Sasha Ethel Waterbury lay in bed, shivering with blinding flashes of heat. A knock on the door- "Come in," was the patient's weak response. The nurse entered, smiling with artificial comfort as she carried in a tray of soup and juice. Propping up the weakened woman with extra pillows, she placed the tray on the patient's lap. "Now then, Miss Waterbury, just get this down y'. It'll do y'a world of good."
Sasha could not help but glare at the middle-aged nurse, gentle and ordinary in her manner. "Nothing will make me better," she growled. "And it's Mrs. Waterbury," she said in a softer, sadder tone.
Without another word, Nurse Hutchins retreated from the quarantine room, sprayed with four different types of disinfectants in the doorway.
In the lobby, Dirk Waterbury alternated between pacing and sitting down, head in his hands in desperation. He had been married the week before and the honeymoon was perfect, until his blushing bride had fallen mysteriously ill. Suddenly the world crashed down around his head. News reports blared stories of a strange fever, killing all it gripped within days and instructing everyone to stay within their own country for fear of spreading the disease. The new Mrs. Waterbury was in quarantine and Dirk's little niece had died that very afternoon. Sasha never got to meet her.
Alone again, Sasha could not eat. Writhing in agony, the tray fell onto the floor with a crash but the sound fell on deaf ears. Heat seared through her, blinding the young woman to all around her and the stark white walls seemed to fall inwards, crushing her frail form.
"Mr. Waterbury?" Nurse Hutchins glanced unhappily around, fiddling with the corner of her notebook. The tall man stood up, his clothing rumpled from a sleepless night waiting in the lobby. He approached the woman, looming over her, eyes clouded with pain and lack of sleep.
"Mr. Waterbury," she repeated. "It's about your wife..." Betty Hutchins never knew how to give such news, and she hesitated.
"Get on with it," he snapped tiredly.
She swallowed lightly. "Sir, your wife, she's passed on."
Unsurprised, numb with shock, Dirk Waterbury (widower) walked out of the hospital without another word.