The flight from New York to LA takes just over 6 hours.
Martin VonBraun hugged his brother Joe goodbye at airport security. He spent some time in duty-free before he headed to Gate 7A. Joeseph made his way back into the city, through crowded tubes and up a cramped escalator to his office. He sat down at his desk as flight 374 was taking off from New York airport.
An hour later, Martin was sitting back and choosing which in-flight movie to watch. Joe was pouring over a legal case on his desk, feeling a little too hot. He called his secretary to open the window.
Two hours into the flight, Martin got up to use the bathroom. Joe was in a bathroom too, vomiting blood.
At hour three, Martin was asleep. Joe was paralyzed, but fully conscious.
At hour five, Joe watched as his fingers shriveled and turned black. Martin ordered a beer from the flight attendant.
The flight from New York to LA takes just over 6 hours. Parasite X kills its host 5 hours and 11 minutes from the time of infection.
Flight 374 was delayed coming into LA airport. Nobody from air traffic control would answer them. When they did eventually pluck up the courage to land, it appeared from the air that all flights had been grounded. As they came closer, they saw the corpses littering the runways. Blackened and shriveled, like a fire had spread through every living person, leaving all else untouched.
The plane sat on the runway, but nobody ran out to meet them and nobody dared leave. They checked their phones. Messages from loved ones came through- emotional jigsaw pieces of the last 6 hours, as the parasite had infected and taken down the country. Possibly the world. The pilot radioed out. Perhaps there were other flights full of the uninfected. Perhaps there were more than these 204 survivors. Or perhaps not. It would only take one infected passenger to take down the whole plane. Maybe they’d all just been lucky.
Martin’s thought about calling his brother, but he couldn’t seem to move his fingers. The corpse of Joe VonBraun lay in a silent office, surrounded by so many more. His dead fingers curled against the floor. The parasite inside him, still hungry, took root in his brain. Joe was gone, but his fingers twitched. His eyes opened.
Via Daily Prompt: Infect