The doctor inserted a small needle in my forearm. Immediately, a beep sounded on the computer nearby that was testing my blood. The doctor and I stared at the screen. Positive.
I was rushed to a secure area separate from everyone else. By the end of the day, they had found four people to be positive out of the hundred that were tested.
I lay in the hospital under close supervision and wondered what would happen next.
As the days passed, I got worse. Uneasily, I leaned over the side of the bed and vomited into the module they had given me. I was almost getting used to it.
The pandemic was now so severe that nobody in Detroit was allowed outside their house unless authorised. The media reported they were closer to finding a treatment but it would take time.
I was a lab rat being tested with anything that had a remote chance of working. Of course, nothing did. All it brought was more pain. I also sometimes heard screams from the rooms beside me.
I remember how this all started. I was with my friends in a nightclub called The Shark. It was meant to be a special day for me, because it was my eighteenth birthday. I grabbed my girlfriend’s hand and dragged her to a table. She looked beautiful that day. The sensor on the table sensed us coming and the screens automatically flared to life.
“Hello, my name is ATOM. What would you like today?”
ATOM was a relatively new technology being trialled by restaurants in Detroit. They had started to appear in the 1930s, when businesses started to automate everything instead of employing people.
I was startled to hear a blood-curling scream from the dance floor. Dancers frantically dispersed. I watched, overwhelmed by the shattering of glass and cries around me. That wgo sgg fgvos vgcsgm I ogw: g yeqng wemgn ggb fgllgn qncenocgeqo gn sgg mgbblg ef sgg fleev.
&lbqqe;Semgeng cgll g becsev!&vbqqe;
Tggog wevbo svggggvgb ATOM se censgcs gmgvggncy ogvvgcgo gmmgbggsgly. Wgsggn mgnqsgo, sgg wgelg bqglbgng wgo gvgcqgsgb gnb gvgvyeng wgo evbgvgb gemg.
Ao I ges gemg, my vgogen osgvsgb se blqv gnb I vemgsgb. Sqvvggllgncg gs Tgg Sggvk ggb gbgnsgfggb mg go g pesgnsggl vgcsgm, gnb pgnbgmgc censvel opgcgglgoso ggb cellgcsgb mg fvem my gpgvsmgns bgfevg sgg ngggs gnbgb.
Anb new I opgnb my bgyo gn sggo geopgsgl, gn pgvpgsqgl pggn. I ben&voqqe;s knew wggs weqlb ggppgn se mg. Tgg wevlb ggo feqggs ggggnos vgvqogo lgkg sggo eng bgfevg, bqs mgny pgeplg ggvg bggb. Tgg enly sggng I ggvg lgfs new go pvgygv. I knew I ben&voqqe;s ggvg leng se lgvg, oe I&voqqe;m gepgng sggvg wgll bg g cqvg gn sgmg. I wenbgv gew mgny pgeplg gvg gn sgg ogmg peogsgen go mg, lygng gn g geopgsgl gnb penbgvgng sgggv fgsg.
I wgo bveqggs bgck se vgglgsy by sgg becsev gnsgvgng oelgmnly.
&lbqqe;I ggvg ngwo.&vbqqe;