I think I had barely been asleep for even two hours when I hard Cal shouting my name. “Adam! Adam!” I dropped off the top bunk and we almost ran into each other. “Tracy has gone into labour!”
Six hours later and Tracy has a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Her husband Steve nearly cracked my ribs he hugged me so hard. He had a little miniature bottle of whisky that he pressed into my hand before going back to mopping Tracy’s forehead and alternately kissing wis wife and daughter.
Cal dropped his arm lazily over my shoulders. “Well what now doc?” We both laughed. Life in the new world was rough and harsh and a successful birth was something to celebrate. I waved the small bottle of whisky. “Drink?” Cal gave an Ironic little bow and said “You’re my hero.”
As we sat on the roof of the old cottage end of the village, we chatted idly. I was never very good at making friends but somehow Cal and I had hit it off. I had been a senior A&E Nurse before the war and Cal taught Maths at a school in Cardiff. Though we had little in common we soon became great friends. He was the brother I never had and even a few moments alone with him was often enough to keep me going. “You must be tired mate” he almost finished the last of the hooch but offered me the last drop. I rubbed my hand over my eyes. “If everyone could avoid any accident for about five hours I would be happy.”
The flat roofed barn we were sat on acted as the school and hospital for all 89 people in the village. It had taken almost 6 months to get it useable but it was draft free and pretty clean. From the barn you can look down over all 14 houses in the village and the valley beyond. It is remote and easy to defend. We haven’t seen anyone since last winter. No raiding parties or slavers. It’s been our home for nearly three years now.
I was an hour from the end of my shift. I hate nights in the emergency room. We had a heads up of multiple casualties with various injuries. No one was sure if it was a RTA or the specifics of the injuries. The call was cut off mid sentence.
The first through the door was an early twenties white male with partial burns and an entry wound to his lower right abdomen. We moved him from trolley to bed on the count of three Dr Khan spoke to him, asked him his name but he was clearly unconscious. That’s when it moved. I turned for a moment as more patients were being wheeled past exam bay 4. When I looked back there was what looked like a fat white worm, slick with blood forcing it’s way through the hole in the boys stomach. The whole top section opened and it was filled with jagged little fangs. It flicked up and across Dr Khan’s face. I think he was dead before he hit the floor. There was a terrible explosion and the worm bursts in a shower on innards and brain. I turn, deafened by the noise and there is a very scared looking Police officer in full riot gear holding a handgun. “OUT!” He shouts and even though I am scared I run to the Nurses’ station. The drawn curtains of Exam bay six and nine are sprayed with blood from the inside. One of the Nursing temps, I never found out her name is dragging herself across the floor. There is a worm clamped down on her shoulder and it is wrapping itself tighter and tighter round her neck. There is a loud cracking noise and I realise she dead. I grab my car keys and scream to people to get out.
We never found out what they were. The death toll was unbelievable. Whole countries fell almost overnight. Them the power stopped working. There were 23 of us hiding in a house in Liverpool. No power, no water, no food. We made a choice. We found two vans and drove to the most remote part of Yorkshire we could find. On the way we found more refugees and made room for them as best we could. I don’t know the name of this village but everyone here was dead when we arrived. We burned the bodies and repaired and reinforced all 14 houses. Stefan and Vikram took the van out to get food, seeds, fertilizer, bottled water, medicine and medical supplies. We prepared as best we could. Today is maybe the end of July, no one really knows anymore, 2019. In the last three years we have been raided by two slave gangs. They take healthy males for work and women for sex. They kill everyone else. I have never fired a gun ever in my life, I’ve never even been in a fight. Cal taught me to shoot. The last raiding party that came here died here. I shot four of them myself.
We loose people to the most minor illnesses because I am just a nurse and I don’t have access to the most basic supplies. Christmas Eve last year harry had a heart attack and we had to watch him die because we had nothing to treat him with. His wife still calls me ‘Doc’ My official nickname. She has never once blamed me or been anything other than kind. That hurts even more than if she would just slap me in my face.
We have seen nothing of the worms. I really don’t know what they were, no one does. Dominic lives in a small community of the other side of the valley and says that no one has reported a sighting in nearly two years. He visits once a month or so. We trade produce and meat, most of any useable land has been turned into producing crops and the young men spend most of their time hunting rabbits. Dominics community is barely 20 strong and many of them are old and sick. I do what I can but I always ask him to bring his people to our village but he is a stubborn old bugger and likes things the way they are.
Cal smiles and pats me on the head. “Night Doc.” he heads off to the ladder and his girlfriend Lisa. I don’t know if it’s the whiskey or hunger or just being tired. I have a stomach cramp. Walking to the ladder I feel dizzy and sick. I really should go to bed. Halfway down the ladder my foot slips off the rung. It isn’t far to fall but it has knocked the wind out me. Cal and Lisa both come running over. “Jesus are you ok?” Lisa is kneeling next to me. I can’t seem to speak. I think I am going to be sick.
Vomit and blood spews out of me. There are at least five worms in the sickened mess. I grab my stomach, it feels like I may burst. Lisa is already dead and two of them have swarmed over Cal. There is a wrenching, tearing sensation and suddenly my hands are covered in blood. My abdomen has been ripped open from the inside and as the light starts to fade I watch as twenty or more full grown worms force their way out of me.