This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!
Prologue ~ Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~
“Kairavini, you should not be in here,” the medical technician said sternly.
It was late at night and he’d nodded off to sleep in the chair he was sitting in beside his sister’s bed. Sneaking through the corridors at night was nothing new to him; sneaking through the corridors with a purpose in mind was.
They had not allowed him to accompany Nereida from the dining hall, and he’d had no contact with her mind to mind since she fainted at the table. He was terrified for her, and had snuck into the infirmary as soon as the first bed check was made.
He looked up at the technician mutely, white-faced and shaken.
“It is not the tespiro,” she said, a little more kindly. “It’s merely a virus.”
“B-b-but she’s not waking up. A virus wouldn’t do that, would it?”
“This particular one does. It’s been making the rounds of the children in the town; now that one of you is down with it I suspect the rest of you will be getting it as well. Dr. Arjun is not going to like this.”
His eyes widened slightly at her mention of the town. No one ever mentioned life outside the compound, it wasn’t tolerated. For all intents and purposes, there was no life outside the compound.
“Will she be all right?” he whispered.
“She’ll be fine in a day or two. Now you need to go back to your dorm. And Kairavini,” she added as he turned to go, “You’ve got to start working on letting go of your family ties. It will only cause you trouble.”
With one last look at Nereida looking so small and frail in the stark white bed, Ravi went back the way he’d come, sneaking past the sentry at the door to the boys dormitory. Luck was with him and he was just easing back into his bed when the attendant arrived to do the second nightly bed check.
The next morning the students were buzzing with speculation. Three more had been taken ill during the night and were in the infirmary with Nereida. Rumours, from early onset of tespiro to a new type of lethal plague, were flying fast an furious. The rest of the children were confined to the dormitories until the medical staff could ascertain how widespread the virus was.
Symptoms included dizziness and disorientation, right before the patient passed out. It appeared to affect only the children, not the adults, and so the next day the classes resumed.
If there was more chatter than usual in the classroom, the teacher overlooked it. He was looking rather haggard himself, and was late to class. Rather than start something new, he declared they’d spend their time reviewing what they’d been studying over the last several weeks.
Ravi was feeling utterly lost. The silence in his head was almost unbearable. How did the others live this way?
Because they don’t know what they’re missing, said a voice in his head. Weak, but definitely there.
Ravi sat up straight in his seat, earning him a glare from the teacher. Nereida? Is that really you?
Well who else would it be?
Your voice sounds fuzzy, like it’s wrapped in packing. How are you feeling?
He could feel the strain even trying to talk mind to mind was putting on her. You should rest, build up your strength again.
Don’t think I’ve got much choice. The medicine they gave me makes me sleepy. Tastes real bad too.
Ravi smiled, both on his face and in his mind. Sleep well sister, and be well.
“Kairavini! What are you grinning about?”
“Then I suggest you pay attention to this review. There will be a test on it at the end of the week.”