And Death Shall Have No Dominion
“And death shall have no dominion.”
I whisper into Elyse’s ear, while my hand reaches for her IV line. The syringe’s needle pierces through the injection port and delivers its payload. A genetically tailored virus crafted by me.
Within a few moments the amber fluid trickles down the hollow tube, to infect Elyse’s body.
Then there’s nothing left for me to do but wait.
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When my tears fall to the ground, I’m not sure whether they’re from sorrow or from happiness. Not that it matters, because the choice has already been made.
So I sit down in the chair next to Elyse’s bed and I hold her hand.
Even without all of the medical paraphernalia that surrounds her, it would be easy enough to feel Elyse’s pulse: weak and irregular.
From my twenty years of experience as a physician, I know that she won’t survive the night. After a lifetime battle with leukemia, Elyse has reached her limit.
Modern medicine can only go so far to delay the inevitable. My single hope rests in the fact that the virus might infect Elyse’s central nervous system before her heart gives out.
It’s a race against time.
Lying helpless on the hospital bed, Elyse’s hair looks darker than the night itself. It reminds me of how beautiful she once was.
After we made love for the first time, Elyse told me that I should read Dylan Thomas. In order to better understand the secrets of the human heart. Yet throughout all of our years together, I never learned to appreciate poetry.
This virus, however, is my love poem to Elyse.
All of a sudden, Elyse’s time runs out. The alarm on her cardiac monitor starts to ring.
A press of the right switch and the sound’s muted. Then I witness the green line on the screen describe Elyse’s agonic heartbeat, going slower and slower, until it finally stops.
Death triggers the process. Cells already infected with the virus begin to convert into their new forms. On a massive scale, throughout the body, the person’s own DNA is rewritten.
But in order for it to work, the virus needs to have crossed the blood-brain barrier.
One minute elapses.
And then three.
I sigh in relief as seizures ravage Elyse’s dead body. Ignited by a renewed spark of life, she sits up on the bed and opens her eyes to stare straight at me. Elyse’s once bright blue irises remain clouded by a veil of haziness.
To transition from being alive to being infected, leads to an enormous amount of loss in DNA information. A small price to pay to defeat death itself.
Without warning, Elyse lunges towards me and hisses. She knocks me out of the chair and crawls on top of my torso, but I refuse to resist.
In her current condition she can’t recognize me. Only the smell of my flesh.
Her teeth graze the side of my neck. A surge of pain shoots through my spine. Yet the bite’s tentative.
Fairytales have plenty of names to describe the creature on top of me: Ghoul, undead, zombie or perhaps even vampire. Reality, however, isn’t quite that black and white.
Elyse’s nails dig into my sides. Her next bite manages to tear out a big chunk of flesh with it and unleash a stream of blood. I scream in pain, but know that my jugular’s still intact.
The more of me Elyse consumes, the more of her former self she regains. With the virus coursing through her veins, the urge to gorge on human DNA drives her every thought.
Once she ingests a certain amount of it, Elyse will have healed herself of the side effects of the transition. Ready for a second chance at life.
I’ve made my choice long ago. Soon, most of the world will have to make one too.
Cured or not, Elyse will always be a carrier for the virus. It’s just a matter of time until everyone becomes infected.
When people realize that death no longer applies, how many will be prepared to become monsters in order to save someone they loved?
Inside of me, something bursts open. Elyse’s hot breath presses against my neck and I realize that her teeth must have finally torn the jugular. The blood loss sends me into shock.
Something changes, Elyse’s tongue quits lapping at my blood. And I feel her kiss me. Before death comes, Elyse whispers into my ear.
It’s nothing more than a murmur among her whimpering, but it sounds like:
“Though lovers be lost love shall not.”