TITLE: Tomorrow's Shadow
GENRE: YA/Light-weight SF
Cold dread coiled in the pit of my stomach as I answered the summons to exam room three. What Dr. Rivers often referred to as last minute lessons, I categorized in the vicinity of torture. Clinical exhaustion, however, didn't stop the rest of my classmates from rushing down the hall, hurrying to be first, or to get it all over with--so eager in their ignorance. The gasps of exclamation made my skin prickle prematurely.
I measured my pace, dragging out the inevitable one small step at a time. Because I didn't want to see behind the curtain. Not again.
A hand at my back propelled me the last few feet, through the door and into the room. And there she was, laid out like death's forgotten plaything, bruised and battered and left for us--a bunch of wannabe doctors--to poke and prod and try to make sense of what, ultimately, had become the greatest mystery of the century.
In the back of my mind I knew of the festering odor, heard the shuffling feet, the gagging; someone ran for the trash can. I felt sick, deep in my heart. But I kept looking, staring. We would take her blood, put it under glass, run a thousand tests, but it wouldn't matter. I couldn't save her.
If I could, I would forget the scene, just wipe it from my mind and pretend it never happened. But her face was already carved into my dreams: the first living case of Shadow sickness I'd ever seen.