It started with a bite. It always starts with a bite, no matter what fantasy it is. I was wearing my favorite scrubs – the black ones. I went to the waiting room to call patient Justin McKay back to a room. The waiting room was unusually crowded for a Tuesday afternoon. Most looked as if they would be here for the same thing – a virus of some sort.
“McKay, Justin!” I called across the moaning room.
A man, appearing my age, stood, and wobbled across. He would be attractive if his skin wasn’t yellow with sickness. His brown eyes were blood shot, and he kept a tight hold onto his stomach.
“Justin?” I asked, careful as to not stand right next to him, so I wouldn’t get infected.
He nodded - then the face he made said he regretted the motion.
I walked him to room 19; peeking behind me to make sure he hadn’t passed out.
He got up on the bed, the paper crackling as he did so. He groaned, and I reached for the waste basket. He heaved up, and I turned my face away.
“Okay, then.” I said, once he had finished and had lain back down. “Just need to get your blood pressure and temperature before the doctor comes and sees what he can do.”
I put the cuff around a toned arm. Once again, I thought to myself how attractive he could be if he weren’t in this situation. I read the meter. 180/110. “Wow. Your blood pressure is very, very high.” I quickly checked his chart for history of hypertension, but found none. I popped the thermometer in his mouth, and waited, while he tried to hold still. When it beeped, I took it out and read 103degrees. I panicked.
I had been working at the same medical facility for almost four years, and never had a patient with such extreme multiple symptoms. “I’m sorry sir, but we’re going to have to call you and ambulance and get you to the emergency room.”
He groaned, but I could see tears start pooling up in his bloodshot eyes. “Stay with me, until they come?” He asked, winded – as if he had been running.
I pressed the button for the doctor to come, and scooted my rolling chair next to his face. I placed by hand on top of his burning forehead. He was burning up.
He sniffed deeply then. “What is that fragrance you’re wearing?” He rolled his face to look into mine. He didn’t sound nearly as out of breath anymore, and the blood lines in his eyes were turning a darker shade of red.
“Just, some low brand thing from the store.” I shrugged, watching hypnotically the veins in his eyes start turning purple. “Sir, how are you feeling right now?” I glanced back at the door. Where was Doctor Moore?
“Name’s Justin. And, I don’t really know why, but I’m really hungry.”
I looked back at Justin. The whites of his eyes were all but black. I jumped out of his chair and towards the door.
His eyes flashed, and then he leaned over, heaving again. This time he threw up blood, and lots of it.
The nurturing nurse in me kicked in, and I raced over to steady him.
As soon as I reached for him, he grabbed my arm, and pinned me against the wall next to the bed, my arms behind my back. I screamed. His hand flashed out to cover my mouth.
“Shh, there. No need to alarm everyone.” He didn’t sound sick anymore. He sounded like he said he felt – hungry. I tried to bite the hand that covered my mouth. He just pushed down harder. “Ah, ah, ah. I get to do the biting.”
He lifted up the bottom of my scrub shirt, still pressing his other hand against my mouth. I began to have a panic attack. Knowing I was going to die at work seemed to make it that much more horrific. Every time I tried to move, his hand would press down on my mouth, making it impossible to free my hands. As if expecting my next move, he stepped on my feet, keeping those from kicking.
“Now then.” He smiled. His teeth were even more yellow than his skin. “If you just let me have a bite, I won’t kill you.”
My heart was hammering inside my chest. Where was the doctor? He never takes this long when the emergency button is pushed.
“A mifte uf hoot?” I mumbled under his hand.
“A bite of what?” he started to laugh. “Of you of course.”
In a motion too fast to see, he let me go and sunk his teeth into the skin above my hip bone. I passed out before I got the chance to scream.