One Way Out

No matter how hard I gagged, no matter how disturbed I was, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of the man in front of me. As he laid there with his eyes closed, I could see the gas building up inside of him, a grave sign that could make our situation worse. In just a matter of minutes, it swelled from the side of a pea and morphed to the size of a golf ball.

“The longer we let this thing grow, the worse it’s going to be for all of us,” Jack said with hesitation. He’s seen this happen too many times, he knows exactly what could happen if this cyst gets too massive.

I slowly backed away from the pale ticking time bomb of a body, “What are we suppose to do? His body has the key inside, but if either of us try to go for it, we’ll get caught in the blast.”

This poor man’s been infected with a mysterious viral strain that causes the nervous system to slowly deteriorate, eventually causing a mass shutdown of all vital organs and leaving behind a cyst somewhere on the body. If is pops, the strain and spread and whoever gets even a tiny splash of the liquid on their skin will become a new host.

However, in our situation, we had to get that cyst to pop. This man died with a key that would help us get out of this infested building, but we couldn’t even attempted to check his person while that cyst is still bloating.

I looked around the room for some kind of solution to our predicament. The room barely had anything to help it us, just four walls with a low hanging, dimmed light-bulb. There’s a bundle of heavily torn sheets in a corner, but not enough to fully protect our bodies from being hit from the cyst’s explosive fluids. A broken cardboard box sat in front of the door, the same door that could lead out out of here with the key on the corpse.

While I was looking around, I noticed Jack was pacing back and forth lost in thought, “Have an idea?”

“We need to puncture the cyst,” he answers. “If we can make a hole just big enough to drain it, we may be able to grab the key.”

We both looked at the cyst on the body; it grew at least a few more centimeters. Our survival chances seemed to get smaller and smaller the more the cyst grew.

I let out a sigh and cleaned out the corner of my eyes, “So somebody has to get close to it. How are we going to puncture it?”

“You still have that flat-head mini screwdriver in your pocket?”

A mini screwdriver…? Wait, do I?

I reached into my back pocket and felt around. The sensation of cold, thin metal brushed across my fingertips. I must have been so caught up in the situation that I forget that I still had a pocket tool. I passed it to Jack, “Yeah. You think it’s strong enough to pop it?”

He nodded, “With the right amount of force, I’ll be able to poke a hole.”

“But what about getting splashed?”

Jack looked at the cardboard box, then focused on the sheets, “I can wrap my hand in the sheet. And you’re smaller than me, so you can use the box as a blast shield just in case I puncture the cyst too hard.”

“W-Wait. If it does pop, you’ll get caught in the blast. There has to be another way to think this out.”

Jack started collecting the materials while I was speaking. He took the box and tossed it across the room, landing in front of me. He then took the sheets and wrapped his hand with it, leaving just enough space for him to keep his grip on the screwdriver.

He looked back at me for a moment before crouching in front of the corpse, “Get behind the box, Erika.”

“Jack, no!”

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