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The Experiment


Dill the Pickle

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Hey hey, it’s me, already starting another story lol (I’m sorry)

Anyways this popped into my head a while ago, I guess. I’ve been kinda addicted to it since :razz:. This... is probably way better than the other one I started to be honest, sorryI might write the other one but I don’t know yet.

Oh, and just a tiny tip, “0o0o0o0”s are time skips.

Well, tell me if you all like it! I’m probably gonna continue it anyways though :D. Without further ado, here’s Chapter 1!

 

Chapter 1: The Start

 

Leila winced as they injected the serum into her. She didn’t particularly like shots, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nothing else would ever be like this.

 

“Symptoms should start to show within the next hour or so,” the lab-coated person said, putting the syringe away. “If symptoms do not show within two days, please come back. Please stay in the facility at all times, as to not risk exposure.”

 

“Thank you,” Leila said, smiling. She slid off the chair and left the exam room, meeting Rena right outside it.

 

“You got it, right?” Rena asked, the excitement clear in her voice. “What did they say?!”

 

“Symptoms should start to show within an hour.” Leila smiled even wider at Rena’s giddy face.

 

“This is amazing!” Rena hugged Leila, and Leila hugged her back. “I’ve never seen anybody sick before. Nobody has! This is gonna be awesome!”

 

“I know! I just can’t wait until the symptoms start showing.” Leila pushed Rena out of the hug, to see her face. “They say the symptoms can be different for everyone.”

 

“Well, then be sure to infect me with it too! I can’t believe it can actually travel through the air and infect people.”

 

“It’s crazy, right?” Leila grinned. “Well, lets go back to our room and wait for the symptoms to show.”

 

“That sounds like a great idea.”

 

0o0o0o0

 

“Anything yet?”

 

Leila shook her head. Rena frowned, sitting down on the couch next to her.

 

“Well, tell me when the symptoms come,” Rena said. “I’ve heard soup was good for sick people long ago.”

 

“Funny how you researched more than me even though I’m the one getting it.” Leila smiled.

 

“Oh, I know you don’t like researching. It’s fine.” Rena patted her knee. “Well, I’m sure it’ll come soon. Hopefully by dinner you’ll show some symptoms.”

 

“And if not, others will.” It wasn’t just them in this experiment: ten people signed up for this trial experiment, a once in a lifetime chance to experience what sickness was like. Modern medicine had long since eradicated sickness, and nobody got to know what it was like beside books. It was kind of like a fantasy story. Of course, the point wasn’t just to give people an experience; they were also studying how disease spread in this environment to control infection just in case a disease got loose.

 

“They’ll be calling us down soon.” Rena glanced at the clock, and Leila followed. It was 5:30, a half hour before dinner.

 

“Let’s hope it shows by then. I would be disappointed if it didn’t.”

 

“Me too.” Rena got up. “I’m gonna get ready, okay? You should too.”

 

“Alright. See you soon.”

 

0o0o0o0

 

“Any luck?” Rena asked as they walked down the stairs to the dining hall.

 

“Not much.” Leila sighed. “I have a tiny tickle in my throat, but that’s about it.”

 

“Shame.” They reached the bottom of the stairs. They turned the corner, into the double doors that led into the dining hall.

 

Since the trial experiment only had ten people, the cafeteria was like a mini school lunch room. A few tables were open, but most people were already here. Dinner was set out right at the seats, making no need to go up to the counter unless you wanted seconds.

 

“Let’s take that one,” Rena said, pointing to a small table in the corner. Leila sat down and started eating, coughing slightly.

 

Rena’s face lit up. “You’re getting the symptoms!” She whispered excitedly. Leila gave her back a small smile.

 

“Hooray me!” She joked back. She put another spoonful of the soup into her mouth when a person sat down across from her and Rena.

 

The girl looked terrible, with puffy red eyes, a pink nose, and a tissue balled up in her hand. She coughed as she sat down, strong enough to double her over. Rena and Leila glanced at each other excitedly: so this is what sickness looked like.

