Jason then opened the jacket of his launcher, and found one shell left unused. “The last one”, he said to himself, “for me to end my business!” He closed the casing and lowered the nozzle down towards the ground near his feet, pressed his eyelids and was about to press the trigger, when…
“Stop for once, darling! Your battle is not yet done.”
The voice seemed familiar. Jason opened his eyes to see. Through the dazzling flames of the burning corpses scattered on the floor like smouldering logs of wood, he saw a feminine figure to approach him. Her body neatly outlined against the fiery background.
“Marianne? Is it you?” he paused to verify himself. Her face shone in the brightness of the flames as she came nearer. Jason was correct. She was wearing the same tough black leather-jacket and black trousers that she wore six years before, when Jason had seen her for the first time at Dr. Berry’s lab. She was tall, smart and young at her mid-twenties; her long hairs, unclipped, curled down on both sides of her placid face reaching quiet beyond her shoulders; and appeared as charming as she did years ago when Jason had felt in his heart that he must fall in love with this lass, if it were at all possible.
“Marianne, why have you come up here? Return back, dear, I need to finish this job fast, there’s no much time left!”
“I’ve come to help you finish your job” Marianne said softly as she walked towards him.
Seeing Marianne advancing near, he hastily stepped backward. “Oh! Stop there! Don’t come closer… don’t try to touch me, you might get infected” he said “and please for heaven’s sake, leave this grim place immediately.”
Marianne didn’t listen and kept on getting nearer towards Jason.
“I’m diseased, stay away!” he shouted at her, “leave me! Listen me!” Jason moved few steps back “I have to end this battle somehow before the pests take total control over my body and turn me a beast. Else everything will turn futile”
“I know”, Marianne calmly nodded her head, “but you need me, and you need to touch me to win your battle”
“Stop talking rubbish! Don’t be obstinate… there’s hardly any time, just go out of this hell…!” Jason shouted. “Marianne, damn girl…! Go out…! Move back…! Leeeeaave!!” he was shouting like a mad man. Frustrated, vexed.
Marianne spoke through his bellows in the same soft and gentle tone, “calm down, my beloved, can’t you see it in my eyes?”
For few seconds there was absolute silence, except the crackles of the burning hides. He glanced carefully at her eyes and discovered a blue tint over the cornea. It was the same blue that he had found in the eyes of little Doris, of Mr. Berry and hundreds of mutant men he met tonight. The same blue his shirt was stained with, the blue of the soiled blood that oozes out of his blisters, and the blue of the dreadful disease.
Marianne lifted her left palm “I am sorry, Jason, I know blue worries you” she rubbed her index with the thumb showing him the remnant mark of her wound. The skin near the faint mark was blue too. “So sweet of Doris, she managed to bite my finger at least”, she smiled impassively.
Jason stood still. Marianne’s words rattled in his ears like thunder! With eyes wide open he just glanced at Marianne’s finger and cornea time and again, through the glaring light of the fires, each time hoping that he would discover himself wrong. He was gravely silent not knowing what to say, or what to do…
Marianne impulsively unzipped the zipper of her coat, removed it off her shoulders, then pulled her hand out of its sleeves and threw it over a nearby burning cadaver. She was wearing a pink below. The flames rapidly gorged on the leather. Jason saw it contract and melt before sooty smoke rose from it up in the air.
“Therefore, you need me to win your battle!” said Marianne. Her voice was even more gentle and composed. She moved her right arm over her head drawing all her silvery locks of hair on the right side, letting them flow down her right shoulder. Her left shoulder and the left side of her neck lay bare. Her fair skin reflected back the brilliance of the dancing flames that encircled them.
“Do not waste your time, Jason, hasten! Kill me quickly.” She sounded brave; as she tilted her head to the right and stared downward waiting patiently for her husband to bite her neck on its well-exposed left side, and finish the last carrier of the disease to win this battle tonight…
“I had never been a good husband to you, Mari…” Jason looked bitter, “I’m sorry… I had always kept myself preoccupied with my studies, never trying to give you a company. Whenever I spoke I spoke about biology… never being compassionate to your feelings… you were lonely and I, who must be blamed for that.”
He felt a jerk in her head. A current of electricity seemed to pass through his cerebrum, which rushed down the medulla and spine. The bloody pests have attacked his brain, and soon they would take control over his entire body machinery, turning him into a beast. There was no much time left, he understood.
