Chapter Eight: Isolation
Despite the unimaginable panic coming from the crowds roaming rapidly outside the clinic, Anna was bored out of her mind waiting for Dr. Carson to assign her a task. Yes, it seemed peaceful now, but the first few hours were nowhere near quiet or dull.
A lot more people gathered outside the clinic after the news of Anna being in contact with the unidentified virus broke out to the public.
She could hear someone speaking loudly in the megaphone, warning every citizen not to go a step further from the safety zone.
Even the members of Siho's Health Department became frantic. They called them every ten minutes, asking the same question each time, with answers unchanging.
"Is the patient still alive?" - His heart is beating.
"What of his temperature?" - Colder than most, but he's not dead yet.
"Are the drugs working?" - Just enough for his organs to keep working.
"Does he have the virus?" - We are unsure, but it is a form of disease.
"Will he be a threat?"
-You tell me. Will you give us insulin for Dr. Carson's sake?
"Negative. We cannot bring any sort of medication inside." - But he's diabetic!
"Negative. We will take care of him as soon as he is deemed safe."-What about the vaccine?
"."We'll let you know soon when it is done. Do you also feel faint?"- No. I'm fine.
"Alright. Please wait patiently, and do not step outside the clinic."
"How could I," she thought bitterly, "When there are men eagerly waiting with their guns pointed at me?"
"Drop the phone, Anna." Dr. Carson grumbled. "Talking to them doesn't help us in any way." He was sitting on the chair just beside Kyle Sehler, observing every little changes and writing them down in his notebook.
She placed the phone down. "Dr. Lilybeth gave this to me so we could tell her if we needed anything. Should we give her a call and get you some insulin?"
He shook his head. "Let her focus on her task. These candies are holding me down."
"Understood." She was thankful to find a handful of sweets from Olivia's locker, the other clinic receptionist.
"And how are you feeling?" Dr. Carson said suddenly. " Tell me right away if you feel sluggish or get a sudden headache. It starts that way."
Anna gave him a polite nod. She had been wearing a surgical mask after giving the Dr. Carson her respirator. The magical device had helped him get his fill of oxygen as well as several sips of sterilized water. Now that he even has access to a handful of sweets, the only possible cause of everyone's death today could only be the virus itself.
"Anna, why don't you take a nap downstairs?"
Dr. Carson had just finished writing on his book, and noticed that Anna's head had been popping up and down. Anna didn't feel drowsy before, but it must have been all the excitement that tired her out.
"How about you, sir? Would you like to take another quick shut-eye?" She asked. Earlier, Anna insisted he rest for a good hour as to give him some energy for the ruckus that could come at any given time, but he only used thirty minutes. Anna did exactly what was instructed of her. She gave Kyle Sehler a small dose of the drug every few minutes, marking it in a piece of paper along with his temperature reading, heartbeat rate and conscious level.
He still hasn't woken up.
"I feel much better now," replied Dr. Carson. "There is nothing for us to do now, except sit here and make sure he's alive. The job's too little for two people, so go to the room next door and sleep."
She then excused herself and followed what she was instructed to do. Covering herself up with a thick white blanket, she laid in a fold-up bed with her head up and leaning on the wall. She had hoped for there to be a window, but she didn't expect a lot from an isolation room.
"I really don't feel sick, though." She must have high resistance to whatever this was, because after taking the respirator mask off, the only difficulty she was feeling came from the lack of air.
All of a sudden, she heard buzzing and static sounds coming from her pocket, and remembered the walkie-talkie that Daniel gave her in secret.
"Anna. Over. Are you there? Over."
"I'm here," she replied. It was nice hearing a familiar voice after such a long day. She didn't even know if it was still morning or evening, but she knew a few long hours had already passed.
"How is everyone inside?"
"Dr. Carson is looking better after getting a small amount of sucrose in his system. He doesn't seem like he'll pass out anymore, and is currently attending to the patient. The man still hasn't woken up, and is getting a dose of the antiviral drug every nine minutes," she reported. "Dr. Carson is working very hard to keep the patient alive."
There was silence after that. Anna didn't know what else to say next. She hadn't talked to Daniel properly in weeks, but now that she had his attention, she had all sort of questions in her head. She just didn't know how to say it all to him.
"The vaccines..." she said suddenly. "Is Dr. Lilybeth almost done with them?"
"Almost. I'm standing just outside her lab room. She said there would be three more hours, just an hour long of what she told you."
"Have you been ordered to keep guard?" she asked. She could just imagine Daniel standing beside the lab room door with his hands behind him and his back rigidly straight. She looked at her watch and only realized that six hours had already passed.
"No. I was not ordered to be here at all."
"Yet have you been standing there since the beginning?" she asked.
"Because I'm worried."
"About you. What could happen to you, what they could do to you..."
A dejected sigh followed his pause.
"I worry they might do something to you that would require me to act in response."
She heard him chuckle softly.
"They seem worried too. They left three guys to keep an eye on me."
"You insensitive bastard."
Anna clenched her hands.
"Do you find it fun- messing with me? Am I some cheap, convenient game to you that you could easily play with me and then ignore whenever you want?"
She hated him. She hated him so much.
Daniel had no right to be worried about her. Not after he left her to suffer alone.
"You're a really cruel man."
He was the only one she looked for to support her after Sahl's death, but he decided to avoid her. When she looked at him with pitiful eyes, he looked away.
And when she searched for him for help, he was nowhere in sight.
What made it worse was that she knew. She knew exactly why he acted this way, and that was what made her feel worse.
"Anna, don't do this."
"Did you find me that repulsive, Daniel?" She said. "Did you really dislike the idea of competing with a dead man?"
Anna began to laugh. She had no idea where these words were coming from, but maybe it had all been inside her all along.
"I tried to ignore it, you see. I thought and thought about the reason why you would ignore me so suddenly. But only that came to mind. I'm sorry but I can't bring Sahl to life just so I can turn him down for you."
"Stop, Anna... please listen to me." He begged, but she couldn't listen any longer.
"I'll be giving this radio to Dr. Carson," she informed him. " Let's not do this anymore, lieutenant. You've done well pretending I didn't exist, so I'll do the same."
She turned the radio off. She put her head between her legs, and then she whimpered silently.
"It's really over now."
Anna must have been so tired, because it took less than a few minutes when she drifted off to sleep. But along the time she spent in slumber, she swore she felt her legs off the ground. As if the wind had heard her quiet, hellish qualms, it cradled her away from the stiff bed in isolation ward, away from all the problem that dared cross her way, and into a place much safer than home.
It felt gentle.