 

“Hello,” Rena greeted, smiling. The girl looked up at her, cracking a grateful smile. “The serum’s working this quick for you, huh?”

 

“Yeah.” Her voice came out raspy, and she cleared her throat. “I guess it makes sense. I’ve got horrible allergies, too.”

 

Allergies were the one thing medicine couldn’t cure just yet, and it’s why medicine still existed.

 

“Not necessary,” Leila said. “I don’t think allergies and sickness are connected.”

 

“Ah, you can never know. It just tells I’ve got horrible luck.” Another fit of coughs went through her. “I guess sickness is more exciting, though. I mean, almost nobody’s ever experienced it.”

 

“I know! That’s why we’re so excited!” Leila said. She glanced at Rena again, seeing an excited grin on her face. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t started working yet for me.”

 

“That’s too bad.” The girl’s nose twitched. “Ah... wh-what are your names?”

 

“I’m Rena,” Rena answered, and pointing to Leila, she added, “and that’s Leila.”

 

“N-Nice to meet you. I’m... ah... I’m... Ah-kishhoo! Ah, excuse me. I’m Brooke. Nice to meet you.” She nodded toward them. “It seems impolite to shake your hand when I’m sick, doesn’t it?”

 

“From what I’ve heard, that’s what they thought back then, too.” Rena grinned. “I’ve read so much about what it was like back then. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?”

 

“I’ve haven’t done much myself.” Brooke sniffed. “But it is pretty interesting, from what I’ve read. I’m not as fanatic as you seem to be, though.” Brooke laughed a little.

 

“Nah, it’s fine.” Rena waved her hand in the air. “I know I’m a little weird to be so obsessed about this. That’s why we came.” Rena put her arm around Leila, and Leila felt warm inside. “Did you come with anybody?”

 

“No.” Brooke shook her head, a bit sadly. “I’m doing this research for myself.”

 

“Research?” Rena asked, a confused look on her face. “How do you research this?”

 

“Well, I keep track of my symptoms. Coughing, sneezing, fever...” Brooke listed them off on her hand. “And I record how long they last for, if possible.”

 

“Wow... that’s amazing.” Rena’s face was pure astonishment. “Can you please, please show me the results when this is over?”

 

“Of course.” Brooke laughed. “I’ll keep up to date with you, too.”

 

“Two full weeks of this...” Rena trailed off, sighing happily. “I don’t think I want it to end.”

 

“It’ll be a while,” Leila assured. “Rena, you want to walk around and see what the facility is like?”

 

“That sounds great.” Rena stood up, throwing her empty plate in the dish disposal. Leila followed suite. “See you later, Brooke.”

 

“Bye.” Brooke waved them goodbye as they walked out of the cafeteria. Once they were out, they turned a corner, exploring the empty facility, just for them.

 

“Brooke seems rather nice,” Rena said, staring at the multitude of doors. Leila herself wondered where they led.

 

“Yeah...” Leila saw a giant set of stairs, leading back up to the dorm rooms for them. “This place just goes in a circle, doesn’t it?”

 

“I mean, we have a gym, pool, cafeteria... that’s about all we need, right?”

 

“Maybe there’s more...” Leila trailed off. “Ah, whatever. I’m starting to feel cold. You?”

 

Rena shook her head. “No, it’s just fine in here... Hey, isn’t that a symptom?”

 

Leila’s eyes lit up. “Oh, yeah, that’s right! It is a symptom!” They looked at each other excitedly for a few seconds before racing each other to their room. Once they closed the door, they both basically squealed in excitement.

 

“I can’t believe it, it’s actually happening!” Leila could barely understand Rena since she was talking so fast. “You’re actually getting sick! Oh my gosh!”

 

Leila smiled. “Yeah, my throat is starting to feel sore too.” That only lit up more excitement in Rena’s eyes.

