duncan. On it was written ‘The vaccine.’
“The vaccine?” Christiana asked, confused.
Duncan however seemed to understand completely.
“It must be.” He said. “Come to think of it, Kelly’s lip looked completely normal this morning. I was certain I split it open.”
“You did what?” Christiana asked. “You hit her?”
“I know, I know.” Duncan said. “Not my strongest moment.”
“Not your strongest moment?! For crying out loud, Duncan, that is not okay!”
“She got her own back, as you clearly saw.” Duncan answered. “And I have apologised, I was worked up! I shouldn’t have done it.”
Gary walked back into the clinic at this point with a bag of drugs in his hand.
“One prescription ready.” He announced.
Daniela moved towards him, her face accusing. She pulled his face towards Duncan’s head and pointed manically at his injury.
“Wow, someone’s feeling better.” Gary said, his comment appearing to be directed more at Daniela than Duncan.
Daniela glared at him and pointed at her pad.
“Vaccine?” Gary asked, looking just as confused as Christiana felt.
Daniela pointed at Duncan’s head again and Gary seemed to clock what it was that she was getting at.
“Ah.” He said.
“Ah?” Christiana asked. “I’m feeling a little out of the loop here.”
“It was something some of the last volunteers said,” Duncan explained. “Apparently our little monthly injections are not as simple as the doctors have been letting on.”
“It’s the vaccines that caused your head to heal?” Christiana asked.
“I believe that’s what Daniela is thinking.” Duncan said and turned to Gary for further explanation. Christiana followed suit.
Gary sighed. “It’s nothing bad.” He said. “You really don’t need to worry about it.”
“Please don’t tell me that you’ve been giving us something without us knowing, Gary, because I cannot even begin to tell you how many things are wrong with that.” Christiana said.
“Of course not!” Gary said. “The women were deluded from the medication they were on, that’s all.”
“You said that everything was on schedule.” Duncan said. “You pretty much confirmed that what they were saying was right.”
“It’s complicated.” Gary said. “But it’s fine, I promise. You can trust me.”
“So let me get this straight; you’re asking us to trust you when you aren’t telling us anything and we already know that you have lied to us?” Christiana asked.
“I was just entertaining three dying women, that’s all.” Gary answered. “There’s nothing strange about the vaccines, why would we lie about that?”
“You do realise that your answers are contradicting each other, right?” Duncan asked. “Which one is it? There’s something different about the vaccine that we need to trust you on, or not?”
“Not!” Gary said, a slight panicked tone in his voice. “There’s nothing to talk about, I’m just as confused about the head thing as you are.”
“Funny,” Christiana said. “Because you didn’t look confused.”
Suddenly Daniela was moving again, she power walked over to a nearby cupboard and before anyone could react to what she was doing, she had pulled out a small metal scalpel and dug it deep into her stomach. Blood began to seep through her clothes and suddenly everyone was on fast forward. Duncan rushed forward with Christiana close on his heels. Daniela’s legs gave way just as Duncan reached her and he scooped her into his arms, rushing her back to the bed.
Gary was there waiting with gauze and anything else he could get his hands on. The moment she was placed down, he began to press them against the wound, applying as much pressure as possible. Christiana ran to help but Daniela grabbed hold of her arm, stopping her from helping. Christiana tried to pull away but Daniela’s grip was surprisingly strong. With her free hand she grabbed at Gary’s arm, he shrugged her off easily.
“Stop.” She said, her voice loud and strong and full of conviction. “What’s the point?”
“Daniela,” Duncan said. “Dying is never the option. We can work through this…”
“She’s not dying.” Christiana said.
She was watching as Gary busied himself around her covering her stab wound with more and more gauze. However, the material was no longer filling with blood. He didn’t stop working and Christiana realised that he wasn’t working to save her life, but rather to cover what was really going on.
“Gary, stop.” Christiana said.
She shoved her hand underneath Gary’s and pushed him away. This time, he stumbled back, apparently giving up on his previous vain attempt at keeping the realisation at bay. Christiana began to remove the gauze, taking away the clean ones and then the blood soaked ones underneath. Once she reached the skin again she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The wound had almost completely closed up, a small insignificant amount of blood oozing from it.
