When they die

Memories of blood

The building seemed to be an old one. The internal impression was even worse. Plaster crumbled from the ceiling, which leaked at many points. The stinky floor had formed a layer of algae to make it even slippery.

  The lab was on the 4th floor but Lynn had to use the stairs as the lift was clearly unusable.

  It looked like the stairs would never end. One coming after another and no climax to be found. It was good to see there was at least no bloodstain on the stairs. She was sick of seeing blood.

  The road was dirty and Bloodstains made it worse. Dead bodies were piled up everywhere. No birds to be found but crow tearing up the rotten flesh of the bodies with their hard twisted beaks. The sky was ever clear with the bright sun shining above. But,

  On the road, everywhere she looked was blood and blood.

  Some of the stairs were broken, a thick layer of dust was evident as it hadn't been used in a while. But still, it was too good. At least no blood. At least no-fly was flying over any rotten body part.

  A familiar smell startled her. It wasn't the fusty smell of the old building.

  "What is that smell?"

  The closer she approached the thicker the smell becomes.

  It was the smell of some dull chemicals. She wasn't so familiar with chemicals but she had experienced this smell before. And that wasn't a good experience at all.

  It wasn't long ago. Maybe a couple of months, she had everything. Of course, she was an orphan but she lived with her elder brother. The dreams of college and campus life just started to spread wings inside her mind. But everything changed.

The virus X destroyed all of her hopes and dreams.

  But always living a hassle-free life, she wasn't that caring about it. She learned from her brother, John an expert biologist, about Cs12s. He joined the organization called Cs12s to solve the virus X case.

Of course, she didn't care. In fact, she was happy to get a chance to live independently.

  However, she learned a lot about the organization from her brother. They were only 3 in total but highly skilled individuals.

  These fellows were never connected to each other. In fact, it was a coincidence that they happened to be in the same apartment during the fateful days a couple of months ago. They liked to call themselves Cs12s as a reference to the s12 incident. Young biologist, Jack, the head of the investigation and the tallest member, was behind the formation of the group. Bryan, a relatively short but stout guy who acquired a Ph.D. in chemistry at an early age, was the first person to join him. Then comes the serial of her brother.

  However, everything was going on just fine even though the world was facing the greatest problem of history. Lynn used to bring food to her brother as he had become very busy lately.

  The fateful day wasn't different from the start********************

  "Hey, Bryan. How it's going?"

  "He's probably in the lab" Bryan was busy with many test tubes in his hand and was mixing some chemicals.

  "But I didn't even say anything yet!"

  "Yeah, but I know why you are here. Your brother is in the lab." He didn't have time for chit-chat. One mistake and he would have to do everything all over again.

  "I see. He isn't coming home recently. What's he up to?"

  "No idea. Don't disturb me, okay?" Lynn didn't expect this kind of behavior. But she knew he was busy. So she decided to go to the lab directly.

  But she didn't need to as the dull white-colored room was soon accompanied by a person in a lab coat.

  "Hey, Lynn you are here already?"

  "Big Brother, you're back!"

  "Yeah, I am. Now tell me..."

  "What are you up to bro? Not coming home for a while."

  "Oh, you'll know" He chuckled. Pride was clearly noticeable in his voice.

  "No, tell me right now!" Lynn insisted with an eager gaze.

  "Actually I'm trying to develop a vaccine for the virus X; of course with the help of KALE"

  "Wow! Is that true?! You are amazing."

  "No way, why didn't you tell us about that? And do you know how much energy that fat head AI consumes?" Bryan had risen from his position. He was approaching with a furious look.


  "No, relax! You know how dangerous it is, don't you?"

  "Hey, I'll use ppe so no tension. I already have figured out its genetic blueprint. So, it won't take long."

  "Really? So everything is going to be normal again?", Lynn whispered.


  "Sorry, John, but I will inform jack about it. Until then, you have to stop your research."

  "No, I'm not. I'm so close now. Maybe today is the day when mankind defeats the virus X for good." He snatched away the tiffin box from Lynn's hand and headed upstairs.

