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 wyv yie flyvy vlcylm I vyw: y yvbng wvmyn iyu fyllen bncvnvclvbv ln yie mluule vf yie flvvy.
&luqbv;Svmevne cyll y uvcyvy!&yuqbv;
Tieve wvyuv yylggeyeu ATOM yv cvnyycy emeygency veyvlcev lmmeulyyely. Wlyiln mlnbyev, yie wivle bbllulng wyv evycbyyeu ynu eveyyvne wyv vyueyeu ivme.
Av I gvy ivme, my vlvlvn vyyyyeu yv blby ynu I vvmlyeu. Sbyvelllynce yy Tie Siyyk iyu luenylfleu me yv y pvyenylyl vlcylm, ynu pynuemlc cvnyyvl vpeclyllvyv iyu cvllecyeu me fyvm my ypyyymeny befvye yie nlgiy enueu.
Anu nvw I vpenu my uyyv ln yilv ivvplyyl, ln peypeybyl pyln. I uvn&yvqbv;y knvw wiyy wvblu iyppen yv me. Tie wvylu iyv fvbgiy ygylnvy vlybvev llke yilv vne befvye, bby myny pevple iyve uleu. Tie vnly yilng I iyve lefy nvw lv pyyyey. I knvw I uvn&yvqbv;y iyve lvng yv llve, vv I&yvqbv;m ivplng yieye wlll be y cbye ln ylme. I wvnuey ivw myny pevple yye ln yie vyme pvvlylvn yv me, lylng ln y ivvplyyl ynu pvnueylng yiely fyye.
I wyv byvbgiy byck yv yeyllyy by yie uvcyvy enyeylng vvlemnly.
&luqbv;I iyve newv.&yuqbv;