Something inside her snapped. She turned, intending on dying with her brother and ending it all. Hands reached out of the darkness and pulled her through into another room. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” Ragged looking men and women glared at her, weapons pointed in her direction.
“My name is Ari,” Ari said, her voice catching. “I was looking for somewhere for us to hide.” Tears flowed freely down her face. “That was my twin brother that just got shot.”
“Ari Snyder?” A woman dressed in well-worn nurse’s scrubs came forward. “I don’t know, it’s been a while, but do you recognize me?”
Ari stared into the woman’s face. “Ruthie Hansen,” she said finally. “You were my sister Kloiee’s best friend at nursing school.”
“Wait, this is that bastard Malkim’s daughter?” a middle aged woman demanded. She pushed Ari back a little. “We should let the security patrol take her then. She and her plague rat brother brought the disease here and killed my babies.”
“No we didn’t. The disease was here before us. My brother was in the advanced stages. Alavedo Syndrome is only contagious in the early stages,” Ari snapped.
“How do we know that?” the woman persisted. “I mean, no one’s been able to isolate how it’s even spread.”
“Yes they did. The disease now known as the Alavedo Syndrome is passed through the air, much like the more virulent strains of the influenza virus in the twentieth century,” Ari said. “Alavedo Syndrome is actually a mutated variation on a viral strain that swept through the United States in the early twenty first century, killing hundreds of children and elderly, and crippling otherwise healthy adults.”
“How do you know that?” someone else asked.
“Her father was an epidemiologist,” Ruthie said. “He taught classes in disease prevention for the pre-med and nursing students at all of the major universities. He and his wife were very popular speakers on the lecture circuit when I was still in school.” Ruthie put a hand on Ari’s shoulder. “Your parents were very remarkable people.”