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Flash Fiction

Bubonic Babe

“We live in the best of all worlds. We drink cleaner water, eat more nutritious foods, live more fulfilling lives when compared to any other age of humanity before us. War is a forgotten thing, narrowed down to a mild entertainment. Why, then should not pestilence be fashion? Why can’t disease become an expression of self?” 

Oubanithrel Ko Tormahinso, Biodesigner

Dahva had the bubonic plague. She had gotten it last week after it was on sale on the trade net, anticipating that it was going to be next big thing. 

Before long, her sister and her cousin had contracted it. Of course, they only signed a two day contract. Dahva splurged and went for a full month. 

It wasn’t unheard of for people to contract a disease for a few days, maybe a week or two if it was one of the more perennially fashionable bugs like a rhinovirus or ringworm. But a whole month? That was rare. 

Dahva waited for the serum to arrive, but she did not sit idle. The social media campaign she was going to run had to be ready to go from the moment she unboxed the syringe to the final moments of the disease being cleared from her system. She had been sent a slim bottle of tablets that contained an immunosuppresent to prevent her body from destroying the infection outright. 

That post alone had gotten over one thousand likes. 

She prepared her bed — where she planned to be for the next four weeks. She had a replica of a medieval bed printed and installed, and a set of nightgowns from the period (more or less).

Everything was ready. She was going to serve the world bed-ridden medieval noblewoman realness. 

The serum arrived two days later. 

The unboxing video got over fifty-two thousand views within the first hour. Her cousin ran into her room as Dahva arranged herself to look as languid and pitiful as she could. 

“Did you see this?” said her cousin. “You’re on the news!”

She flicked the video onto the screen and Dahva’s face loomed large before them. The newscaster called her the “Bubonic Babe.” She smiled and clutched the syringe, shook around the faintly yellow liquid it contained. 

Dahva felt her heart flutter. 

She smiled as she activated the stream drone. It hovered over her and she waved to her fans. She coyly lifted the syringe and held it to her arm. There was a faint hiss, a small pinch and it was done. 

She talked with her followers over the next hour as she began to feel the fever come on. As her body began to ache, her heart swelled. 

She had done it. She was famous!

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