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Template:Influenza X[]

Trees everywhere.

That’s what I see every time I relax. The beauty of nature envelops my soul every time. I never worry myself on trivial matters like finance or politics. Every time someone brings that up in a discussion, I just walk away and find my happy place.

Breathe in… Breathe out…

A single drop of water can cause the largest ripples in a pond; just as any negative emotion can spread like a disease through the sacred waters of our consciousness. That’s why I purge every bad thought, every horrid idea, every negative notion from my hallowed mind. My brain is a temple for my soul, and I have to keep it clean.

I’m a park cleaner named Adrien Albescu. My job is simple. I clean. Whether it be metaphysical or tangible, I clean. I allow my senses to guide me to the filth that those swines we call humans leave behind in these sacred grounds. I’m getting negative thoughts again.

Breathe in… Breathe out…

I had no time for complaining over the continuous plummet that humanity has been suffering. I had a park to clean. As I cleaned the scraps left behind by naughty children and the swill of neglecting adults, I found myself getting into a perfect rhythm. Pick, throw, repeat. Pick, throw, repeat. The sounds of nature formed a percussion-like beat as I cleaned to the rhythm. Pick, throw, repeat. Pick, throw, repeat.

I tidied the park to the harmonious flow of nature’s musical talent. As I picked the last bit of muck in the park, I felt the warmth of the pre-dusk sun falling below the horizon. It was time to head home.

That’s when things went wrong.

While I was heading home that day, I felt something was amiss. I peered around my shoulders. The full moon painted the world below in a soft, luminescent glow. Just then, I felt a strange sensation, almost like nature was calling me. I felt…attracted towards the Hoia-Baciu forest. I had no choice but to see why I felt drawn to this forest. The foliage blocked the moon’s glow further down, but there was just enough light for me to see where I was going.

That’s when I saw the mist. This mist had an… I can’t even think of the right word… uncanny glow to it. It painted the forest in an eerie, spectral picture. As I walked further through the brush, I felt an unexplainable tingling sensation in my throat. I remembered the stories of this place; how people who went here never returned.

I was getting too nervous. Breathe in… Breathe out… Better.

The further I went, the further lost I became. I couldn’t tell where my house was through all of that damned mist! There was…something wrong about that mist. I couldn’t tell what, but I knew something was dreadfully wrong.

The woodland declined further into darkness with every minute that passed. I could barely see my hand in front of my face. As I finally believed all hope was lost, a small light shone within the woods. Finally, a way out! I hoisted myself up and clawed my way to the light; the light growing and swelling more and more. As I was halfway there, however, I heard a siren singing out into the darkness. Dim at first, but louder and more thunderous it grew, until it swelled to an almost deafening shriek.

Breathe in…Breathe out…Breathe in…Breathe out…

My eyes couldn’t fathom what they were seeing.

I was standing in the middle of what could only be described as nuclear fallout. The mist still tugging at my lungs, I read the sign in front of the tattered wasteland around me: Romanian Disease Research Facility B. They must have had to bomb the place… but why? The mist seemed to surround the place… was it radioactive or something?

Fearing for the worst, I dashed back to town through the forest. I hoped that I didn’t get any radiation from that.

The concrete was tapping beneath my feet with every step to slow step I made. I found it harder to breathe; it was almost like a cork was shoved down my throat. I felt it getting harder to think, harder to see. I asked everyone around what’s going on, where that fallout zone had come from and why it didn’t spread that far.

“Please, you have to help me! I saw a fallout zone in the Hoia-Baciu forest! Please, please help!” But no one listened. Vision getting darker, lungs getting heavier, actions getting increasingly lethargic. The last thing I saw was the police officer getting on the phone in a panic like it was an emergency.

A hospital. That’s where I was. I must’ve blacked out, because I had a breathing tube attached to my face and IVs attached to my arm. “We might have to run more tests. Who knows what else this virus can do?” I heard someone say behind a muffled filter. Virus? What virus? I tried to look around, see my surroundings, but I couldn’t get up. My body wouldn’t move.

A kind and beautiful young lady wearing a medical mask stepped in who I could only guess was the nurse. “Hi there, Patient 0! I see you’re awake! Don’t worry, I’m going to run some quick tests on you in order to further assess your condition and figure out what’s making you sick, ok?”

