Promises to Keep

Rachel pushed up her sleeve and grimaced. “Question, is this normal for NF?”

Pockets of skin ripped. Opaque puss weeped out.

“No, this is different.” Matt pulled on his beard. Little had changed for him since the quarantine. “Kindly unbutton your blouse—I need to inspect the totality of the infection.”

“Just for you, Doc.” It didn’t take long to skin down to her bra and panties.

“Hate to do this but it must be done.” Gingerly, Matt probed the edges of the discolored areas. Fresh pain flared along Rachel’s skin. Even then, she was proud that she didn’t cry out.

“Dead doesn’t cause pain, so that’s good,” Matt muttered. “Chance to save some of it. Blisters indicate a reaction. Anything you want to tell me?”

“Zac and I dipped into the big crater.”

“You what?” Matt exploded. “Xenobiology doesn’t mean anything to you?”

“We knew what we were doing.”

“Veterans are afraid to go in there and you two just dip in? Un-fucking-believable. That’s crazy, even for you.”

“Stupid,” Rachel said, “we did it for you.”

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