Well, I may be misquoting him, but it’s what I’ve synthesized from him. It’s fitting that the prompt today from terribleminds works in nicely with The Afflicted. I was actually pissed that I had to stop at 1000 words on the nose, but I’d rather this be a slow burn instead of a flare-out. I may wrestle another from The Afflicted this weekend. Hey, Matt! Hey, #fridayflash!
* * *
Matt opened one eye. He closed it and forced them both to open. The room was fuzzy on the edges, but he at least had a small field of clear vision. He blinked a few times and the image retained more focus.
I’m in a hospital, he thought, followed by, I’m hungry.
Matt couldn’t remember the last time he was so hungry. He tried to swallow, but something made his throat hurt. He reached to feel his throat, but a pair of hands gently held his.
“Please don’t move, Mister Siebert.”
The face of a woman in her early twenties shifted into focus, hovering above him. Even though his vision had mostly cleared from the haze, her face was still blurry. It took Matt a few heartbeats to comprehend what his eyes were telling him: The nurse was wearing an isolation suit.
He could hear a soft whir coming from what he could only assume was a rebreather. Flares of condensation appeared on her mask as she breathed steadily. “I’m going to remove a tube from your mouth. On the count of three, I need you to breathe out as hard as you can.” She smiled a blurry smile. “Blink twice so I know you understand me.”
Matt’s world became nothing, a black void of gnawing hunger, twice in quick succession.
The nurse smiled again and started the count down. When she reached ‘three,’ Matt forced air from his lungs. The pitiful wheeze startled him, but the insatiable hunger overpowered his fear.
“Don’t talk yet, Mister Siebert. I’ll get you some water.” She placed a plastic cup to his lips and he drank greedily. “Not so fast, there’s plenty of water.” She produced another cup and he drained it immediately.
Matt coughed and he felt his entire body shudder. Pain radiated from everywhere, but that pain was nothing compared to the hunger that dominated him. He reached up to rub his throat, but realized it wasn’t the nurse’s hand that kept him from moving but a strap across his wrist. Matt struggled to lift his head, to take in his situation, but it was also strapped down.
“What’s going on?” he whispered.
“I’m sorry, Mister Siebert, I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”