The Key

“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?”

Dee nods.

“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?”


About Kate

Kate Murray has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing and is currently working as an illustrator and writer. Her first anthology of short stories ‘The Phantom Horse’ was published in December 2013 and she subsequently has had another anthology published by Raging Aardvark; “Love Just Is” looks at the truth of love, in all its guises from romantic to obsessive. She is currently working on an anthology of ghost stories which should be published at the end of October 2014 and is also writing her first novel. Kate runs two blogs, one is about her life as a writer ( and the other is a serialisation of a novel, “The Gone”; a disaster hits the world while Bitsy is on a flight from Italy. She lands to find that the world is completely altered and she must learn to survive in a place where everyone is not who they appear to be ( Kate has had short stories published in magazines and e-zines, including ‘The Lampeter Review’, ‘Jotter’s United’, and ‘What The Dickens’. She has had short stories included in the ‘Twisted Tales 2013’ anthology published by Raging Aardvark, and the ‘Busker Anthology’ and ‘Spooky Tales Anthology’ published by What the Dickens. Kate’s artwork has been exhibited at the Museum Of Modern Art in Machynlleth where she was selected after entering the art competition and at Aberglasney Gardens as part of the Mid Wales Art group. Her artwork has been published by companies from Norway to Australia and her latest works will have illustrations in it. She has also had a series of line drawings published by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust in their biodiversity action plan. Kate currently works in the foothill of the Cambrian Mountains where she has a purpose built workshop that she affectionately calls her ‘house’ as she spends far more time in there than anywhere else.
This entry was posted in Chapter 6 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Key

  1. Kate says:

    Reblogged this on Kate Murray and commented:

    Is Max the key to it all? And can Bitsy trust Dee? The next part of Chapter 6 of The Gone.

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