The virus drifts, a long silk rope that winds in a loop deep within the man’s lower intestine.
Stuck here for days, embedded within the rotting meat of a cheap beef pie that the man has bought from an old mom and pop’s general store on the way home from his job at Johnson & Hibbard—‘The Tax Specialists’— the virus knows patience. In its limited way, it understands that the body encasing it is not, by and large, a strong body.
The virus unfurls and releases the initial infection.
* * *
John Perkins was in his late 40’s: overweight and sedentary—as most lawyers were—he’d had a few bouts of ill health over the years. More recently, his stomach constantly aching, he’d become constipated, listless, and could barely sleep.
His family doctor had suspected bad food was to blame. ‘It’ll all be over in a matter of days,’ he’d said.
* * *
The virus—or ‘K121A’, as it would soon become known— senses the initial weakness spreading, the white blood cells retreating back into a zone of safety.
A crack has been opened in the host body’s defences: enough to drive in a wedge.
The virus shifts, changing its diaphanous form, slowly melding together into something harder, stronger, angrier, darker.
Now, K121A has teeth.
* * *
At the watercooler, sweaty and feverish, John sighed and popped another Pepto Bismo. He grimaced as Steve Matthews, his boss, walked past and waved cheerfully, obviously happy about something. His boss had probably brought in another large account to the firm; he’d make sure John heard allllll about that later.
He gave a listless flutter of his hand and began taking meandering, halting steps back to his office.
* * *
The flood gates open and the virus, toxins and all, begins to flood out into the body’s bloodstream.
Freedom, it seems to exclaim, though voiceless.
Time to fly.