  "Wait, brother!"

  Bryan started to walk all over the room with a fast hysterical pace"It's not good, it can't be good."

  "Hey! Cut it out. Why you were so mean? I couldn't even talk to him"

  "Oh, you don't know anything. So, shut up!"

  "Why I'll shut up! You shut up."

  "You fool do you know what might happen? Your brother may soon get the syndrome." Lynn was shocked.

  "But he said he'll use ppe."

  "We don't know if that will work or not." he started to move around like a mad man. "OH NO!, if he really brought the virus here, this place isn't safe anymore. I gotta hurry to inform Jack! "He rushed out of the room.

  "Then what will happen to my brother?...hey wait, Bryan. Wait for me!" she hastened to follow him.

  "No, I should stop brother from going in." With a quick-thinking, she decided to head upstairs. The smell of different kinds of chemicals was found from a distance.

  The door was closed.

  "He's already in!" She slammed open the door only to see her brother eating lunch on the table.

  "Huh, Lynn? You're still here?"

  "Brother! Let's get out of here. I've heard everything." she started to pull his hands.

  "No, believe me, I'll be fine. I have to complete my research."

  "Forget research just come with me!"

  "No, I won't. They don't know anything, Lynn. It's safe. My research is almost complete."

  "But, "

  "When I'll reveal the secrets I've learned, everything will change and we will be able to develop a vaccine."

  "But I don't want to lose you, brother!"

  "I'm telling you I'll be safe, now just leave."

  "I won't go without you."

  "I said, LEAVE!"

  She gave up. Closing her eyes, she turned around to leave. But a bothering sound caused her to look back.

  She wasn't prepared for that scene. Her eyes became wider, lip quivering, hands fell on her mouth, trembling.

  John was shaking violently his eyes started to fill up with blood, he was bleeding from everywhere, nose, ears, nails everywhere. With a terrible scream, his brain and eyes popped out. scattering blood and flesh everywhere. He fell down upon the desk still shaking uncontrollably.

  Lynn was still standing on the door helplessly looking at her brother die. Her leather boot got covered with fresh blood.

  His sacrifice worth it. All the information on the virus X the world know right now was discovered by my brother. He uncovered the secret of virus X's genetic combination giving us a chance to develop a vaccine. But we couldn't. We were not so brave.

  *****************Her legs were becoming heavier with every step she took. She didn't have the strength to reach the lab. That place is not very charming to her. The smell was increasing gradually. Back then, she could not protect his brother. And now, she failed to stop Bryan**************

  "I'm serious, Jack.", Bryan said impatiently.

  "No. There's no way I'm going to permit you to do that."

  "Look, people are dying. I need to do something. No one knows anything about the virus. The soap and alcohol, don't work on it."


  "But we have to. If somehow we can figure out about its capsid layer, maybe we can find out a way to kill it."

  "Hey, what's up with you two?", stated Lynn entering the gloomy room.

  "Bryan wants to do some research on the virus. He guessed that the virus doesn't have a protein capsid."

  "No, Bryan. It's dangerous. In fact, we don't even know how the virus spreads."

  "I'll use a PPE suit. Don't need to get worked up."

  "That piece of shit doesn't work!" A flash of anger was clear in her voice.

  "S-sorry, I didn't mean...."

  "It doesn't matter. I just don't want to lose anyone. Not anymore."

  "She's right. We are only 3. We can't afford to lose someone. "

  "Okay then. I'm leaving!", he stood up from the armchair.

  "No, you're not."

  "Yes, I will. I'm going to the lab right now. If you guys just plan to stand still watching everyone die, I'm done with you guys."

  "You are misunderstanding us, Bryan!" She blocked the only passage out of the room spreading her arms.

  "Shut up, Lynn!" He pushed her back." You did your part as a technician, now I'll do my part."

I should have protested more.

  "Don't go, " a little bit more.

  WAIT, Bryan!" He didn't listen to me.