“Aargh…!” he felt a deep pain over his schniderian membrane. Marianne was standing before him, still like a doll. Her head tilted left, eyes staring downward and the left side of her neck uncovered waiting for his deadly bite.
Jason continued in repentance, “But, have mercy on me, Marianne! I can’t bear such a harsh punishment… I can kill myself, but I can’t prey over my sweetheart!” He placed his left arm over her shoulder, “My wife, spare me…, for though I rarely seemed, I love you still.”
“Just an inch less than your biology”, Marianne looked upward as she broke her silence.
“Hey!” Jason laughed departing suddenly from the graveness surrounding them, “Trying to tease me”, he laughed again. For the first time in the last six years, she was seeing that kind of laughter again on her lover’s face. It was without any pretence, without any restriction and bit romantic, bit childish! The last one of similar kind, she remembered, she saw at Dr. Berry’s laboratory when their relationship had just began.
“How can I, see my soldier’s brave sacrifice go in vain…? I can’t leave him alone after all, battling it out all by himself. I wish to be your companion, Jason, in all your affairs… for I love you too!” Marianne said. “And I will love to meet death, if it comes from my lover!”
Jason relaxed and glanced at her eyes. He saw the reflection of the flames on her dark pupil, twinkle like stars in midnight and the strange bluishness didn’t make him feel worried, instead they seemed like the azure of the endless sea. Marianne too was staring at her husband’s eyes. There wasn’t any blink. She felt her heart beating hard, and it was not fear, nor excitement but a strange feeling —a sense of joy like that of a bubbly river, which after wandering miles in search of rest was now nearing its mouth to have an endless rest on the lap of the unbound ocean. They came close, more close, their lips –even more close and finally the faintest gap between them disappeared in a strange union. Union that promised rejuvenation, a renewal, a beginning –all from first!
Jason then grasped Marianne’s long hairs by his left hand and pulled her head back. Her lips were quivering and her eyes were shut, not daring to look up at the man standing before. She can’t bear to see him in that state. She knew that her Jason was not ‘her Jason’ any more. The pests have taken total control over his brain. They have turned him into a beast, a virus! A drop of tear flowed down her cheek from the corner of her eye. But her heart was still brave.
The beast opened his mouth wide and placed it down on Marianne’s neck, sinking the canines into her soft skin. Marianne wriggled, and the beast pressed his jaws harder, burying the teeth deep into her flesh, injuring the arteries supplying her brain. His saliva that too carried his germs started infecting Marianne’s cells. Marianne was also a mutant, but of a different kind. The foreign invaders started a cascade of processes in her body. Her blood cells ruptured, her veins burst. She squeaked in pain and the beast pressed his jaws even harder. Marianne felt a cold stream of her blood to run down her neck over her back, warmed by the fire around. It was not exactly blue, but crimson for she was in the incubation period. The beast shook his head, while holding hard on her flesh by his teeth. Marianne yelled and writhed, she felt the pain run up through her nerves to her brain. Her eyelids were pressed tight. She felt dizzy. But the beast had no pity. He wasn’t Jason any more, and the girl he was predating upon was not Marianne to him, just a host.
She clasped the beast’s right arm in pain. His skin was rough and scaly with rashes all over and vestiges of dried blisters. He was still holding the launcher, his finger placed on its trigger and its nozzle still facing the floor. The beast then slackened his jaws and pulled his teeth out of her skin, letting a gush of blood flow out of the gaping wound. Crimson blood also dripped from his mouth. Marianne panted, her pulse were growing fainter. The beast breathed deep and then nipped her neck again, right at the fresh wound. Marianne strengthened her grip out of that unbearable pain, her sharp fingers piercing his arm like thorns. That caused the beast to draw his arm away in reflex, and the trigger got pressed.
The shell hit the floor and the next moment there was a big explosion. The beast and Marianne’s body were blown up into several pieces that lay scattered around like burning charcoal among the other burning copses. The battle was over! All the carriers of the disease were finished. All the germs they contained were killed.
The nature operates according to some rules, which must not be challenged or altered; else the result can be catastrophic. These rules have evolved through a complex process of constant evolution. Every organism thus has its own way to fight against all odds to.