It was like any autumn afternoon.  
High humidity, bright sun. Life bustling as usual.  
I was on my way to work when I began to feel the first signs of discomfort. An isolated chill; pins on my bones. A gentle touch was enough to rattle the shield. I couldnít have known what was to follow. In the middle of my day, the chill had transformed into a full-blown fever. Rising heat. Spiking pain. Every step, a test of strength. It wasnít my first rodeo so I persisted. Little did I know, that my journey back home was going to introduce me to a new circle of hell.  
Crippling pain had encompassed me completely by the time I started heading back home. It was pouring rain. No cabs in sight. 30 minutes till the train station on foot. The shivers that started out on the surface had slowly dug their roots deep into my crumbling core. At the train stationís platform, the crowds were relentless. 4 trains later, I managed to find one that gives me enough wiggle room to suffer alone. No point in alarming anyone the tragedy unfolding within. The wind chill dropped steadily as night fell. The steam rising from me did little to offset the cold. At this point Iím the only suspended corpse in a bogey full of potential viral vectors trying my best to appear tired and not sick. After what seemed like a decade long train journey I arrived at my destination to see the situation unchanged. It hasnít stopped raining and I once again find myself wading through a war with no hope in sight. So far I had spent an hour in waiting believing a chariot from heaven would arrive to rescue me but hell was already here. If I had waited any longer, Iíd probably have to check myself into a hospital directly off the street.  
When I finally managed to get home, the relief washed over me like the fever I was doused in. Drops of sweat vapourising. My flesh, numb and overwhelmed by the heat and pain. Disorientation setting in. The sudden rise in temperature making my head throb. I burned myself in liquid fire hoping that my body could at least begin to feel something. But the more I scorched the worse the pain returned. When I was done and out of the shower, I decided to tally the damages. The water still evapourating off my skin. This wasnít normal. 104.1. How long had I been here? How long did this feel the same? My stomach collapsed. Every muscle in my core and back, unraveled in unison. Like a mummy unbound, I settled into my warm shell. Floating in the lava and embalming fluid, waiting for a reprieve. When was the last time I had felt such pain? I couldnít remember. All I knew was that this was clear and present. And that I had an interesting night in store.  
I can eat. No matter what happens I can always eat. Food is not a choice. Itís a necessity. And though I had begun to lose taste, my belly screamed for sustenance. And like a champ I ate my fill. Time to fold into myself and hit the sack for a night of recovery. At least that was the plan. But a couple of minutes into lying down made me realise that this was no ordinary fever. I was going to need help. A cold compress, some painkillers and a lot of determination. The night was terrifying. The number of times I felt my soul exit my body is quite disturbing. Iím pretty sure I rose to the ceiling with the heat. I have never experienced anything like this before. For a moment, at midnight, I became the sun. I think, at one point, the compress dried out just a few seconds after it was placed on my forehead. And I remember touching it and wondering if I or my mother had forgotten to dip it into the water. I couldnít tell what was happening around me. No focus. No comprehension. Pure electric suffering. Like every nerve cell in the body had misfired and there was a massive short-circuit raging through me. I donít recall if my fever rose, fell or stayed the same throughout the night but there were moments where just for a few minutes at a time my body felt like it was submerged in a pool of plasma within the heart of a furnace. Every inch of movement, a rending whip. Every breath, hell fire. In all my years of good and bad health, never has a fever this strong reared its head or revealed to me the fragility of the human body.  
I look forward to fever dreams. I love them. The chaos, the delusions, the confusion. Psychotic nightmares that keep you on edge. I adore the madness. But this night, like no other night ever before, was nothing to revel in. The dream that followed my life threatening temperature tantrum was an exercise in mental torment. In what seemed like the inside of a human brain, countless individuals exercised opinions and built structures with thought. Neuron based constructions of values and states of being. Data that gives form to who you are and what you do. Only, there is endless redundancy. And the pillars keep rising from the bottom slowly choking up the entire space. The cerebral storage runs out when the pillars reach the ceiling. But the more I think about whatís important the sooner the space fills up with pillars of useless information. And breaking them down isnít an option because you need new connections to overwrite the old ones. I am forced to work with only whatís accessible and available. Slowly drained of all creative thought, I am left to empty out my head until nothing fills it up. Snapping out of this dream wasnít enough either. The pain had started working its way into my nerves and I had no choice but to ride it out. All I could do now was continue the dream until I found a way to solve it with the hand I was dealt or wait till the first wave of the fever breaks and gives me a little room to breathe.  
At 5 am the next day, 12 and a half hours since it first crept up on me, I caught my first break. The first wave of the fever and body pain had subsided. The morning visit to the doc was enlightening. Temperature: 102.3. Compared to the night before this felt like a warm blanket. A test revealed to me my misfortune. There was more to come. How much more, I couldnít even imagine.
Written by 13
Published | Edited 20th Sep 2022
Author's Note
Posted on September 8, 2022
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