The guilt has been eating at me since Julie found her way back to us. I know that we had no way of knowing that she hadn’t been infected. And Ben and I had stood out on the decks of the cruise ship scouring the shores for any sign of her. Now it just didn’t seem like we did enough…
But then what more could we really have done? The shore of Waskaganish was absolutely crawling with the Undead by that point. We barely made it off shore ourselves. Going back to try to find out what had happened to her knowing that she had sustained a bite would have been suicide. How could we have known that she hadn’t been infected?
Ben and I vacillate back and forth between the guilt and trying to make each other understand that we did all that we could do. But in the end, we both feel that we failed her. It kept running through our minds that if it had been either Ben or I on that shore that Julie would have found a way to be sure. It plagues me even now, this feeling of knowing that she survived that moment and had we only done more, she could have helped us with everything else that we had been through.
That she wouldn’t be lying here on a cot, barely hanging on with a hole in her shoulder the size of an egg. Ben wasn’t optimistic that she was going to make it. The infection wasn’t clearing up as quickly as Ben would have liked. It was weeping and the antibiotics just weren’t strong enough to fight it. Ben and I had been at Julie’s bedside pretty much since she’d been brought to us, cleaning the wound, bathing it with alcohol and packing it with the weak antibiotics that were available on the ship.
Knowing that her life was in danger, Phillip and some of the other survivors had organized a trip to the shore in Brooklyn. We had passed a pharmacy that was still intact on way to the 60th Precinct so the idea was to get and get out as soon as possible with as much as they could carry. One of the other doctors was going to go with them so that they would have some idea of what to grab, which was a going to be a big help in the long run. If they were going to take the risk, they might as well come back with useful drugs.
To be honest, it seemed like the longest 5 hours that they were gone. I would have gone with them but I know that I would have been useless. My mind is so preoccupied at the moment that I don’t even know if what I’m writing to you is coherent. If it’s not, I’m sorry.
Every time I look at her face, I think she’s slipping farther away from us. Ben and I sit here and we talk to her, tell her all of the things that have been going on. Of all of the things that she’s missed, of all of the things she would have been glad to have missed. My heart just breaks thinking of her vacant face. As much as I hate to say it, I almost think it might have been better that she had been infected that day. I know it seems awful, but if she’s locked away inside herself, unable to communicate, it’s like being Undead already.
Hopefully the antibiotics that they managed to find in the pharmacy will help Julie. I don’t know if Ben and I will be able to snap back if she dies. We haven’t even told Lily and Liam that she is here because we didn’t want to get their hopes up too much. They have been through so much and losing her the first time shattered them. There iss no telling what losing her a second time will do to them. The waiting is stressful. Every movement that she makes, however subtle is cause for concern. If something doesn’t happen soon, we might just turn ourselves inside out with worry and exhaustion.
Javier stopped by this afternoon to check on her, to see if her condition had changed in any way. I think he was coming to see if we needed to discuss finding a more suitable place for her in light of the rumours circling the ship. Not wanting Julie to hear that people were talking about her in such a way, Ben and I directed him toward the door where we could talk more privately.
During our discussion, the situation got heated. The community was getting nervous that a potentially infected person was on the ship and they wanted to make sure that they were being protected. Ben assured Javier that Julie wasn’t infected at all, that her wound had been sustained from someone who was just confused and scared. Even Javier had met Jane and knew that she was not one of the Undead. Still, that did nothing to sway his mind, people were nervous and it was a few versus the multitude. Moving Julie to the quiet of a locked private room wouldn’t make much difference in the long run really, it would just help to expedite the rumour.
From across the room, the unmistakable sound of metal handcuffs on a brass railing could be heard. Ben and I whipped our heads around to look in the direction of the sheet that cut off Julie’s cot from our eyes. Expecting to see her undead body strain against the sheet in the next moment, we were unprepared for the broken, parched voice that called out to us “Do you think I could get some water, when you get a second? Oh and maybe the key for these handcuffs?”