Prologue: About Wellsworth
It was a city in the United Kingdom, known for its Filipino culture and hospitality. Home to 5,000, most of which are immigrants from Asia. It was the epicenter of a 2035 epidemic, which has claimed a total of 10,000 lives.
It was also located next to the Wellsworth River, after which the city was named. The river was a minor trade route, only supplying goods to Wellsworth and its neighboring towns Finburg and Denburg.
A city of simplicity, where neighbors knew each other, where you can feel the sense of home. It has 2 jeepneys running around the city, serving passengers everyday.
It also boasted its own underwater highway system, where a large sheet of glass divided the river and the bustling area below. The system also provided a way for Wellsworth’s citizens to travel to other towns by road.
But now, when the epidemic struck the city, together with neighboring towns, it was a total disaster. There was also an unforeseen disaster that almost ruined the city, damaging every structure except for a lucky few.
Now, the population was cut by half. The 2,500 people that survived hopes to restore the city they loved back to its old glory.
Chapter 1: Where It All Began
It was a warm summer in April 2035, where the doctor was attending a conference in a distant town. He was already there for three days, when a call prompted him to leave the town.
“Doc, Wellsworth’s in trouble,” the caller said. It was the first time he heard those words, and he knew it meant something. Within the day, he was informed by his colleagues that their stay was to be cut short, and they were to depart within the day.
After a meeting that day, Doc packed up his things, and at 3:00 p.m., he was already waiting to depart in the bus home. Three hours later, the bus already reached Wellsworth.
“There were no signs of a problem,” he thought. It was like a normal summer day, where the children play outdoors and the adults do their daily errands. “But she said there was,” he further thought.
When he reached home, he passed the night sleeping, readying for another day tomorrow.
Doc woke up, did his routine, and went straight to the hospital. When he reached the hospital, he was stopped, the security guard telling him that he should wear a mask. Doc, not wanting to go back to his home again, requested a mask from the security guard.
And there he saw lying on the hospital bed, Patient 1. Alice White, a resident of Finburg. She travelled by train two days ago, where she sneezed consecutively until she finally dozed off.
“It wasn’t the common cold,” the doctors at the hospital said. “If it were the common cold, she should be awake hours after she dozed off,” Doc thought.
Unfortunately, it was summer time; some tourists were flocking the town. And travelling with Patient 1 were 35 people, 11 of whom are in the cabin with Alice. Those with Alice were in the hospital also, the doctors said. 2 were asleep, 6 were sneezing consecutively, and 3 seemed to be unaffected at all.
Surprisingly, on the other cabin was an ambassador, whom together with an entourage, travelled to visit the mayor. None of them sneezed or dozed off, fortunately.
As a doctor, Doc will participate in researching the cause of what happened to Patient 1 and others. After that, they will try to research on treatments to the cause. One doctor contacted his friend over Finburg, and told him that research would be started there.
For now, that’s what Doc and doctors at Wellsworth knew. What’s important is, all should wear a mask so as to avoid getting a cold.
The information was already on its way to the mayor’s office, where the mayor will announce the news on live television tomorrow.
Chapter 2: Following Days
“My fellow citizens, good day to you all. Please don’t panic at what I will say,” the mayor said at her address the next morning. Doc was in the mayor’s office, as the mayor and the chief medical officer took turns in informing what should the citizens do.
“I advise you all not to go to the grocery stores, as the mayor’s office procured all the goods there. Don’t worry, I promise you all that these will be distributed equally,” the mayor said. Everyone was shocked by that, as no one had tried that strategy before.
Doc remembered the COVID-19 pandemic 15 years before. Wellsworth wasn’t much affected, as it was a rural town, but he remembered the chaotic lines and hoarding in grocery stores back in his home country.
“We, the doctors, suspected through everything that has happened that the cause was of a virus. So we advise everyone to wear masks and practice distancing,” the chief medical officer said.
“We also discourage travellers to enter the city, and the mayor requested stricter border control here. If whatsoever you have just entered the city, we would advise that you quarantine in your hotel room for 14 days,” the officer continued.
Fortunately, no one went to the grocery store. They all wore masks and practiced distancing. And as the mayor said, relief goods were released the day after.
4 people were already critical, Patient No. 1 was at the verge of death! She was already in her early 70s, and her heartbeat had reached flatline many times.
