“Mother, I’m scared,” Suri said through the glass that separated her from her family, that kept the Leven HYZ contained inside her.
“Do not be,” There was a hint of sadness in her mother’s voice, a lance of fear hit her eyes, then faded, as if she was trying to keep her fear contained. Suri was only a girl of sixteen, it seemed unfortunate how she would be cursed with death. “Run away, run out of the wall of Zemira, do not let the TESTERZ see you…” TESTERZ. Testing the Essence, Soothing the Fears of Everyone in Residence of Zemira- they were scientists none wanted to meet. Though their government reputation was held to a positive quality, most knew they were thirsty to perform deadly experiments on people. “Run as far as you can, tell the guards you have the Virus, they’ll stay away from you. When you get to the northern OutSrill…” The OutSrill, the place outside of Zemira, the place that was barely populated and the people living their had terrible living conditions. Everywhere outside what was once the United States of America- now Zemira- was claimed the OutSrill. “Pray. There’s nothing you can do then but pray-” Suri’s mother was interrupted by a cold hard knock at the door, which urged her to continue faster. “Now go, run, run Suri!” The young, black haired girl got up and ran to the back exit. Before she opened the door she turned around to her mother, tears swam in both of their green eyes. “I love you,” She whispered.
Suri ran out when the door opened- revealing a man in a white uniform with a strange mask.
She ran as fast as her legs could take her, though still having the Virus, she would live longer if not caught by TESTERZ. As she ran she saw things she knew she would never see again- things that reminded her of happy memories, and things that rattled her fear.
Suri craned her neck to see growing electricity towers and white smoke hurling out of factories, pouring into the air. The breaths she took were laced in stale air. She wondered how the Corr was taking it all; the Corr, a creature under the surface of the earth, who grew angry when things like the electricity towers dug into her. She released a toxin into trees and spread through Zemira, creating what was then named the Leven HYZ.
The first victims of the Virus were animals, when TESTERZ took the animals to experiment on them, the airborne toxin was given to them. Within an hour of their homecoming that night, their families had the Virus too. From there- it spread. It smeared over the city like someone was taking a paintbrush of blood and painting over a canvas which held the city.
It was only a matter of time before the symptoms would catch up to her.
Hours ticked by with the chime of the belltower that hung over the central part of Zemira. It was so loud citizens could hear it no matter where they were in Zemira. Suri was getting tired, and only a dent in the long way she had to go was made.
She stopped when she felt the first symptom crawl up her spine: Shivers.
Two more days- forty eight hours- the rest of the effects of the Virus would click in soon. She closed her eyes in fear. ‘Pray’ Her mother had said, but there was nothing to pray for. No one had lived the last stage of the Virus, Suri didn’t even know what it was, she only knew the first three: Shivers, cramps in her feet, and her tongue would itch.
She continued to run, farther and farther, more and more, lungs aching to catch their breath. She refused to stop, not wanting to be caught by TESTERZ. Curse the Corr and her wicked toxin, without it the world would be more peaceful.
She sighed of relief when the top of the sixty foot tall alabaster stone wall that marked the border of Zemira was no longer visible- she was almost to the OutSrill.
As she grew closer, she saw tiny specks of bright color seeming to be guarding the wall. Guards. Those would be the hardest part of trying to get to the OutSrill. They had two rules- never let anyone come in, and never let anyone come out.
When she approached, she saw tall, muscular men in shining metal armor, scarlet orange and ruby red. Those colors signified the guards’ rank. Blue was the highest, green- second in command. Their heads swiveled when they saw her.
“Look what we got here, Lucifer,” The blue guard smiled smugly. “Prepared a little monologue have you deary, to get us to let you out?”
“I have the Virus, so stay away from me and let me out so I don’t kill anyone here.” Suri replied, voice shaking.
The orange guard, second in command, shrunk back, but the red one’s smile only grew. “You think that’s going to be enough to let you out, so you can go to the OutSrill and be eaten alive by animals none have seen?” The red guard cracked laughter, it ripped out of his throat like a cough. “Then again,” He shrugged. “Why do I care if you are eaten by some terrible beast huh? Go on and get yourself killed.”
“Reil, we aren’t supposed to let her out, it’s against-”
“I’m Capikan to you.” Capikan, the Zemiran word for captain. “And you are scared of her because she has the Virus, would you rather her stay here and you look over her or she goes into the OutSrill and is nobody's business?
“Well, I don’t like disobeying orders but-”
“Go.” The red guard demanded.
The wall opened with a click and a slow hiss, as it grinded the ground. A shiver sent its way down Suri’s spine. It was as if the grinding was reverberating in her pale ears, her head throbbed and she winced, trying to reduce the pain.
She walked slowly, head down, through the opening of the wall. Though it opened slowly, it practically closed with a thud on her heels.
Suri took a moment to catch her breath and force her heart rate down. She was out of Zemira, now in the land that went by many names, the OutSrill, outskirts, dark forests. Now it was up to her, she had no one to kill herself if the pain ever was too great, and no one to befriend, the OutSrill was practically empty, there was no point in pursuing when she would die in two days, still, she walked on, feeling like she had to do something.
Surprisingly, it made Suri feel a lot better.
Rain poured down over the crusty canopies of dead trees, which provided little protection to the girl walking through the forest that night, the sun had set, leaving a non-harmonious, grey skied dusk resting over her like looming silence.
Suri shivered, and didn’t know if it was the effects of the Virus, or not.
While the sun waxed and waned the next day, much like the moon, the effects settled in:
Her hands started to become cold, almost like she was holding an icicle, but no matter what- couldn’t let go, couldn’t shake it off her hands. Her teeth fanged out like a wild beasts’ and she often growled. Soon every part of her body itched and the only thing that could relieve and satisfy the itch was the gnawing of skin on fanged tooth. Even her tongue started to itch, and although scratching that would be easy, the piercing blades that were her new teeth cut her tongue up and left the blood to dry in her mouth. Suri wanted to kill herself, wanted to end this pain that she knew would only get worse.
She didn’t know how bad ‘worse’ was.
It was a sweet afternoon, the third since she had gotten the Virus. The sky was filled with birds chirping and singing their sweet songs, it was almost like honey gliding out of a hive.
Unfortunately it wasn’t so sweet for Suri…
Her heart was elapsing in beats, she laid still, every part of her aching, she tried to relax, but her breaths came out in panicked spasms. How badly she wanted this to end could only be determined by the screams that she would cry when the last effect would start.
Her chest rose when a frightening, searing pain ripped through her fingers, she bit her lip with fanged teeth and a part of her urged her to see what was happening to her fingers but like a magnet another part forced her down. She screamed as the pain rippled through her pale arm, it spread to her shoulder, her eyes were misty with tears as she carefully looked over at the sight that was causing her to nearly black out.
Her skin. It was nowhere to be found. Her blood pooled out on the ground and her muscles and bones were visible. Suri held her breath.
Then it started on her toes, her feet, ankles, shins, it was a burning sensation, felt like exactly as she had seen it, her skin being peeled off. Her screams sent birds flying and the trees danced their last for her as the wind screamed its bearing symphony, it was too much, she wanted to kill herself, wanted to die, wanted to faint, wanted it to stop. She screamed and thrashed what was left of her, holding her breath, gritted teeth were being screamed through, she couldn’t take it. She wanted- even needed it to stop in its tracks and rewind itself so Suri could have a body once more...
But there is no end to a Virus that turns you inside out.