Author: TimetoDuel95 PM
Selma is Infected, but that is the last thing on her mind. In a metropolis separated from the rest of the United States with no chance of a cure for the sickness from the Outside, Selma must make every sacrifice that she can to keep her little sister, Sophie, alive. Even if it means fighting her sickness to the end.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Drama - Chapters: 10 - Words: 16,690 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 01-21-13 - Published: 12-28-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3086947
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Selma kept her head bowed with her eyes closed as she listened to the hymn that echoed off the walls of the Cathedral she stood within among a group of hundreds of people, including the Priests and Bishop who led the large group in the opened her eyes and lifted her head to look around at the people around her from the center of the pew. People sung with passion, eyes closed, heads raised, some had their hands raised to the religious statue of Jesus alongside the Virgin Mary in the front of the building and to the ceiling that depicted a scene from the Bible, she couldn't remember what scene. She turned her head to the young girl who stood at her side with her arms wrapped around one of Selma's, her head bowed and eyes closed while she remained silent. Selma sighed and looked forward. The atmosphere of the cathedral was abit unsettling to her for reasons that originated from childhood.
Selma turned her head once more to see the girl now looking up at her. "I know, little one. That's why I'm still here."
The girl smiled and nuzzled into the sleeve of the jacket Selma was wearing while Selma looked forward as the hymn was still being sung. The woman to her right began to shed tears as she clutched a golden cross in her wrinkled palm.
"Brothers and sisters...you may now be seated." One of the priests announced after the cathedral had silenced.
Selma sat down on the cushioned pew with her sister still clinging to her arm and crossed her left leg over her other, slouching abit in her seat while others sat up straight. The Bishop made his way to the center of the platform he and the Priests stood upon, almost like a stage, and he extended his arms upward. "Glory be to God that we still stand here, alive and well, while others suffer from a horrible fate. A fate worse than death itself. Let us thank the Almighty One that we are healthy and pure, and pray for the ones who are not so lucky."
"Not this again..." Selma whispered what she thought was under her breath. Her sister lightly tapped a fist against her arm as if trying to hit her to be quiet. Selma only kept her lips closed as she listened to what the Bishop had to say.
Any church, any religion, any religious community says the same thing. That this..."sickness"...is either the result of an angry Deity(God, Allah, Buddah, etc.) or is a sign that Armageddon or the Apocalypse is upon us and everyone needs to turn to faith for a cure or protection from getting infected. Selma believed it. She was a good girl at one time, before the illness spread...and eventually it reached home. Her home. And eventually, to her.
The light seeping through the stained glass of the cathedral began hurting her eyes everytime she looked away from the Bishop and priests and she pulled her black hood over her head to shield her eyes. Immediately Selma began to feel eyes fall upon her, fearful eyes, recognizing eyes. The leaders of the cathedral continued to preach as she sat in silence amongst those eyes that spoke what she was without anyone having to say a word. She was Infected.
Infected meant a lot of things to the people. It meant that Selma was a monster like the others, a killer of the innocents that still dwell in this God-forsaken metropolis cut off from the rest of society because of this disease with no cure. It made her stomach turn just thinking of what the city has become now with the laws and morals of the outside world no longer valid.
The service ended after what seemed like hours. Everyone stood and left in silence and the priests retired to their quarters while the Bishop stayed behind to talk with some people who approached him for blessings. Selma stood and walked with her sister out of the pew, holding her hand to keep her close as she did so.
She turned her head to the Bishop who now stood alone. He beckoned her with a wave of his hand. Selma wanted to turn and continue out of the cathedral, but her sister, little Sophie, tugged her back towards the elderly Bishop by her hand and she walked with her down the aisle in obedience. He smiled as they approached and held his arms out for Sophie as the seven-year-old released Selma's hand to embrace the Bishop. He returned the embrace while patting her head before looking up at Selma.
"Selma...I haven't seen you at church on Wednesdays. Is everything alright?" he asked in a warm, kind voice. His voice had a concerned tone.
"We're fine, Bishop." she replied simply.
He nodded and looked down at Sophie. "Child, why don't you go look for Priest Matthews and see if he'll entertain you whilst me and your sister have a talk?"
She looked up at the Bishop before looking up at Selma for permission. Selma nodded her head without saying a word and watched Sophie rush off with a smile before she looked at the Bishop who stared long and hard at her with dull gray eyes full of age, as if trying to crack the wall Selma had built up in defense over the course of three months with the disease. She stared back at him with her hands in her pockets with a blank expression.
"Selma...I'm worried about you and Sophie." the Bishop said after awhile of silence.
"You and everyone else in this city." she replied dryly.
He sighed as he removed his headdress to place on the podium and walked over to a row of controls on a wall near the confession booths to push a black button that lowered the metallic shields over the windows to block the sunlight. She removed her hood while her eyes adjusted to the shaded darkness.
