Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flicker of Inspiration: A Cure

"A Cure" - Emilie Autumn

"Alicia Hankins.'re a doctor?"

"I was. Before."

"And now...ha. I guess it's like one of those old Buddhist riddles or something: is a doctor who has no patients still a doctor?"

"Something like that. How's your arm doing, Sergeant?"

"It's...good. I can move. And the pain is... How? That thing felt like it'd ripped it out of the socket."

"Strong pain killers. Antibiotics. A stitch and a prayer. You're lucky I found you when I did. You might have died from good old fashioned infection."

"I'd count my lucky stars but I think all of 'em have burnt out at this point."

"What were you doing all the way out here?"

"Playing at being heroes.”


“Never mind. My men and I.... We were on our way back to Edwards air base. Lost our truck on the road; blown tire and no spare. Of all the fuckin' things to happen. We hoofed it into the canyon and they just came out of nowhere. Like wild dogs. Tore into us before we knew it. Still amazed I came through.”

“I’ve heard reports, on the radio, of the small towns out this way being wiped out completely. That’s probably where they came from. I haven't run across any, myself. But then, I try not to go up that often.”

"And you? How'd you end up out here? Down here?"

"Luck again. My dad used to bring us into these hills when we were kids. To camp. Fish. One trip, we got turned around and stumbled on a door in the hillside. This was a fallout shelter, built in the 50s for military and medical personnel."

"Really? Doesn’t look that old."

"Some of it isn't. From what I can tell, they started doing upgrades as soon as news of the first outbreaks spread. Anyway, when everything started going to hell in the city, I came here and decided to stay."


"Seemed like the best place to go. Unpopulated area. Nearby water supply. Food, storage, and a lab."

"And you've been working."


"On a cure."


"I was looking for something to eat... Saw the blood in the fridge and figured. Didn't mean to snoop. Really."

"It's fine. And...yes. I have been working on a treatment. Something to slow the virus, if nothing else. But it's not going well."

"How come?"

"Aside from the fact that I'm working with a lot of equipment that was obsolete twenty years ago? The black outs are a major impediment."

"No generator?"

"There's a generator. Two, actually. Brand new. But they keep going dead."

"Well…hell. I've been sittin' on my ass long enough. You got a toolbox? Point me in the right direction."


"Only took two days, but these girls are humming like honey bees. Looks like you got plenty a fuel in here to run 'em too. With any luck, grid power'll hold out for a while and you won't have to worry about running ‘em for a while. In fact, why don't--"

"Hold on. I can barely hear you. Just give me—one sec. Alright. What were you saying?"

"This... This was from Reeves. One of my men. What’s it doing here? Where is he?"

"I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what?"

"He didn't make it. I'm afraid. I am sorry. I really thought he would pull through. That I had the compound right."

"What the hell are you talking about? What are you doing? What is—you caught one of the walkers?"

"This is Mr. Hankins."

"Fuck, lady...."

"And, you see, Sergeant. I need subjects—ones who are infected—to test the cures. Reeves was infected. The only one of your men who hadn’t been torn completely apart.”

“He wasn’t a fucking guinea pig.”

“But…so far, none of my serums has worked. One of my recent ones, unfortunately, sped up the rate of infection. Reeves had to be destroyed."

"You've got an infected right here. What the hell did you need Reeves for?"

"I'm trying to cure Mr. Hankins. And I am getting close. While you were banging away down here, I think I finally managed to incapacitate the virus. Unfortunately, you do need to be infected for me to determine if the cure will work."

"Don't come near me."

"And Mr. Hankins needs to eat."

"I told you not to—fuck... What is—"

"A tranquilizer's the least I can do for you. I’m sorry about this. Really I am. But if it works, won’t have to play at being a hero.”

This is my quickly written response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug's Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #14:

For this week's prompt, we'd like you to tell us a story using only dialogue. That's right. There can be no "he said/she said," no modifiers at all in fact. Just conversation, plain and simple, between quotes. Not that you necessarily have to use quotation marks...just look at Cormac McCarthy, he uses no quotations marks at all. But I digress. Tell a tale through conversation and dialogue between your "characters." This can be fiction or non-fiction...and can even be poetry. Take it anywhere you like, just talk it out and come back here next Sunday to share. 

I pulled a portion of this one from my Morgue File. I'd tried to write a zombie flash fiction last fall for an anthology submission and it just never came together. But I had some dialogue lying around, so I figured I may as well use it as a spring board.


Lance said...

You nailed your last line too.

I like the flow very much. I felt like I was there. Good job.

May said...

Exciting. The twist at the end really got me. And I agree that the closing sentence wraps the whole thing up like a bow.

CinfulCinnamon said...

Very nicely done. Me like !

L. M. Leffew said...

Thank you all for the comments. I'm really glad you enjoyed.

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