TITLE: Tomorrow's Shadow
I knew what waited behind the curtain in exam room three. Dread coiled up inside me and made my feet heavy. Each step took a deliberate effort. Around me my classmates rushed down the hall, eager to be first or get it all over with. I envied their ignorance. They arrived one and two at a time, gasping exclamations, moaning disgust. My skin prickled. Dr. Rivers’ last minute lesson would be torture.
As if summoned by my thoughts, my teacher’s hand landed at the center of my back, propelling me those last few steps through the door and into the room. And there she was. The victim. Laid out like death’s forgotten plaything, all bruised and battered and barely alive. Left for us, a bunch of teen-aged wannabe doctors and scientists, to poke and prod and try to make sense of it all.
In the back of my mind I knew of the festering odor, heard the shuffling feet, the gagging; someone ran for the trash can. Deep in my heart it made me sick too, 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.
I wanted to forget the scene, just wipe it from my mind and pretend it never happened. Only I couldn’t. Her face was already carved into my dreams: my first living case of Shadow Disease.
The sharp sound of my name brought me back to the exam room.