Human Touch | Chapter 1

Exhausted, the woman picked up the crying new-born and cradled the baby in her arms. The bangs on the door were getting louder and she could hear the wood splintering. She smiled down at the precious child and analysed the features. She could see him in the deep brown eyes and memories flooded back to her, only to be torn away with a sudden crash. The door flew open and a couple of bellboys stumbled in.
Behind them a shout could be heard.
"WHAT is going on in here?!"
The source of the cry stormed into the little motel room, crowded by a huddle of anxious staff members. He took one look at the bloodied bed sheets, the naked baby, and the pale mother who had not yet lifted her gaze from the child's face, and he took a deep breath, sucking all the life out of the air.
The rest of the staff stood tense, struck silent by the scene before them but the manager held a composed look on his face.
"If you had simply told us you were going to give birth, we would have been quite happy to transport you to the nearest hospital," he calmly uttered - a hint of weariness hidden in his otherwise authoritative tone of voice.
Belatedly, the woman looked up, as if only just noticing the group, crammed in the room and peering through the gap where the door once stood. She finally allowed herself to take in the immensity of the situation and broke down into a series of gasps and wails.
The manager looked embarrassed by her reaction and quickly turned to the staff, whose eyes were riveted on the poor woman and her child. He ushered them out the room and turned back to close the door, only to find his hand grasping for thin air. He frowned at the splinters of wood strewn across the floor, as if cursing their existence - that would cost him more money he didn't have - and marched away down the shabby corridors, followed by echoes of the woman's cries.

The war had taken it's toll on everybody, and although a year had passed since it's end, America was still fighting. This time, however, the enemy was within their country. A plague had struck the states and was slowly conquering the US and the rest of the world. As planes and modern transport speeded up the process and enabled the disease to attack other countries, scientists fought desperately to keep it at bay.
The president's board room was hot with debate and accusations flew as officers and generals made their case.
"You told me that this wasn't possible!" The Secretary of Defence slammed his fist onto the polished oak table. His top scientist turned away from him, sighing, and repeated what he had already said.
"I told you, Sir, the tests we ran clearly showed that the virus would die in the blood stream twenty-four hours after taking effect."
"Well then, please, explain to me why this is showing on the front of every newspaper in every country in the world," the Secretary pushed the newspaper that had since occupied the centre of the table towards the scientist. He did not turn around, he had already read the article several times: Unknown Disease Claims More Victims.
Another official spoke up, "I'm sorry to interrupt this little chit-chat but until we know how to deal with this, China has the advantage over us. They know what this is, and now there is nothing stopping them from spilling."
All heads turned towards the speaker as they took in the reality of what he was the saying. Whispers broke out to marvel at the effect this could have on the public. Widespread panic. Riots across the states. Or worse, another war.
Suddenly, the room went quiet as the President's Personal Secretary rushed in. Her panicked eyes explored the faces until she made eye contact with the President - who had been quietly monitoring the previous conversation.
"S-s-s-sir," she stammered. "China, they've leaked everything. It's all over the news."
More than a year back, American scientists finally finished the tests for a drug that would give them the upper hand in the war. Casualties were high, and the US were low on supplies and men. Furthermore, the Southern states had been wrecked from countless bombings.
A new batch of spies were sent into the lab. They were all given the injections and briefed on their mission.
"You have 10 days before the drug takes effect," the officer scowled at the young men. As the casualties were increasing, they couldn't afford to be choosy and these boys hadn't had nearly enough training or experience to confidently assign them to such a task as this. Pushing down his anxieties, the officer continued.
"After one week, you will be dropped into enemy territory and you will get yourself as close to the Chinese officials as possible. Three days after that, the drug will kick in, and you will become walking, talking pathogens. You will transfer the virus to anyone you touch and they will die within seconds of contact with you. This ability will last exactly twenty four hours. I repeat, twenty four hours... That means you have one day to do as much damage as possible and get out. Have I made myself clear?"
"Yes, Sir!" the men shouted in unison before departing for further instruction at the training camp.
Samuel glared into the eyes of his captor. According to his calculations, he was minutes away from activation and exactly where he wanted to be. The Chinese Emperor paced in front of him, a grin plastered on his face.
"I can see America is short of men," he stopped in front of Samuel - who was in chains and bleeding - and laughed to himself. "You're making it too easy... Tell me again why you're here?"
"To kill you." Samuel spat at him, leaving a blemish on the Chinese Rulers' polished shoes.
One of the men standing beside Samuel dealt a blow to his jaw.
Outraged by his act of rudeness, the Emperor grabbed Samuel, crushing his throat to suffocate him.
As Samuel struggled for breath, he counted down the seconds left.
5... 4...
"This should teach you..."
"...not to disrespect..."
"...your elders!"
Samuel felt his body shake violently as it begged for air.
He began to feel light-headed and his eyesight began to fade.
Suddenly, a pained expression crossed over the Emperor's face and his grip loosened.
Samuel gasped for air and watched, mesmerised, as the Emperor struggled on the floor, foaming at the mouth, the skin around his hand raw and red. Then, seconds later, his movement ceased.
The journey home had been one of celebration. More than 40 of the 50 men who had taken part in the operation had survived and found their way to the site of departure. Almost all of them had success stories to tell. However, no one could quite match Samuel, and even the officers were impressed by the young man's achievements. But he could not focus on the accomplishments of the team. Instead, Samuel looked forward to their landing, because he know Martha would be waiting for him. They would have three precious months left together before his family would be expecting him home.
It was just how he pictured it. He walked into the arrivals waiting area in the small airport and easily spotted Martha. Their flight from base camp had been delayed due to a long de-briefing session and Martha had settled down in a coffee shop, captivated by the newspaper she was reading. He quietly approached and stood behind her. Feeling somebody's presence, Martha turned in her chair abruptly, looked into Samuel's deep brown eyes and rose, almost in a trance, to be met with a tight embrace.
The next three months were filled with passion but Martha was relentlessly haunted by what she knew lay ahead. As border controls continued to tighten and migration between states became close to impossible, she understood that these three months would not last, and Samuel would soon be obliged to return to his home and family.



Ehtisham Hussain said...

It was very interesting and I liked the flow of the story. Waiting for part 2.

Unknown said...

@EhtishamHussain: Thank you :) Part 2 will be online later today ^_^

Unknown said...

Great story. Looking forward to Part 2.

Unknown said...

@RobertPrice: Thanks, means a lot :)

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