Dr. Sarah Kapoor, Head of Health Department, stepped out of her car and walked urgently through the corridors towards the conference hall. As she entered, she noticed the other officials from the department were sitting around a table and watching the local news channel telecasting about the unidentified flu spreading across the country. She turned off the TV to get their attention.
‘It’s already spreading for over a week. No use in watching it now. It’s time to act.’ She said. Others stared at her quietly. ‘What have you got, Ashok?’ She asked the Senior Scientist of the department Dr. Ashok Patel. ‘Actually, ma’am. We ran tests on the samples collected from the victims. We are unable to fit it into any category of the virus we already know. The virus seemed brand new.’ He answered stammering. She frowned and exhaled an exhausted breath.
‘Mr. Ashok, if it’s not of any kind we already know then where did this come from?’ She sounded anxious. She also noticed Ashok trying to stop a young man from mid-30s who stood beside him from talking. ‘Who is he?’ She asked pointing the young man. ‘Hello, ma’am. I am Sridhar, Junior Scientist.’ He introduced himself with a smile. ‘Please skip to the important part.’ She ordered.
‘Sure! Dr. Vinoth Anand, Founder & CEO of VA PharmaTech, tried contacting us for over a month. I was acknowledged only yesterday after a major fire accident at his home. I went to see him at the hospital but I was too late. I grew curious about his continuous communications. Therefore, I visited his office to find out why he tried so hard to meet us. There, I found this pendrive along with his journal. You should watch this.’ He handed it over to her worried. ‘Play it!’ She said and sat on the chair. He inserted it and clicked on the video. It started playing. A man of early-50s appeared on the screen. He seemed paler than normal with a bald head.
‘Hello, everyone! I am Vinoth Anand. I hereby confessing an accidental crime! While you are watching this, I would be long gone and the outbreak might have begun. The virus was accidentally formed in my lab while I was experimenting with cancer cells. I named it ‘Hirudo’ meaning leeches since it attaches itself to our blood vessels and multiplies unprecedentedly inside our bodies by drinking our blood. It shows symptoms similar to cancer but only ten times faster. I tried contacting your department when things went south. Sadly, there was no response.
I studied it. Unlike cancer, it was contagious. If you are looking for the first victim, that would be me. And the reason for the outbreak should because of the pathogenic waste of the virus which I missed to dispose of properly from my lab.’ The video paused abruptly. Sridhar saw everyone was sitting on the edge of their chairs in shock.
‘Ma’am! Please relax. There is more to it.’ He consoled her. She gazed at him. The video continued playing after a few seconds. ‘Fortunately, I invented the antidote to the virus. The recipe is in my journal. Don’t worry! After placing it in my office, I sanitized the place properly this time. I never wanted to take the antidote to myself. Therefore, I tested it on my maid’s child and succeeded. Finally, I had to burn myself in my house to destroy the epicenter.’ Vinoth smiled in pride as the video stopped. Sarah looked at the journal lying right in front of her eyes! She eased in her chair and breathed in relief.
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