Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CHILL (10/27/16)
TITLE: Chilly Today, Gone Tomorrow
By Pamela Calhoun
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She’d worked by his side all through this nightmare, but now it was clear that she was ready to crumble. “I don’t understand Dan, why can’t we stop this horror?”
Dan held her as she cried, they were both exhausted. For days now they’d watched, as one patient after another died and they stood by, helpless.
He took his wife by the hand and led her through a nearby door. Neither one of them could say anything for a few minutes, they both felt numb and depleted. Mari broke their silence, “How long do you think it will take the CDC to figure out what this is?”
“I don’t know. It’s moving so fast and we don’t know how it spreads. Is it airborne, in the water, person to person? Nothing about this makes sense. From headache, to coma, to dead in three hours.
“Don’t forget the chill. Everyone I talked to said they couldn’t get warm, and then the headache came on.”
The television that was always on, in the corner of the hospital doctor’s lounge, caught their attention: “No one knows what it is, or where it’s from. Millions around the world are laying down with a headache, never to get up again. Hospital Emergency Rooms are overflowing with people panicking because they have a headache, but if they haven’t first felt an undeniable chill, they’re being sent home.”
The screen went to commercial and the two of them sat staring at each other. “How can the media know more about what is going on than we do?”
“Dan, we’ve barely come up for air for three days now. Did you hear him? He said ‘millions, all over the world’!”
June 27, 2033
Dan sat in his den, relaxed in a recliner and reading an article in the latest medical journal. Mari would be home any minute and he was glad. It had been a long day and he was ready for it to come to a warm and cozy end.
The late night news was almost over. “And now, a closing remark from a respected spokesperson, Dr. Gerald Cummings:”
“Just as December 7th changed our country’s innocence, and 9/11 changed almost everything about how we live and travel in our world, the first three days of December last year made us realize how vulnerable we are on this planet.
For three days, with no warning, people began perishing in a matter of hours. Then suddenly, it was over. We have yet to understand the source. No radical groups or terrorists have taken credit. There was no mercy shown, the devastation was worldwide as more than 316.5 million people lost their lives to what we now call, ‘CHD3H.’
Since the epidemic of CHD3H, we have also changed the relationship we’ve always had with a simple headache. Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are racing to find a failsafe remedy, and getting rich in the process. The number one complaint today in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices is a headache. We will try anything, pay anything, to make our headaches go away so we can create the illusion of safety for ourselves.
How have we so easily forgotten that this enemy struck with no warning, except a sudden chill? By the time you have a headache, it’s already too late. It’s my hope that as we continue to have headaches, and survive them, we will regain our senses. But history proves, that once we fear something, we choose to let that fear change the way we live our lives. God help us!
This is Dr. Gerald Cummings, Goodnight and good health.”
Just then the door opened and his beautiful wife was home. He rose to greet her and could tell she’d had another hard day too. He took her in his arms and then did something he hadn’t done since their wedding night. He scooped her up and carried her upstairs to their room.
“My, my kind Sir. What have I done to deserve such treatment?” She batted her eyes and fanned herself like a belle about ready to swoon. “Please do tell, so I can be sure to do it again.”
He laughed and put her down, “I’m happy you’re home. I think we’re both overtired and ready for a good night’s rest. Most of all I’m glad we both have tomorrow off, now let’s go to bed!”
“I’m right behind you honey, but first a hot shower. I need to shake this chill.”
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