After Time: A short story

Hello my darlings! Tonight we will have only one story. It was based on a 3 word prompt, and it sort of took on a life of its own. I am seriously considering continuing on with it. For now, I will share what I’ve written thus far. Enjoy!

The 3 words given to work into the story:

1. hospital
2. death
3. Mice

They had made it to the hospital just in time. The sun was just dipping down beneath the horizon.
This was the third hospital, and hopefully this one wasn’t another bust. They prayed. They needed medical supplies, food, and water…anything that could be scavenged. They had to do it quietly, however.
You could only be outside during the daylight hours, so those precious hours were spent traveling from place to place, scavenging, looking for survivors, or running from the more malicious survivors who’d kill you for what you had.
The world had gone to hell.
Oh, no. No nuclear holocaust. No great war. Hell, it wasn’t even zombies or vampires.
No one quite knew what this was.
This…epidemic…when it started…seemed to affect only certain people. Something in their genetic make-up, or blood. Or maybe the chemical balance in their brains. No one was ever able to figure it out. What was known, was that it was an epidemic that was created. For what purpose was a mystery. Whoever created it in their little petri dish died long ago, probably patient one.
Now the afflicted roamed the night. They brought death and despair. And as said, they were not zombie or vampires. Perhaps an odd mix of both. Yes, they would bite you. Eat you. Devour you. But they were not dead. They were alive. It’s just like a switch got turned off in their brains and they became…inhuman.
And this affliction was transmittable. Only through saliva though, not scratches.
Oh, at first it wasn’t, and they thought they could beat this thing and regain control of the world.
It mutated. Somewhere in its travels over the oceans and back it mutated.
Animals were not affected by this…thing. Well, except birds. And that seemed to bring on a devastating loss all on its own. Everywhere the damned birds shit, things died. The vegetation was dying. No vegetation meant no bigger herbivores to hunt and sustain human life.
The dead or dying wasn’t touched by anything either. Worms and flies. Rats and mice. Their little noses told them ‘no, you don’t want to eat this’.
Rumors circulated around that people were starting to cannibalize other people up in the northern country. These…things…didn’t seem to like the cold much, so a lot of people moved north. The cold weather may have protected them from these things, but not from their fellow man and starvation.
Medical supplies were the currency of the realm. If you could get enough good stuff, you could bargain your way into a small group. It was always best to be in a group.
It may sound cruel, but it was always safest to get into a group with older people and young children. Those whose bodies had been weakened from malnutrition and the harshness of the times.
The strong prey on the weak. These…things…didn’t like to have to work overly hard for their meal.
The world was really cruel now. The weak were sacrificed.
Some people tried to get into the CDC’s and whatnot. It was heard that some had actually made it. That was in the beginning though.
They didn’t know if anyone was still working on figuring things out in the CDC’s and World Health Organizations. They didn’t know if any of them were still alive.
The power grids were out pretty much everywhere. No phones, no cellphones, no TV. Some people did have CB radios and walkie talkies, but they were good for any distance.
They didn’t have either. They were a small group. It was just the five of them. They were going from hospital to hospital, clinic to clinic, searching for anything they could get. They did have motorcycles, one of them having a small box like trailer to it to carry things. They were hoping to find a small community with fences or some sort of alarm and warning system.
They’d been in a group before. They had been attacked. After that, they found another group to live with, but that group didn’t have good judgement. Others came, joined, and turned on them. Stealing all the food and supplies, doing horrible things to their fellow survivors.
They thought if after this supply run, maybe they could find their own place, just the five of them. It was risking, being such a small group, but it had its advantages, too.
With some luck, they found plenty in this particular hospital. Apparently no one else had raided it because it was burned out on one side. People probably thought there was nothing salvageable.
But they were in luck. In the cafeteria there were loads of canned goods and dried pastas. In the medical wards there were all the supplies one could hope for. Medications, pain killers, bandages…just…everything.
They whispered together about maybe trying to fortify this place. Not leave. Make it a home for the five of them. They knew one another well. They trusted one another. It could work.
They went back to the cafeteria and fortified it. They’d spend a few days here. Talk things over, come to a decision.
They couldn’t hear the moans and scuffling of feet in the parking garage. And none thought to look there.

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