 

“That’s amazing! Lemme get some blankets. We can sit on the couch and watch TV. That’s what I heard people used to do when sick.” Rena ran away, coming back on a few seconds later with bundles of blankets in her hands. She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, flipping it between stations before she found a random show to watch. She threw a blanket to Leila, which landed on her face.

 

“Give me more warning next time, will you?” Leila asked, grinning. She unfolded it and wrapped it around herself. Rena flopped down right next to her.

 

“Never.” She grinned right back. “Tell me when you get more symptoms, okay?”

 

Leila nodded. They sat like that for a little over an hour, Rena only getting up to get them water. The symptoms progressed slowly but surely, her sore throat now starting to throb, a slight cough worsening, and now, her nose ran and tickled slightly.

 

Rena came back with the water, setting it down on the table in front of them. “Your face is pale,” she commented, sitting down next to her. “And your eyes are red. How is it coming along?”

 

“Throat got sorer,” Leila croaked out. “If my voice wasn’t an indicator of that already.” She sniffed.

 

“How bad is it?” Rena asked.

 

“Not too bad... just hard to speak.” She picked up her water and drank down half of it; she expected it to make her throat feel better, but it instead made it burn. “Ow. That hurt.”

 

“I’m sorry it hurts.” Rena rubbed her arm. “It’s still exciting, right?”

 

“Of course.” Leila cracked Rena a smile. “Just a bit more painful than I thought.”

 

“Well, that’s good.” Rena wrapped herself back in her blankets. “We still have a bit more time before lights out. Wanna stay up for a while?”

 

Leila nodded. They returned to their spot on the couch, Leila occasionally coughing. When it was time for lights out, the tickle in her nose had intensified to an uncomfortable itch, and she could feel mucus in the back of her throat every time she coughed.

 

“Tell me if you need anything, okay?” Rena said to Leila as they made their way to their bedrooms. Leila nodded, closing the door to her room and lying down on her bed. She coughed as she got under the covers, thinking it was going to be a long night.

 

When she tried to go to sleep, a cough would disrupt her from her tranquil state and she would have to start all over again. And her nose was starting to give her trouble, too: she felt like she had to sneeze constantly, but it never came out, making her even more uncomfortable.

 

Eventually, she got to sleep, but only for a few hours. She woke up, coughing, when the clock read 2 AM, unable to go back to sleep. And as quick as the cough came, so did the unbearable itch in her nose, almost burning her sinuses. No longer was her nose running, but now, she couldn’t breathe out of it. And breathing through her mouth made the itch grow even worse, making her breath hitch in anticipation for a sneeze.

 

“No, no, no,” she whispered to herself. Unfortunately for her, her sneezes were loud. Not incredibly loud, but enough to wake Rena up. She didn’t want to do that; that would be embarrassing enough than her being sick already, relying on her friend to get stuff for her now. Rena must be tired. She couldn’t wake her up.

 

And yet her breath kept hitching, ignoring her. She scrambled for anything, anything that might muffle her sneeze, and she found nothing other than her pillow. But it was too late to even reach for that. She shoved her hand up against her nose, hoping that would be enough to keep quiet.

 

“Huh’ETSHOO!” The sneeze echoed faintly throughout the room, giving Leila a near heart attack. No, no, no. If her sneeze was that loud to echo, she could only hope Rena  was in a deep phase of sleep.

 

And unfortunately, she wasn’t even done. Her eyes were squeezing shut against her will for another, her breath hitching frantically. She would have to stifle, even if it would hurt. She just couldn’t wake anybody up.

 

“Huh-Huh’ETchmp! Eh-ehcmp!” She let out an exhale, partially from holding air in and partially from relief. The itch was only slightly gone, but enough for now.

 

She tried slipping back under her cover, but as soon as she moved, the burning was back. A flame lit in her sinuses, giving her no time to react.

 

“Huh’ETSHOO!” No, this wasn’t happening. No, no- “Huh... Huh... HUH’ETCHOO!” Even with her hands covering her nose, the sneeze was still loud enough to travel throughout her entire room. She shoved her fist against her nose, trying to calm the violent itch, but her breath continued to hitch uncontrollably. No, no, this couldn’t be happening. No...