Patient 0? No, my name is Adrien. Why are you calling me Patient 0? She ran a blood test, a breathing test, and a neurological scan. All in order to help figure out more about this ‘illness’ I apparently had. As she was performing these tests, I noticed the file on my side desk. It read, “Influenza X.” W-what? The flu? The flu isn’t this bad. Why would a doctor be testing for this version of the flu? Why am I Patient 0? Then I realized it: the mist. Something about that fallout… maybe it wasn’t a fallout, but a way to eradicate a disease gone wrong. A mutation of the flu that spread through the forest like a mist. My face turned pale as I realized now what ‘Patient 0’ meant.

More people have arrived. They were all people I talked to before my blackout. The officer… my neighbors… my friends. I… I infected them all…

I could feel a faint dizzy spell taking me over. I finally drifted away, closing my eyes as my mind returned to the images of my friends, my peers, my people; all taken over by this illness I brought to them in my own foolishness. As my final breath was taken, I felt a strange sensation at the back of my spine; almost like a tickle.

I woke up in the same hospital, the lights were dimmed to an almost pitch-black radiance as I sat up. The walls were awfully dirty and tainted.

Wait. I sat up? My binds were gone! The IVs were out! Come to think of it, I could breathe just fine and I didn’t have any scars from the IV at all! Was this all a dream? Was I in heaven? The midday luminescence of the glass window was scarcely visible through the enclosed blinds; denying them any entry.

The heart monitor (as expected) was only droning a long, drawn out *BEEP* in response to the null input of the electrodes that lay limp by the side of the stand. As I was trying to find a light to turn on, something occurred to me. Why hadn’t the nurse come to check on me? The monitor is tracked remotely by the hospital staff, so why didn’t they come to take my body out?

Come to think of it, where WAS everybody?

I decided to investigate; hoping that something terrible didn’t happen. The door handle was covered with rust and sweat; it didn’t seem like it was fresh either. How long had I been out? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? As the door extended into the dark void of the hallway that laid before me, I realized something was wrong. Horribly wrong.

The darkness was choking me. I couldn’t see a goddamn thing! As I fumbled my way through the dark hallway, I felt my foot kick something. As I bent down to grab it, my face blanched. It was a pistol. An oozing liquid was squelching and squeezing in my hands as I picked it up. Then out of nowhere, I licked the liquid. It… it was blood.

And it tasted great.

What the hell? Why was I acting like this? I just licked human blood! Stop. I was getting too emotional. I needed to calm down.

Breathe in…

Breathe out…


I shook those thoughts out of my head and pressed on into the darkness. As I felt the structure of the pistol, I noticed that a tactical light was strapped to it. What luck! I quickly turned it on, and continued to press forward. Even with the light, the end of the hallway was impossible to see, the light apparently only designed for spotting targets. As I looked around I noticed streaks of blood along the walls; the mist carved intricate patterns on the wall with an almost snake-like movement. No people anywhere, no sign of any life. No matter how hard I looked, which room I checked, I couldn’t find anyone. Finally, it felt as if the end of the hallway was there, the elevator at the end of it glowing with the faint glow of the elevator lights on the other side of the door. Finally, I could get out of here and get help!

Suddenly, the door crashed open with the growl of a massive, inky black, tentacle-ridden creature thrusting its way into the quiet hallway, its gaping jaws and rows of teeth clearly visible even from the few feet I was standing. I quickly raised my pistol, the light allowing me to identify it as a magnum. I prayed to the Lord almighty, if there was one, to let there be bullets in this gun, and I let a shot loose.

The body of a dead police officer lay before me. The hallway was ridden with the cadavers of the patients of this hospital, the staff… everyone. The destruction I caused… the destruction IT caused…

It was so…beautiful.

Why was I thinking these thoughts? I…these weren’t my thoughts! I wasn’t a harmful person!

What the hell is going on?

What the hell is wrong with me?

This isn’t ME!

Just as quick as it appeared, the light of the hallway dissipated; leaving me to fend off the demon in my mind.

It’s so dark now… I can’t breathe, but I have to keep trying. I’m a cleaner. I can fight this. It’s just like any grime. I just have to take a few deep breaths, and purge my mind of this vile illness.

Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe… in… Br… eathe… out…

Written by The Anonymous Crouton
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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Tewahway (Talk) 17:17, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[]

Alrighty, I just finished reading your story, and I like the plot as a whole. Semi-misanthropic Romanian groundskeeper gets lost in the world's most haunted forest. I certainly don't feel as though this is quite ready for posting in its current form though. I have a few points that I'll cover, some objective, others subjective.

  • Clickbait “nosleep-esque” title. I'm not a big fan of long, overly explanatory titles. There's currently a discussions post where plenty of users (myself included) are kinda griping about how bland and uncreative these titles are. If your planning to post this to r/nosleep, it's an okay fit though.
  • Right after you introduce the character, there’s a sharp change in tense. It makes the flow a little bit awkward. Perhaps give us a reason why the tense changes? Make it clear that Gary is telling us of something that happened, rather than simply diving in. You can do this by showing, rather than telling, using certain types of language.
“While I was heading home that day…” for example, used later in your story, is a good way of continuing the flow of ‘storytelling’ without outright stating you’re telling a story (but circumstantially you’ve made it clear that you’re already doing a recounting of events, by switching tense, abruptly).
Consider the differences between “I’m going to tell you what happened to me last week…” and “Things all changed that peculiar day last week…” From both instances you can kinda jump into a past tense, story-telling, writing style. They’re both telling, but the latter has more elements of showing.
  • “I found myself get into a perfect rhythym” very awkward sentence to read. Maybe change "get" to "getting", or try to rephrase the sentence in a more fluid way. Also rhythm is spelled with only one y.
  • “I’d never tried this route before, usually just taking a taxi, but I felt like it would be better to walk through nature.” Why? You’ve illustrated Gary already as somewhat misanthropic, preferring the company of nature to that of his fellow man. Why only now is he choosing to take a nature stroll, rather than a cab?
  • “The foliage blocked the moon’s glow further down, but there was just enough light for me to see where I was going.” Again, why? Why is he continuing going through what is debatably the world’s most haunted forest, at night time, with no source of light…?
  • A more subjective nitpick here, but “...Sleepy-Hollow-esque picture.” seems like a strange comparison to draw for a Romanian groundskeeper.
  • “I remembered the stories of this place; how people who went here never returned.” Once again, going back to that good ol’ question: Why? He knew of the forest's reputation; of mysterious disappearances, yet chose to stroll through it, vulnerable and alone?
  • The ending paragraph takes another abrupt jump back to present tense, albeit somewhat more fluidly than the previous instance. We’re left with even more questions, or rather, the same question, many more times. Why? Why is he writing? Why didn’t he take a cab? Why did he go through the notoriously dangerous and haunted woods?
  • The ending itself feels very abrupt, like a lot happens all at once. It’s very demanding of the reader’s imagination to try to sort out how he just *BAM* is now apparently in some scene of pure desolation and destruction (not to mention trying to envision what it is he sees).

Elements that I liked:

  • The repetition. It feels as though you paint him as a methodical and calculated individual. From his "Pick, throw, repeat" to his self-soothing breathing method. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who just whimsically wanders into a dark forest, at night, with no light source, though.
  • The beginning. Once again coming back to you illustrating the character that is "Gary". There's a lot of flowery, unnecessarily verbose words, but they're coming out of his mouth, which helps us garner an understanding of Gary's character.
  • Character development. Further capitalizing on my other two points, in a short amount of time, it feels like we know quite a bit about who Gary is, and how he would act. His actions begin to quickly betray the Gary we first met, leading us to wonder what happened to him (before the forest even starts to muck around with his head).

All in all, there's some good stuff here. I wouldn't take the time to go over it in so much detail if I didn't think you had good elements here to work with. I look forward to seeing how you polish this story.

~~It's a great concept ~~[]

FYI I'm not a very picky critic when it comes to things like stories or movies so just a heads up.

I liked the story's concept but not really the title. Maybe try a shorter title next time. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I didn't see any grammar or punctuation mistakes and I was hooked on the story. However, I don't really like the fact that it was the guy explaining the story and it ending where we found out that it's a diary or book he wrote in. It doesn't make sense that he writes breathe in and breathe out with spaces and dots. Other than that, I do like the story and it's concept.