"When I heard what had happened the day you and Sophie were attacked, I was sure you had been killed...but, then I remembered how much a fighter you had become since this...tragedy had begun. I was not surprised when I saw you walking with Sophie hand-in-hand not long after the attack." the Bishop said, sitting on his throne as he spoke.
"Your point?" she asked.
He closed his eyes for a moment before opening them to look at her with seriousness. "The church has been keeping the severity of your condition a secret from the city and the people for long enough. I can see your eyes are changing. I see you get weak every time I visit only for you to get better like nothing happened. You worry Sophie when you do that."
She narrowed her eyes. "Sophie is fine!"
"And what would your definition of "fine" include? I'm merely offering to take her in while you find a cure. You can come visit." he replied calmly.
"Sophie is staying with me! She's all I have left!" Selma growled, taking a step forward as a yellowish glow formed in her eyes like a pair of flames and the veins in her neck gave off a dark hue.
"Selma...think about it. She's already seen her parents die to this disease...what about you? Will you make her watch you fall now that you bear the mark?" the Bishop pleaded.
"No one is taking her from me...I already have the city people around me threatening to take her if I don't comply, to turn me in if I don't hand her over. Some of these people don't even know she has asthma." Selma said in disgust. Her voice was beginning to blend with something much deeper, a hint of a growl was in her tone.
"I have extra inhalers. I have enough bedding for her. No sick people here. Selma, I...I really don't know how else to get through to you. I just don't want Sophie to see you perish when you've been fighting it longer than most. Most Infected don't live past a week. You...you're the perfect fighter. A blessing. A beacon of hope sent from God Himself." he pushed himself up from his throne and approached Selma with his hands folded against his robes. "Selma...I really am thinking of her. Everyday I see you, I know you'll fight another die...but this disease is unpredictable. Why you've lived so long thus far, I don't know. But obviously you're too important to just waste away."
Selma lowered her eyes to the floor. The glow slowly faded from her eyes as well for the hue from her veins.
"I'm merely offering an alternate solution. If your condition worsens to the point where you might pass...please, send her here before you go meet with God." he said softly.
"...thank you, Bishop..." she said in a soft voice.
"It's my duty as head of this church to offer ease and comfort in these dark times. You are no exception...even with this." he spoke, taking her left arm to pull her hand out of her pocket with careful gentleness and he placed his other hand over her wrist.
She watched as he did so before looking up to see him smiling warmly at her once again as he released her arm and she looked at the floor once more before lowering onto one knee before the Bishop with her head bowed. He crossed her with his waving hand while blessing her. Even with her wavering faith, it made her more at ease for some reason she couldn't explain.
She heard him give out a long sigh. "You are a stubborn on, Selma. A stubborn lamb. But, even in darkness you refuse to kneel to those who doubt you. You are a special lamb. No...not a lamb...an angel..." He waited until she looked up at him after he was quiet for a moment and offered her his wrinkled hands and she took them. "May God watch over you...we all need it." he said softly as she rose to her feet.
"Thank you, Bishop." she replied with her eyes on the floor.
She and Sophie left the cathedral not long after, Selma with an odd-full easement in her stomach, and walked down the street hand-in-hand without saying a word as it started to rain. Selma laid her hooded jacket over Sophie's head to cover her before they continued on.
Selma was 6' 1" with a slender, slight muscular body figure. She had night black hair always in a braid with her bangs parted down the center running down to her cheek bones. Her eyes were a dark emerald with slight overlapping eyelashes. Her face was matured with hard cheek bones and hard triangular jaw. Her skin was a light gray, a side effect of having the mark. Her eyes no longer had normal pupils, they were abnormally dilated.
Sophie was only seven. Healthy thin, round innocent face. Her hair was shoulder length and black like Selma's. Her round eyes were a lighter green and her skin was a healthy Caucasian. She wore a red dress that was long sleeved and knee-length. Her red shoes were still good, still had the soles.
"What did the Bishop say?" she asked as Selma ushered her into the abandoned apartment building they've had to call home.
"Nothing, honey." Selma replied as she entered the building behind her while pulling the door closed before locked all five locks.
Sophie watched as Selma placed a thick metal bar across the door on two hooks. "Did he say anything about next Sunday?"
"No, sweety. He just wanted to talk is all." Selma replied, walking Sophie up the stairs.
Sophie was quiet for a moment before taking her left wrist into her hand. "About this?"
Selma looked down at her as she stopped before slowly pulling upwards to hold her sister's hand. "Yes..."
Sophie continued walking up the stairs with Selma while looking forward. "I wish people would leave us alone."
"You and me both, honey." Selma replied truthfully.