I don’t have a lot of time, so I’m going to have to make this quick.
This all started around two weeks ago. I was brushing my teeth normally one night when I started to feel a strange ache in the back of my throat. Sort of like the feeling you get at the start of a bad cold, except it came on more suddenly. Slightly concerned, I spat my toothpaste out and tried my best to get a look back there to see if there was any irritation. I had a bit of trouble getting a good look until I used my tooth brush as a makeshift tongue-depressor. I tilted my head back at just the right angle so that the bathroom light fixture would shine its weak light down there.
There was…something sticking out of my throat, just behind my uvula. It was thin and stringy, only about a millimeter or two wide. I thought maybe a bit of spaghetti or something had just gotten stuck back there, until I remembered that I hadn’t had any pasta in over a week.
Then I saw it wriggle.
I felt a sickening chill run down my spine. I snatched up a pair of tweezers off of the edge of the sink, nearly gagging in my haste to shove it down my throat. It took a few tries, as the thing was squirming like crazy at this point, but I finally managed to get a hold of it. As I started to pull it out, I felt an odd tugging feeling at the flesh of my throat. There was no pain, strangely enough, just an odd feeling of pleasant release.
That feeling quickly left me as the last bit of it came loose and brushed against my lips on its way out. I nearly vomited at that, tossing the tweezers and whatever it was that I had just pulled out of my throat into the sink. Not really wanting to look at it, but compelled by a sick curiosity, I examined the thing I had just tossed into the sink.
It was some sort of strange worm. It was about 4-5 inches in length, and had a oddly pale body that was segmented like an earthworm. On one end it tapered off to a point like one would expect, but on the other it had a pair of razor sharp pincers, almost like a centipede. It struggled aimlessly, thrashing weakly back and forth in the sink in an attempt to gain purchase on the slippery ceramic. Trying it’s best to escape.
On an impulse I looked back into my throat, where I had pulled the thing loose from. Where it had once hung there was nothing but an odd hole. There was no bleeding or pain or anything like that. It was just there, quivering slightly around the edges.
Obviously, I went straight to the hospital.
I hadn’t been to see any sort of doctor in years. Less because of any sort of distrust of traditional medicine or anything like that, and more out of necessity. I didn’t have any sort of health insurance, and couldn’t afford regular check-ups out-of-pocket. I had nothing in the way of medical history with the hospital or a primary care physician for them to check with. I expected to wait for quite a while, but when they heard the apparent cause of my issue they quickly rushed me in to see a doctor.
They took a few x-rays and then ran me through an MRI first. No one would say anything to me about what they were finding; they just told me they “needed to run a few more tests”. Eventually, they just left me in an empty examination room and told me to wait there while they sorted out my results. The whole thing had me incredibly on edge, especially since they wouldn’t say anything to me about what was going on. This only got worse as time went on, and I ended up waiting in that room for a couple of hours. The whole wing I was in was dead silent, as if I was the only one there. I was about to get up and go find someone to ask what was taking so long, before I heard the footsteps of several people headed down the hall. Assuming that they were here for me, and hoping that it was good news, I waited patiently.
I certainly wasn’t expecting several men in full hazmat gear to bust in through the door.
I struggled, of course. I mean, who wouldn’t? However they must have got me with a sedative or something because, next thing I knew, I woke up in a plain white, sterile hospital room. This is where I’ve been ever since.
They haven’t told me where I am yet for security reasons, but I assume that I’m probably in a containment room as a CDC facility, or something like that. It hasn’t been so bad, being confined here and all. They’ve generally been pleasant with me, and haven’t been overly rough, provided I cooperate. They even let me have this computer that I’m using now, though my internet use is monitored and I’m not allowed to communicate with anyone.
They’ve been running a bunch of tests, takings samples, and trying different treatments on me. They wouldn’t tell me any exact details, just that I had a new type of parasite and they were trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. I didn’t question it too much, and just hoped they had my best interests at heart. It wasn’t like I had much choice in the matter, either way.
And that leads us to today.
Today was different. There were no tests, no scans, and no strange medicines. They just gave me my breakfast and left me to my own devices. I didn’t mind, of course. I’ve been feeling especially fatigued lately, and I appreciated the time to just relax. Eventually, a man came to talk with me, just before noon. He wasn’t wearing the usual hazmat gear, just some jeans, a t-shirt, and a lab coat. He sat with me, and gave me the basic rundown of what’s been going on.
Turns out, nothing they’ve done so far has been able to help. The worms have spread through nearly my entire body, and there are no signs of them ever stopping. Frankly the doctors are surprised I’m not dead, or screaming in pain at the very least, as little buggers have managed to burrow their way through and into just about everything below my neck. They seem to be maintaining my basic body functions for whatever reason.
Apparently I’m not an isolated case, and I’m just the first of many. The doctors think that some of the eggs must have gotten out, through me, and into the water supply. They seem to be resistant to traditional water treatment methods. Obviously isn’t a good sign, especially for a big city like mine. Cases started popping up here and there the day after I was admitted here.
As for why I’m being allowed to write this? Well, the reason is a bit grim.
According to the doctors, the worms are about to reach my brain. None of them know exactly what’s going to happen when they do, but they figure it can’t be good. Even as I type this, I feel a strange, itchy sensation moving its way up the back of my neck. The same sensation I’ve been occasionally feeling all over my body for the past few days. They’re hoping that last “letter” of mine, or whatever you want to call it, will help spread awareness of what’s to come. They can’t contain it anymore. They can only hope to minimize how far it spreads and control the panic that’s sure to ensue in the coming months. I probably won’t be alive to see what happens now, but I wish you all the best. Please get yourself checked out as soon as you can.
My name is Kate Michelson. Soon, you’ll all come to know me as Patient Zero.
I’m so sorry.