Sunday, June 12, 2011

An idea: The sad death of Eric Lee

Just an idea for the beginning of an odd plague. The first victim would be one Eric Lee, not because he deserved to die but was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Eric Lee was a college student. Bright, eager and driven to succeed. He was earning both credit and much needed money working with some scientists on a project. It wasn't a glamorous project, it wasn't the cure to cancer or anything. The scientists were working hard to increase the yield from fermentation.  No different from thousands of such projects done all over the world.  Thus we gather our knowledge slowly.

That fateful night Lee didn't even feel the small cut he got off a petri dish as he was putting them in a sterilizer.  He wouldn't even realize he had the small cut till hours later at his dorm where its origin would be a mystery.  He would put some bactine on it and a band aid and call it a day.

Too bad it was already too late.

No one at the time knew that in that petri dish some of the yeast mutated to an extraordinary degree.  No one knew because there was no chance for the yeast to manifest its new ability in the carefully controlled environment that was crafted for it.  Like the other yeasts it greedily ate sugar and excreted alcohol.  Now though, the mutant strain was in Eric's blood.  A place where it should not thrive, but indeed it did.  It began greedily to convert protein into alcohol.

And it grew.

Later that night Lee woke up dazed and confused.  He knew something was wrong but he couldn't say quite what.  Despite being a college student Lee had never been drunk before in his life.  He managed to lurch to the infirmary.  Unfortunately, the doctors there did have experience with drunken students.  They ignored Lee's instance that he had not been drinking and sent him home. 

The yeast was growing faster within Eric Lee.  His body defenses could not handle the one two punch of an unfamiliar invader and the alcohol which was acting as a miniature chemical weapon to Lee's immune response.  His body was trying to process the the alcohol as fast as it could, but it was a losing battle.  Along with the effects of the alcohol in his blood stream, Lee was also getting a fever.  The combination was making him delirious. 

Trying to get back into the infirmary he attacked a security guard.  The guard put him down and took him to town police where he was put in the drunk tank.  No one would listen to him.  Eventually he stopped talking.  At 4:30 am, Eric Lee died of alcohol poisoning.  He was survived by his parents (always a sad thing for a parent to outlive their child), and a younger sister.

Later that day the coroner would take a blood sample and find an blood alcohol limit ten times the legal limit.  Not quite believing the results they did another test an hour later (they had stopped for a light lunch) and found the level to be now 11.5 times above the legal limit.  This was the first sign that there was something very different about Eric Lee's death.  In time they would isolate the new strain of yeast and call it the Dionysus strain.  The Dionysus strain would be sent to the CDC and what happens after that is another story.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Well flushed out for short story with lots of potential.