“You can’t,” Dee says. “There is no fixing this.” All the fight has left her and she is just staring at the table.
“But Max is immune. Surely we can find someone to fix this,” I say.
Dee just shakes her head. “Not for those already infected. I don’t think they will ever come back.” She glances at the door and I wonder if she was close to Robert.
“Sorry,” Max says.
I blink. Of all the inadequate words…
“Don’t be,” Dee snaps. “Somehow to think that this was an attack makes me feel a little better, that it was done for a purpose, no matter how misguided. But instead you say sorry, as though you did it on a whim.” She looks away in disgust. I can see why she would think this but I can’t accept it. If anything I am comforted that Max may realise that he made a mistake.
“I’m sorry it went wrong,” Max says. “But you have to realise that something was wrong with the world.”
I lean forward. “There may have been but that is no reason for you, or anyone to judge…” I can’t finish, tears are streaming from my eyes.
“I didn’t choose, the virus did,” he says.
Dee laughs and it sounds maniacal. “Maybe then we are just being shown fate. Maybe it was meant to happen. With or without your sticks of death.” She holds out the cigarettes and we all look at the pack.
“What do we do with it?” I ask.
“Well,” Dee says, a smile still widening her mouth and making her look a little crazy. “We have to get them and him to someone who can understand what is going on.”
Max shakes his head and sits back. “Is there anyone?”
I imagine us trying to find a flight to America or Europe. But when Dee speaks she surprises me.
Max raises an eyebrow in disbelief. “Cardiff?”
“As in Cardiff, Wales?” I ask.
Dee looks at me as if I am dense. “Yes. The W. H. O. Centre.”
I notice that Max eyes are wide and he is nodding. He obviously knows something that I don’t, but I decide to go with it. I have no wish to appear thick. Dee doesn’t pull any punches and I’m feeling battered enough already.
Instead I ask, “They will be able to help?”
“Yes,” Dee says.
“Are they still there?” Max asks.
Dee looks nervous and nods. “They were about an hour ago, but since then telephones stopped working.”
“What about broadband?” I ask reaching into my pocket for my phone.
“No phone,” Dee repeats, slowly. She is really starting to get on my nerves.
“Broadband works on a different frequency.” I slide the screen open and look for a Wi-Fi signal. There is one. I click on it. “Do you know the key to the hospital Wi-Fi?” I ask.
“No,” Dee says. “Is there really a signal?”
I nod. “But it’s locked. I’ll need to find a terminal.”
“There’s one in Robert’s office, down the hall.”
“So if we…” But Dee interrupts me.
“No. It has to be just you.”
“Why?” Max asks.
She turns to him. “Because you are too important and I don’t want to risk it.”
“We can’t stay here,” I say.
“Help will come,” she says.
“What?” I ask. “Why will they help us?”
“Robert told them we had a breakthrough. They will come for us.”
“Did he?” Max asks.
Dee shakes her head. “He was just worried about being abandoned.”
As she finishes the pounding on the door starts up again. I can’t stay here. And I don’t think anyone is coming. “Is there another door?”
“I’ll go with you,” Max says.
“No,” Dee snaps.
I lay a hand on his arm and feel it tense. I am aware that in his plan I would survive. I have nothing wrong with me, not even hay fever. The knowledge doesn’t make me feel any better about any of it. If anything I feel guilt claw its ugly hands through me.
“You have to stay,” I say. “I’ll be fine. Anyway, you might be the key.”
Max grunts, but as I stand he doesn’t stop me.
“So,” I ask, turning to Dee. “Is there another door?”