"The metacarpal on the ring and middle finger has been shattered..." I drifted through the room. The year is 1918. Tiny scent particles swirled around me. Blood, morphine, gunpowder.
"The radius is broken in three places and the ulna has shattered ..." The soldier lay on a gurney, his body was that of a boy, yet his eyes testified of too much pain and sorrow for such a young man. He moaned as pain rippled through his body. Doctor Miner stood with the kid's mutilated arm in his steady, skilled hands. His skin was charred, gaping where shrapnel had torn through flesh. Blood seeped into the doctor's crisp white coat, dripping onto the dull wood floor. The gleam has long since been scrubbed away by tired nurses scraping at the lifeblood of the departed. White bones peeked at me through torn flesh and blood. Yellow tendons grasped limply onto shattered calcium.
"Nurse, would you get me some plasma. We will have to amputate." The nurse nodded and scurried away as the soldier moaned his feeble protest. The hospital ward at Camp Funston was littered with fallen men from the War. Moaning in the agony of a lingering death, gasping for those last breaths of life. This was a breeding ground for my kind. The air was warm and moist, thick with the remnants of departed souls.
I floated down closer to the boy as nurse stuck a needle into his arm. I watched as the pale yellow liquid started to flow into the soldier's arm. I could smell the morphine on him. I drifted closer still. The boy's hand was outstretched. The skeleton beneath, reaching, grasping, like a hand from a grave.
As the doctor lowered his blade onto the undamaged flesh of the soldier's arm the boy cried out for his unhearing mother and I allowed myself to be sucked into the kid's lungs. For my name in influenza and I have a pandemic to start.