Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)
TITLE: One Touch
By Jeremy Iman
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Some mentioned hope, but he only laughed. Hope was a thing of the past, the present held no use for such nonsense. He, who had once been great among his people, was now reduced to a feeble shell of a man, spending most of his time alone and isolated from those he loved. And still the virus moved on.
It began disassembling the blood vessels behind his eyes a few weeks later.
Strand by strand, it undone the complex connections and left him with severely blurred vision; the next day he had none. Needless to say, it was about that time that despair crept up upon him. It seized his emotions and took control over all of them. It was the duo of disease and despair that was ultimately doing him in.
Sadly, he had seen people with this disease before, so he knew that his horror was far from over. He sighed deeply through terrified tears as he pressed himself into the corner of his room, for he knew the worst was yet to come. The virus was uniquely unpredictable in some aspects. Some of its effects materialized quickly in its victims, but there were others, more serious in nature, that took some time to surface. His immune system was strong, so the more dehumanizing parts of the disease took awhile to combat his body’s defenses, but in the end he wasn’t strong enough. No one ever was.
Sometime during the third month after his infection, he awoke in the night to a startling discovery. The air in his room was perceived to be thicker, pressing down on his face and entering his nasal passages with greater ease. As he readjusted his body, he felt something fall and hit his arm. He didn’t need vision to know what it was, his fingers told the gruesome story all too well. The tiny bacteria molecules had been busy that night. They had weakened the flesh around his nose considerably, causing it to fall off. He cried for hours that night, no longer desiring the company of his family and friends.
He thought about death, as all of the infected did at this point, and taking his own life was no longer out of the question. The disease was insensitive to his cries, never once relenting in its course of destruction. He knew he was a monster, he knew no one could look upon him without cringing.
And then a man entered his room.
He tried to explain to this stranger that he needed to leave immediately, that the disease would reduce him to a pitiful creature, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The man made a ridiculous claim, that he had dominion over the illness and it couldn’t harm him. It made him laugh. Perhaps this man was mentally ill himself, he didn’t know, but there was a strange feeling he had as soon as this stranger had entered. It was a soothing, almost calming sensation that he hadn’t felt in a long time.
He explained to this man that his situation was hopeless, that nothing on this earth could save him, and the man agreed, saying that he wasn’t from this earth. He said he was only visiting, and mentioned something about doing his father’s work while he was here. What came next reduced the disease-ridden man to tears.
“Just one touch of my hand can take away your pain,“ he said.
Light burst forth from some unseen place, filling the room and striking his heart. Despair was shattered, virus molecules were eradicated, hope was restored. It pumped through his body, this healing wave of salvation, and resurrected every part of him that had been dead. Joy unimaginable replaced the virus and filled his soul. His vision was recovered, his face was mended, and his life was regained.
He was alive again.
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