However, one of those unaffected earlier started sneezing loudly, and it irritated other patients in the hospital. A few minutes later, he had stopped, and he released a shout of pain afterwards. It seems like he fractured a rib, as there was something was loose in his abdomen.
The ambassador’s visit was continued, and they were requested not to leave the city, so as to stop the spread of the disease. But they declined, and he went home to Finburg, with his entourage, within the day.
Sleepless nights followed that day, as Doc and his colleagues were busy treating patients and researching about the cause of the disease.
Days later, someone from the hospital had learned of the cause. He isolated a snot sample from Patient No. 5, and detected a virus under the microscope. It was an evolved form of the rhinovirus, and it was nicknamed “The Sleepy Virus” by another doctor.
It took three more days before there was another case of the virus, raising the number to 6. People still kept going out and hanging out at the riverside, where there were mask-less people celebrating!
Even though the number of tourists coming in the city were limited, there were still cars and buses almost freely coming in and out of the city, as there was no way the virus could be detected.
This can cause a potential outbreak, Doc thought. So he prompted to go to the mayor’s office, suggesting her to already impose a city-wide quarantine.
Together with some colleagues, they crossed the road to the mayor’s office. “I can’t impose a lockdown,” the mayor said. “The city waits for an important shipment from Denburg,” she added.
That shipment was about to leave in three days. It contained goods like food, hygiene kits, and of course, lots of alcohol.
The meeting almost ended empty-handed when one of Doc’s colleagues proposed the people to be restricted in and only in their houses. He also proposed that no one should go in or go out, except for the ship that will arrive in days.
It was settled; the mayor will announce it in the evening news later. Border control was needed, so the mayor immediately called the police to enforce.
Doc checked his social media later, and he was shocked by the anger the people expressed at the mayor’s announcement. But just as Doc was going to sleep, he heard something new.
Someone not in Patient No. 1’s cabin was already infected, and he was at the train station yesterday. Doc is expecting an outbreak, but he hoped that train station was not the start of an outbreak.
Chapter 3: Cases Are Rising
Fortunately, the train station wasn’t the starting place of an outbreak. But the patient in the train station, Patient No. 7, already started dozing off.
After 1 month of fighting the virus, Patient No. 1 suffered her last flatline, and was declared dead seconds after. “Now what,” one of the doctors asked.
Patient No. 1, Alice White, was from Finburg. Her husband died last year, and her two children are in London with their own families.
The urn can’t be transported that easy, as she had no relatives back in Finburg. But her children instructed us to bury her beside her husband in the Finburg Public Cemetery. But it still won’t be easy.
Riding in an ambulance, Doc and a chaperone transported Patient No. 1’s urn back to Finburg. After a blessing from the bishop of Wellsworth, the ambulance slowly made its way to Finburg; Finburg’s border was a mess, as people tried to get back home before their lockdown started.
5 hours later, the ambulance finally reached the Finburg Public Cemetery, where it was simply buried beside Patient No. 1’s husband.
When Doc finally went home after a tiring travel to bury Patient No. 1, he saw that the cases are rising. “How did this happened,” Doc asked.
It was the event Doc feared the most. A party in the riverside, which violated health protocols, became the center of an outbreak. Turns out, the daughter of Patient No. 7 joined the party and started showing symptoms three days later.
There were some 50 people in the riverside; almost all of them are infected with the virus. A second patient also died and was buried at the Wellsworth Cathedral.
It’s dreadful to see some 50 people, lying in beds, striving to live, there isn’t a treatment that is being tested yet. They also lie there lonely and unconscious, and die without seeing their family for the last time.
Just like those infected with COVID-19 fifteen years ago. There was one person infected with that virus in Wellsworth, and she sadly died. She worked in London, and her family hadn’t see her alive for one last time.
One day, Doc proposed to treat the patients by giving them antihistamine before they doze off. The first patient administered with antihistamine was Patient No. 56, who was the mother of another patient. It was observed that the patient stayed awake for a longer time than the other patients, but Patient No. 56 soon dozed off.
Also, the shipment from Denburg has arrived! The workers at the harbor were advised before to always wear masks and practice distancing. They were also advised to disinfect every package from the ship.