“Gary, what the hell is this?” Christiana asked.
But Gary didn’t respond, instead he was typing a number into his phone. Whoever he called, answered straight away.
“The clinic, now.” He said. “The penny’s dropped.”
Immediately the phone went dead and Gary dropped it back into his pocket.
Christiana and Daniela looked at him curiously. Duncan, however was staring at Daniela, his gaze moving from her stomach to her face and back again.
“Are you insane?” Duncan asked. “What if you had been wrong?”
Daniela shrugged, her muteness back.
“No, don’t shrug like that’s okay.” Duncan said. “Am I going to have to take up some form of suicide watch or something?”
“From the looks of it, we don’t need to worry about that anymore.” Christiana commented.
“Not exactly,” Gary said. “You’ve still got another couple of months to go until the course of medication has been completed and it does absolutely nothing against the toxins outside.”
“What is it doing at the moment?” Christiana asked.
Gary sighed and glanced desperately at the door. No one came.
“It’s something we found when we were trying to find a cure against the toxins.” Gary said, eventually. “It was pretty much an accident, by testing against the different components from the meteor we found a way to combat against other things.”
“How many other things?” Duncan asked, his attention back on Gary.
“In short?” Gary asked. “Everything.”
“Every illness, disease and injury we threw at it, it found a way to fight against it.” Gary explained. “The moment the medication came into contact with any infection we threw at it, it just eradicated it instantly.”
“How?” Daniela asked. Apparently the information Gary was providing had provided enough of a distraction for her to find words again.
“We had the idea to use the toxins as a way of fighting against itself. A bit like how when you have a flu jab, it’s just a small diluted version of the flu? Well, we tried it with the toxin.”
“You’ve been injecting us with the deadly toxin?” Duncan asked.
“The percentage of the toxicity in the medication is so unbelievably minute that there was no way it provided any form of danger. We had hoped that it would allow the body to fight against it and give us a chance of survival out there.
“But it didn’t. Nothing we tried would stop the infection once it came into contact with the subjects. However, we started to notice that other things were changing instead. Aches and pains were disappearing in the subjects, even physical ailments that had previously been diagnosed as permanent. When we were at the point of testing it on human subjects, there were people who had never walked in their lives, running around our labs. There was nothing that this toxin couldn’t heal.”
“But how?” Christiana asked.
“In the same way that the undiluted dose eradicated life. It was hypothesised that it would simply kill anything less powerful than itself. Undiluted, everything was weak compared to it, but with a small enough dose? Well, all illness was gone.”
“But there’s nothing that can eradicate the toxin itself?” Duncan asked.
Gary shook his head. “Believe me, the irony of finding the cure to ill health just as a new deadly toxin was going to kill off all life was not lost on us.”
“So we can’t get ill now?” Christiana asked.
“It needs a year for the body to function on its own without new doses of the medication but yes, essentially, you will always be 100% well from now on.”
There was silence as this information rested heavily on everyone’s minds.
“What about aging?” Daniela asked, eventually.
Gary seemed to groan at the question.
“I had really hoped that that question would have passed you all by, but I should have known you’d have thought of that.” He said. “Mortality would definitely be qualified as the largest infection we all have and, we haven’t been in contact with this medication for long enough to do any extensive testing in this area but, it would appear from the testing that has been done, the toxin has combated that as well.”
“Wait, what?” Christiana asked. “Are you saying that we’re not aging anymore?”
Gary looked at them all apprehensively, a look of terror on his face. Eventually, he gave his answer.
“We don’t know for certain but it would appear that the medication identifies the body’s healthiest age and resorts it back to it.”
“What do you mean?” Christiana asked. “It makes you younger?”
“And you’ve seen it happen?” Duncan asked.
“With who?” Christiana asked.
“Myself. I started taking it two years ago.” Gary answered.
Christiana looked him over, he looked no older than in his early 30s. Was he older than that?
“How old are you?” Duncan asked, clearly on the same wavelength.
Gary faulted for a moment, deciding whether to answer. After a moment, he sighed.
“69 years old.”