  Bryan always stayed away from danger. But today he has decided to give all he got just like my brother.

  "Do I have any right to stop him? "

  They were working with death. They were inside death. Death was always hanging on their heads. They were living with danger.

  They had devoted their lives to get the world rid of virus X. Is there any place for personal feelings here?

  The stairs were finally over. Lynn hesitated a bit while opening the door. After all, her previous experience wasn't a good one.

  The room was dark. Nothing to be found but,

  Bryan's passive body and a floor soaked with fresh blood.



September 28, 2020 12:51

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Ray Dyer
16:09 Oct 04, 2020

I enjoyed this story! The reactions to the virus and also to the personal losses were believable. The protagonist's growing concerns over losing more and more of what little she has left--in spite of the risk to the world at large--is something that's easy to understand. The more you lose, the more value gets placed on what remains. I see in the other comments that you are looking for advise on making your English writing better, and I would suggest something that helped me as a young writer. English dialogue has a rhythm to it (and I'm c...


Fplldg Wakdwwdg
16:23 Oct 04, 2020

Hey! Thanks, thanks, and thanks! I'm really glad you liked it. Your kind words mean so much to me. "and missing that rhythm is a challenge for a lot of folks."- you definitely got what exactly I'm facing😅 I'm already working to improve that rhythm by reading other user's stories. I'll sure try what you just suggested. Thanks for reading it through. I appreciate all the helps I can get. Keep well!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Noor Ahmed
02:10 Oct 03, 2020

You did well on this story, awesome job! Keep writing :) P.S. Can you check out my most recent story and give some feedback? It would be greatly appreciated :))


Fplldg Wakdwwdg
02:25 Oct 03, 2020

Thanks! I'd love to read your work.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Charles Stucker
08:06 Sep 30, 2020

To be clear- you want some advice on making your English writing better. "The plasters had torn apart and the ceiling, leaking at many points." First, plasters (plural) refers to 18th-19th century bandages. Plaster is single for modern uses. "Plaster crumbled from the ceiling, which leaked at many points." Plaster doesn't tear, it crumbles. Ceiling beams might tear, as could the tape used to connect gypsum board (or drywall) used in construction. Or, did you mean plaster on the wall crumbled? "Plaster flaked from the wall and the ceiling ...


Fplldg Wakdwwdg
09:22 Sep 30, 2020

Thanks a lot for considering my request and return to leave a wonderful review. Sorry for my annoying English. I'll work on your advice and start editing. Nevertheless very good analysis. You have information on everything! As for the science quibble, this story is a part of a novella I'm working on. (and the novel is set in 2050😉 and anything can happen in the future!)


Charles Stucker
09:50 Sep 30, 2020

If it is set in 2050, have an "emancipated AI" be the third member of the research team. That will deal with a lot of the problems and give a powerful feel of future with no need to name a date. An AI can collate data at tremendous rates, but it might have led to loss of technicians willing to do the dangerous work (even with good safety protocols, accidents happen) because everyone expects the AI's to manage too much. Only, AI's have their own limitations, even IF we could get them self aware. Changes the tenor of some aspects, but makes a ...


Fplldg Wakdwwdg
10:36 Sep 30, 2020

Wonderful idea! I really didn't think about that. I'll start my rewriting right away, your advice is always very helpful. By the way, I want to discuss the plot of the project with you if you agree. And, hope you won't be angry or annoyed if I continue ask you to read my stories. 🙏


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Lynn Penny
19:00 Oct 12, 2020

I loved your take on a thriller, its my favourite genre. It's a massive improvement but in this story here some of your descriptions feel flat, mainly the start. I would try and use a mix of short and long sentences and get the words to flow together like it were a poem. Other than that great work! P.S. love the characters name!


Fplldg Wakdwwdg
01:38 Oct 13, 2020

Thanks! Short-long sentence combo, I'll try it out on my next works. (I intentionally took that name😆) I wanted you to read the 'the case of the grass yard cafe' however, it's my fault as I didn't mention it. Keep well.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.