"We'll get...we'll get out-" My hand shot to my chest and I held it tightly. Sweat ran down my forehead and in an instant my world was turning upside down. Joseph's face became a blur. All their words sounded like a high pitch buzz. But nothing was worse than the heat my skin was giving off. The cell was now an oven and I was the only one being cooked for dinner. I dropped to my knees when cramps took over every muscle in my body. Muscles I didn't know I had started to twist and tighten. My eyes started to roll back into my head and as much as I wanted to scream out in pain, to let them get some kind of idea what bone breaking agony I was in, I couldn't. The words were trapped in my throat. All I could do was moaning.
Joseph rushed over to my side, his dirty black dress pants, dragged along the floor as he slid on his knees to me. "Damn, it!" He shouted and tilted my head back, cupping my cheeks in his hand. "Roll that sheet up," Joseph demanded.
"What's wrong with her?" Ruby asked frantically. I couldn't see her, but I could tell she was afraid. Fear was a tone that couldn't be hidden well, it would always push or peek it's way out, making itself known to the world. Ruby's fear caused her voice to drop low, like a haunting whisper.
"Roll up the fucking sheet!" Joseph hollered. Ruby quickly grabbed the bed sheet and started rolling it up as tightly as she could, then she rushed over to Joseph, who stanched the fabric out of Ruby's hands. "It's alright Jess, just hang in there..." Joseph said before pushing the rolled up sheet in my mouth, keeping my teeth from doing me any harm.
Ruby stared down at what must have been a horror show. A doctor, or whatever Joseph was, trying his hardest to save a one-armed woman. Then like a light switch, it finally clicked in Ruby's mind, "She' infected," Ruby said shooting a judgmental finger at me, "She's fucking infected," Ruby shouted and then she ran to the cell door. "Lamar! Lamar!" Ruby screamed into the empty cell block. If I wasn't twitching and turning on my death bed, I would have felt extremely betrayed. I thought me and Ruby were really starting to connect, maybe not braiding each other's hair and trading beauty tips, but I was pretty sure we were both in the same boat, the 'let's get our motherfucking asses out of here' boat. I was wrong, much like with every other choice I've made since the outbreak, this one was gonna bite me in my ass too.
Joseph sprung to his feet and grabbed Ruby by her shoulders, pulling her back from the bars. He spun her around and his hand went over her mouth, "Stop that, you can't just go around screaming shit like that," Joseph said softly. Their eyes locked and Joseph held Ruby's month tightly, "That word is a death sentence, don't ever say it again, do you understand?" Joseph asked. It took a moment, but Ruby nodded and his hand slowly started to lower from Ruby's lips. "She's gonna be okay, I'm helping her,"
"Like you helped that pregnant lady?" Ruby asked.
"That was different, she was bit, there was no way to get it out of her system," Joseph said while turning his head back to look at me. "I removed the infection from Jess. She's twenty-four hours into the forty-eight-hour window. She still has a day to pull through, and this is the first sign of the virus I've seen," Joseph replied.
"That two-day thing is a fucking lie," Ruby said.
"It's not. Some people can turn faster but if a person hasn't turned within-"
"I heard the fucking news broadcast, just like everyone else. Doesn't mean they were telling the truth." Ruby said. she leaned back on the bars and stared at me, "This is fucked up," she said.
"She has twenty-four more hours. Just give her a day, if she doesn't beat this, then I'll put her down myself." Joseph said.
"You want me to sit in here with a ticking time bomb?" Ruby asked.
"Yeah, because you owe us," Joseph said.