 

She heard footsteps making her way to her room, and her heart starting racing. She really had woken Rena up, hadn’t she? She was a complete idiot: she should’ve covered her nose sooner, she should’ve stayed put. There was no way the itch could’ve been gone that fast, was here? She was so stupid-

 

A knock came from her door. “Leila, you okay?” Came Rena’s voice from the other side of the door. Leila cursed herself.

 

“Y-Yeah, I’m fuh... huh...” Leila pinched her nose shut for extra measure, exhaling the air she had inhaled. “I’m fuh-fine...”

 

“Are you sure?” Rena asked skeptically. “Do you need anything? I could get you-“

 

“Nuh-No, Rena, it’s... huh... I’m...” Leila pressed down on her upper lip with a single finger: it was a trick that had worked for her during allergy season the few times she had forgotten her medication. Apparently it was a muscle or it was a nerve that triggered something that prevented sneezing. Whatever it was, it wasn’t working so well. “I’m just... fuh... huh... Just... HUH-echmp! Just fuh-fine...”

 

“...Leila?” Rena asked after a few seconds. Leila wanted to tell her to go away, before she sneezed again, but of course that was a bad idea, since Rena just genuinely wanted to know what was wrong. And Leila didn’t want to brush her off like that.

 

“Whuh-What is it?” Leila asked, her finger still pressed against her lip.

 

“Honestly, can I get you anything? Like cough drops? I know you were coughing a lot before bed, so maybe that’s why you’re still up...”

 

“Uh...” Leila didn’t know how to respond. It was a simple question, really; why should she be frozen like this? It just sounded so... nice. Even though she’d known Rena since forever. She debated what to say. And in that state, her finger drifted off her lip, relighting the fire in her sinuses. She quickly realized what she had done and put it back, but it was too late now. “I-I’m... huh... I-I... HUH’ETSHOO! Huh-!” She desperately put her fist against her nose, but it wasn’t enough to stop her sneeze from coming out. “Huh-huh... HUH’ETSHHH!”

 

“Leila, you’re not okay,” Rena said, matter-of-factly. “I’m coming in.”

 

“No, d-don’t- huh’etSHOO!” A sneeze cut her off mid-sentence, and by that time, Rena had already come in the room, and sat down on the bed next to her. They stared at each other for a few seconds, making Leila feel even more guilty. “...I’m sorry.” She looked away from Rena.

 

“Sorry for what?” Rena asked. “You’re just sick. What else can you do?”

 

“Um, not wake you up?” Leila suggested. “Ugh, I just... I really hate bothering people, a-and...” She felt another sneeze coming, and she rubbed her nose, keeping the fist there to try to prevent it. Had she sneezed in front of Rena before? She couldn’t remember, but if she had, it must’ve been as embarrassing as this situation. “M-My sneezes are really... huh... loud...”

 

“No, they’re not,” Rena said. “Honestly, I couldn’t hear them from across the hallways.”

 

“R-Really?” Leila asked. Rena nodded, confirming it. Leila let out a tiny sigh of relief. “Well, thuh-that’s good. I-I’ve always been... huh... a little self-conscious about... huh... my... huh’ETSHOO!... well, that...” She let out a nervous laugh.

 

“There’s no reason to be,” Rena comforted. “It’s not like you can control them, anyways.”

 

“Your sneezes probably aren’t loud, though. You’re small.”

 

“So are you!” Rena shot back lightheartedly. “Well, I’m gonna get back to bed. You should too.” Rena hugged her, sending light flutters through Leila’s body. She stood up and got to the door, turning back to Leila. “Good night.” She closed the door.

 

Leila sat there for a few seconds, in slight shock. “...Well, that didn’t turn out as bad as I thought...” Leila mumbled to herself as she got back under her covers, and waited for sleep to come.

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