I dread the moment when Cody and I have to get up, when we have to stand and face the rest of the world. The heat of his shoulder radiates through my arm, where I’m leaning on him, even through all of his protective gear and coverings. My entire body is throbbing, and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears, but overall, I’m okay. I know I’m going to be okay.
The antidote starting working quickly, which is a great sign. When we head out to help, we won’t have to worry about sticking around to check if the antidote will work for everyone, and we also won’t have to worry about them being surrounded, as there are immunity boosters.
The plan is running through my head at full speed, as well as all of the miniscule memories continuously flooding back. The tiny, minute details are returning now, like being in first grade or what my best friend’s favorite color was. Nothing that would matter originally, but now they matter more than ever - it means that I’m cured.
Cody eventually sighs after a long while and stretches out a bit. “You think you can walk?” he asks me, concerned. I nod and twist my body, my legs hanging off of the bed. I grip the covers tightly, preparing myself to stand.
I’m not sure if the weight on my legs will be too painful, but I know I just have to grit my teeth and get through it. I push off of the bed and land gingerly on my feet.
Pain shoots immediately up to my knee. I almost buckle but Cody catches my arms, helping me back up. I regain my balance and take a small step. It still hurts incredibly, but it’s weakening. Already, I can feel strength returning to my body. Minutes ago I was unable to move more than my fingers.
“Okay, I need your help for a bit before we head out. We need to mix a few more vials of the antidotes, but that won’t take too long. Teddy and Mike can mix while we’re out, too, but we need a few to get us started.” Cody babbles, almost to himself. “And we need to collect all of the ingredients on hand here at the hospital.” Then he turns to me, noticing again that I’m here. “Can you help either collect or mix? If it hurts too much, just go make some vials of the antidote. What do you think?”
I ponder the question for a while. I don’t want to hurt myself too much, considering I’ll have to help outside of the hospital as well. Finally, I tell him, “I’ll work on mixing.”
He nods. “That’s what I thought. I’ll have Mike help you, and maybe Teddy. Miles and I are going to go collect some supplies. Then we’ll get going. Alright?”
“Yeah, sounds good,” I groan, an ache forming in my side. I clutch at it, continuing to walk towards the door.
Cody opens the door for me with a creak. I am greeted with cheers, and Teddy is hugging my legs. I wince, but smile. Dad pulls him off of me and hugs me carefully.
In my ear he whispers, “Are you okay? We knew you’d make it out of there.” I can feel my cheeks burning and my eyes start to well up, but I blink and clear my eyes. No crying, not now - I’m still rock-hard.
“Dad, Ted, want to help me make a few more antidotes, then we can head out and start curing a few people?” I ask, looking to Cody for approval. He nods slowly, closing his eyes.
Teddy cries, “Yeah!” and jumps up and down, clapping his hands. I bend down with a moan, leaning on my toes, and hug him tightly. “You’re okay, Ebony. I’m so happy you’re okay.” he tells me, his high-pitched voice right in my ear. I breathe out in a shallow chuckle.
“I’ll help out, Eb,” my dad states. “Miles, Cody, what are you two doing?” he inquires, interested.
“We’re going to go collect some supplies from around the hospital for the antidotes. I know what sorts of things we’ll need to make more, and we’ll bring them to you guys. Once we’ve done a clean sweep, then we’ll get a move on, go head out.” Cody describes. Everyone nods except for me - I stand up slowly, taking a deep breath and trying to ignore the pain.
“Ebony, there should be my notebook in the room I was researching in. All of the ingredients I have are labeled, and it says what you need to add, when, and the quantities. Just follow those instructions, you’ll be fine. Miles and I will go get more supplies.” Cody acknowledges.
Miles and Cody exchange glances, then head down the hallway, further than any of us have gone. At least that I can remember, anyway.
They both have their knives out, risen up to their heads, as they round the corner cautiously. They’re on their feet, ready to spring into action or run away if necessary.
I watch them round the corner and wait until they’re out of sight, listening for their fading footsteps. Then, once all signs of them are gone, I turn slowly back to my family.
“Cody said the instructions are in that room. We should go get started, and then we’ll be able to go outside and help all of the Infecteds. They’ll be alright, like me. Okay, Teddy?” I comfort him. He nods with his cute little smile and I rub his head, limping towards the room Cody had been studying in.
The room is set up extremely neatly, much neater than it had been when we arrived. The vials and chemicals were arranged alphabetically, none of them misplaced. I enjoyed the sight of it.
The blue notebook was sitting on the lab table in the middle of the room. I pick it up carefully, turning it over in my fingers. I use only my fingertips to handle it, not wanting to damage it or smudge it or do anything to it at all. It’s been loved, I can see - everything is perfectly straight, lined up on the page. Sometimes the writing will be more rushed, but it still is perfectly executed.
I flip to the last page that’s been written on, and sure enough, it holds the instructions to the antidotes. I hold it up to show it to my dad and brother.
Walking towards where they are both standing, I state excitedly, “Let’s get started.”