However, just right after the unloading finished, one of the workers showed symptoms of the virus. Without hesitation, he admitted himself to the hospital, thinking of his grim end.
The unloading of the ship signaled the second wave of the distribution of relief goods.
Chapter 4: Lockdowned Citizens
While doing rounds on the hospital, he decided to check on the situation of one patient’s family. “Oh Doc, you’ll never know how lucky being a citizen of Wellsworth is,” replied the sister of one patient.
“Relief goods were enough for our family, and the process of getting it was well-planned,” continued that person.
There was also one neighbor of Doc who also expressed her sentiment on life in lockdown. “The distribution of the relief goods were fine, but the lockdown was enforced so quickly, I haven’t had time to organize stuff before it occurred,” she said.
“It ruined everything! I had to tell my boss that I cannot go to office for a few days, and me and my husband had to cancel our summer trip to Denburg,” she continued.
Just as the food supply of the citizens ran off, the new wave of relief distribution kicked off. Citizens swarmed at the mayor’s office, falling in line to claim their share of relief goods.
However, it was reported that there was a brawl in the office. Turns out, the ship only brought the first of a batch of shipments, and the second batch would be delayed because of the epidemic.
Unfortunately, there were no policemen in the office, and the guards took minutes fending off the people before the police arrested those who started the brawl.
Three people were injured in the fight, and they needed to be brought in the hospital. Fortunately, the hospital wasn’t in full capacity yet, but bringing patients not having the virus puts a risk to everyone in the hospital.
There was space in the hospital, and the three were discharged tomorrow.
The numbers keep rising, the people at the riverside party had infected so much people. People also kept dying, they can’t be awake for too long.
One day, someone from Finburg called Doc. “We have found a way to test if someone has the sleepy virus,” the caller said. Doc immediately followed this to the chief medical officer, and the officer called the chief medical officer of Finburg to procure some test kits.
And it was said that the test kits would be shipped alongside the ship that would ship the next wave of relief goods. But there was another problem the city has yet to face.
It will be the start of another school year in a few weeks, and the E. M. Salvador Academy, the only school in the city, hasn’t made announcements whether to do face-to-face or online classes.
Doc was also a father to a fifteen-year old son, and he always wanted to keep his son safe.
Chapter 5: Doc’s Son
Bryan was his name. He was like his father, and he wanted to become a doctor someday. He and his father played basketball together, studied medicine together, and did assignments together.
He had many friends at the academy, but the new school year had posed a problem for Bryan to see his friends in school.
Now, Bryan felt sad that he wouldn’t be seeing his friends for a long time. But there was still a chance, as the academy hasn’t announced how the next school year would be.
Bryan was also sad that his father wasn’t coming home everyday. He and his mother would pray the rosary every night, just to pray for Doc’s safety. But Bryan missed his father much.
Right after the family had dinner one time, Bryan received the news that the academy won’t be pushing with face-to-face classes, as cases of the virus kept rising.
“Don’t worry Bryan, you will still see your friends on video chats,” his mother said.
While Bryan’s mother talked with Bryan about his classes, Doc remembered the time of the COVID-19 pandemic; when Bryan was still a newborn baby.
Bryan was fortunately born months before the pandemic started in Great Britain, or Doc and his wife would have a harder time going to the hospital.
But the baby still needs to go to the hospital to get his vaccines and check-ups. Doc remembers how his wife keeps he and Bryan sanitized before and after visiting the doctor.
Bryan’s grandparents weren’t even there in Wellsworth to see their grandchild. Doc’s parents were actually in London, and they find it hard to get food outside.
Fortunately, everyone in Doc’s family survived the pandemic. Soon enough, everything was done months after Bryan’s first birthday. Oh how Bryan’s grandparents were happy to finally see their grandson.
And now, 15 years later, the family is facing yet another disease. As Bryan goes to school again, Doc and his wife hope that he will change his mind and be happy in online classes.
Chapter 6: An Unforeseen Incident
As Bryan went into his room to do his routine, his mother set out to clean the dishes. “Our supply won’t last until this weekend,” Bryan’s mother told Doc.
“Don’t worry hon, I heard there’s another shipment coming just at that time,” Doc replied. Sure enough, everyone in the city has their food running out, and in time, the third wave of relief distribution would occur.
