A/N: Hey everyone! It's been a while. ^^; This is the first version of something that I wrote about a year ago for my creative writing class, hence why it's kinda short. A lot of my classmates had asked if I would be continuing it, and honestly, I'm not sure if I will. I'm not all that great at long stories... one-shots are my thing, you know? But if this gets a lot of love from you guys, I just may consider making something more out of this! Haha, just throwing that out there. ;) Either way, though, please enjoy!
This is my edited re-write. What my professor had us do is after we read our story to the class and got feedback, we use that feedback and revamp our story. Then, we turn it in for the final grade. Enjoy!
"Okay, Mrs. Thorton. Let's go through the checklist now. What did you have for breakfast yesterday?" I ask my appointment for the hour.
"Well, I had a plate of pancakes. I don't remember if I had syrup with them, but I'm pretty sure I had a cup of orange juice," she hesitantly answers.
"And for lunch?"
"Um... I believe I had a club sandwich?" She seems to be struggling to think now.
"Okay, good. Now, can you remember if you spoke to anyone between breakfast and lunch?"
"I don't think I did... Wait! I think... I spoke with my son? Do I have a son?" The confusion is fully apparent now.
"No, Mrs. Thorton. You don't have a son. Do you still remember my name?" If she can't answer this question, then we've lost yet another one.
"...Who is Mrs. Thorton?" She's gone.
"Thank you. If you'll follow this nice man out, we'll set you up with a room in our facility." I walk out of the office as one of our remaining security guards head toward Mrs. Thorton. I just wish we could have done more for her. With a heavy heart, I make my way towards the lobby.
This has been happening for the last few years. The disease struck like a snake in the desert; unseen, deadly, and leaving its victim helpless to suffer. All of my patients have the same progress: once they've contracted the disease, the effects are immediate. There are no precautionary symptoms nor will they know where they could have contracted it. The origins of this ghastly disease are unknown as well. It just strikes when and whom it pleases. We're still struggling to figure out the cure... if there even is one.
From what we've seen, we've determined that it's a neurological disease. It focuses primarily on memory, whether it affects short-term or long-term memories varies from case to case, and there has yet to be any identifiable common factor. Male or female, regardless of age, will suffer the same fate in the same way. From bi-monthly reports made by colleagues, we estimate about just over half of the entire world's population has succumbed to the disease. Some days, they remember brief snippets of their lives. Other days, they're lucky to be able to remember their own names.
Mankind's societal structure has essentially fallen. Half of the government is trying their hardest to execute damage control and find funding for our attempts at a cure while the other half can barely remember where they are. The few of us in the scientific community that have yet to contract the disease are working test after test to figure out why we take longer to contract it because one thing is true: no one is truly safe from this monstrosity. Our numbers are slowly, but gradually dwindling.
We've managed to work out a primitive process of tracking the disease's progress. Those left that have yet to succumb to the memory loss must go through daily check-lists for the day before. What we had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as who we talked to throughout the day and the places we went. If any hesitation is met when answering these questions, we take precautionary measures to ensure that we retain as much as we can until it's out of our hands. We try not to take people out of familiar environments for fear that unknown situations could act as a catalyst and trigger spontaneous memory loss when the effort to adjust to the change becomes too strenuous.
The only thing we can really do is hope that we'll make a breakthrough. Otherwise, we're just stuck with this stupid checklist.
As I enter the lobby of the hospital, I see Jake working the counter for the night. Hearing my approach, he looks up and greets me with worried eyes, "Hey, Sarge. How are you holding up?"
Smiling, I respond regretfully, "I'm making do. We lost another one today."
His expression dims noticeably as he asks with a subdued tone, "Who was it today?"
"No!" Jake gasped, "She was such a nice woman! Mr. Thorton is going to be heartbroken..." Jake used to help Mrs. Thorton with her groceries every other week or so since they were neighbors before the disease struck. Mr. Thorton so far shows no degeneration of progress and I can't help but sympathize with him when he finds out about his dear wife. They truly love each other... or would it be loved at this point?
"I'm going to have to tell him tomorrow. At the moment, Mrs. Thorton is settling into one of our monitored rooms for the night." We have rooms set up throughout the facility so we can monitor the recent victims and determine how extreme the disease is, as well as administer any help they may need with the psychological stress the effects bring. "Could you see to it that I'm informed immediately of any disturbances? I'm heading home now; I'm done for the day."
"Sure thing, Sarge. I got headquarters for the night; go get some R&R at home. You deserve it after today." Jake has always fancied military talk. I believe when he was a child, he aspired to be part of the marines, but somewhere along the way, gave up and became a nurse instead. I've always enjoyed his humor and manner of speech; it was refreshing. I hope he'll be one of the ones to see the future if we can procure a cure.
Stepping into my apartment, I drop off my bags on the floor, too tired to bother with putting them neatly in their respective places. I hang my coat up and drop my keys on the counter. Settling down on the couch once I've got a cup of hot cocoa in my hands, I decide it's time to go through my own checklist for the day.
"Okay," I begin with a sigh, "Yesterday's breakfast consisted of... bacon, scrambled eggs, and some toast at Denny's. I had... a glass of orange juice, as well. After breakfast, I headed over to the hospital."
A dull throb began in the back of my head.
"Marianne was at the check-in counter for the morning, and we talked a bit about the happenings from the night previous."
The throb began to grow insistent.
"I made my rounds, and settled in my office for a few appointments before breaking for lunch..."
It now became a semi-painful pounding throughout my entire skull. I set my cocoa down, making my way to grab some Tylenol from the bathroom.
"For lunch... I had... a rice bowl."
Looking into the mirror, I see my face contort to one of confusion.