The next day, Doc was informed that a doctor in the hospital was infected with the virus. The numbers had already breached the 200 mark, and the hospital started to show signs of overcrowding.
20 beds in one room, nurses stationed at every bed; that was the scene of the hospital. However, it was also seen that the rate of infection slowed down, as nobody dared to go out of their homes.
It was also announced on the evening news that the shipment of relief goods was on its way and will arrive at Wellsworth tomorrow. Oh, how it was exciting to receive a new pack of relief goods.
As the sun came up in the sky, the ship was already approaching Wellsworth, and the citizens were filled with joy, as they can finally extend their supply.
However, as the ship came nearer and nearer to the harbor, officials are seeing some problems with the ship itself. As they got a clearer view, they saw chaos in the ship; one of the captains went unconscious, while another was sneezing badly.
And then the ship missed the harbor. It kept sailing and sailing, until the unforeseen incident happened. The next events happened quickly, peace quickly turned into chaos. Such a bad time for this to happen, in the middle of an epidemic!
The ship sped suddenly, and crashed on the beach, then crawled its way to the residential homes. Citizens began to panic, some passed out due to shock, their bodies be crushed later with debris.
Two buildings were destroyed by the ship, and it left 1,000 citizens with no choice but to evacuate, even if they didn’t wore masks or practiced distancing.
Citizens were already approaching the hospital and the mayor’s office, seeking for help, when there’s suddenly an explosion. Oh, it was a sight never seen before.
The hospital was starting to receive the sudden outpour of people when Doc and his colleagues heard the explosion. Wellsworth was quite small; everyone heard the explosion.
A fire in the middle of an epidemic! “Such a crazy time for all of us,” Doc reacted. He immediately called his wife on the phone, as their home was close to the ship. “We’re fine, we will be evacuating soon,” Doc’s wife replied. “Don’t worry about me and Bryan, we’ll see you soon in the mayor’s house,” she added.
The mayor then went outside the house, together with her family, and ushered citizens to their home. Their home, and together with the hospital in front of them, was fortunately away from the ship. It was also the designated evacuation site in case of an emergency.
Oh, how the mayor’s staff were busy setting up tents for the citizens, and preparing food and water for them. With a loudspeaker, the mayor can be heard pleading those who arrive to at least practice distancing.
But the citizens can’t, as it was a time of chaos. The noise of firetrucks and the screams of people are all together horrifying.
Chapter 7: The Great Fire
And there was a second explosion to be heard. One more building was destroyed by the great size of the flames, forcing more people to come out of their homes.
The firetrucks cannot handle the explosions, as the force is too small. However, the mayor has contacted the mayors of neighboring cities, asking their help to extinguish the fire.
It was a busy day for Doc and his colleagues, as they weren’t only admitting cases of the virus, they also admitted all other sorts of cases. Burns, trauma, and faint spells; name it. And it was getting harder to admit more, as the hospital was running out of space to treat the patients.
The great fire lasted for hours, and there were two or three more explosions heard. All the citizens had already evacuated to the mayor’s house, where they were separated by tents, one for each family.
And finally, with the help of the other cities’ forces, the fire died down. But it destroyed three buildings and seriously damaged another one; costing millions in damage. The hospital was almost full of wounded patients, and the fire left around 100 dead and 10 more missing. Lastly, almost all of the city’s food supply was in that ship, leaving Wellsworth in hard times.
“Mommy, mommy,” Doc heard someone running to the mayor’s house’s door as she saw her mom. Turns out, she was one of those missing, and everyone was relieved when that missing life was found.
That evening, the mayor declared a state of calamity for Wellsworth, prompting aid from neighboring cities so as to extend their food supply.
“Today will be remembered as one of the, if not, the darkest day for the city,” the mayor said as she declared a state of calamity. “Our citizens have been displaced, and supplies were cut short,” she continued.
“Here am I, representing the citizens of Wellsworth, asking for your help. It will go through a long way; for us to survive this fire, and ultimately, this pandemic,” she ended her speech.
And in less than 24 hours later, news of aid was received of the mayor, who was very grateful for the fortunate response of neighboring cities.
Doc’s shift ended that night, and he crossed the road to the mayor’s house; he can’t get back to his home yet. After a lengthy session of sanitation, he finally saw Bryan and his wife after many days. “Oh, it’s good to see you all safe and sound,” said Doc as the family had finally been reunited.
The fire really struck at the worst time. Now, it is even harder to practice health protocols, as supplies were short and the space where the citizens lived was smaller.
There were still 8 more lives missing, and Doc wondered if those lives were already with the ashes the fire left in the city.
Also, burnt down with the ship were the test kits that would have helped make progress in this epidemic.
Chapter 8: In Recovery
After 3 more lives and one dead body was found the next day, nothing followed. The mayor and her family lit a candle in the cathedral one week later, in honor of the 100 lives the fire claimed and the hundreds more that the epidemic claimed.
But now, it was easier for Doc to go to work, as the hospital was just across the mayor’s house. And one day, Doc received news that a patient managed to stop sneezing and didn’t go to sleep.
“Finally, some great news after the terrible fire,” Doc replied. “How did you do it,” Doc asked over the phone. “We just continued to administer antihistamine, and we are now hoping that he is on his way to recovery,” was the response.
Days later, Doc resumed his job at the hospital. And one week after, the patient above was dismissed after showing no signs of the virus, while another one had managed to stop sneezing too.
They were the first ones to defeat the virus, and the mortality rate lowered down after that. Recoveries were already recorded, and the numbers were gradually increasing!
Right before the 2nd recovery was recorded, the first shipment of aid was already received by Wellsworth City. It was immediately distributed to the citizens after it has been disinfected, and it was a big blessing for the citizens.
However, when the mayor’s family and her staff started to distribute the relief goods, the citizens heard a sneeze. And he was receiving relief goods in front of the mayor’s mother! Everyone was in shock, and it sent the event into disarray.
Everyone forced that person to leave the mayor’s house, while his children were crying as they were separated from their father.
Fortunately, the citizens distanced themselves from one another, following health protocols. If it weren’t for this, the event would be the cause of another outbreak.
Police officers were able to respond to the disarray fast, and the man was escorted to the hospital, while his wife and children were sent to be tested for the virus.
Unfortunately, the man broke his ribs because of sneezing too much, and he went into a coma few hours later.
His wife was saddened at what happened, but she and her children all tested negative. But days after the distribution of relief goods, the mayor’s mother tested positive for the virus, and the mayor’s family were forced to isolate themselves from the people.
It was a sad day when the 70-year old mother of the mayor, whom was fondly called First Mother, was sent to the hospital. She was the driving force of the mayor, and the citizens can see how much the mayor loves her mother.
Days later, the day the mayor feared most came. The First Mother, already a senior citizen, succumbed to the virus, and it made headlines not only in Wellsworth, but also in neighboring cities.
Chapter 9: A City in Mourning
The body of the mayor’s mother was immediately cremated, as with other bodies that died of the virus. It was then brought to the mayor, who received it in a surprisingly dignified posture.
But the citizens can hear the mayor’s crying at night. Indeed, how sad it is to lose your mother? But the mayor and her family still had 4 days of their isolation before they can go out to bury the urn.
Meanwhile, Doc is now facing a challenge: his wife has contracted the virus, and was immediately sent to the hospital afterwards. Doc only learned of the news when he saw his wife in a bed, being rushed to the isolation room.
Doc then immediately called his son, and his son was doing his assignments at the time. “Don’t worry about me, Dad. Mom entrusted me to our neighbor, who would check on our tent to see if I’m ok.”
Doc knew that his wife was always healthy, and never had a disease since she was a child. Doc and Bryan hoped that Doc’s wife survive the virus.
Meanwhile, the mayor and her family finally went on to bury the First Mother on the Wellsworth Cathedral, and the citizens saw the mayor’s car depart her house.
The event was private, as the current time discouraged social gatherings. The car returned to the house two hours later, and the mayor was surprised by the condolences her citizens sent into her room.
Only Doc and Bryan were sitting in the tent eating dinner, wondering about what was happening to Doc’s wife. As far as Doc knows, his wife steadily battles the virus, sneezing hard but still fighting.
Doc and Bryan hopes that Doc’s wife continues to be like this. They hope that soon enough, Doc’s wife can go out of the hospital.
Now, the vice mayor is in-charge of the city, as the mayor will take a 2-week break to mourn her mother. The citizens hope that she can move on her loss.