I’ve been getting a strain of these really bad headaches lately. I’ve suffered from migraines for most of my life, but this is something else.

  It started about a week ago, after I got home from work. I had been suffering from what I thought was just a severe migraine all day. Yet somehow, I had managed to grit my teeth and complete my shift.

  I got home and popped two Excedrin before laying down on the couch with an icepack on my head and blindfold on my eyes. I turned the TV on just for some background noise and attempted to fall asleep. The pain was immense and seemed concentrated mostly on the crown of my skull. I rubbed my temples furiously and tried pinching a pressure point in my hand to relieve some of the pain. It helped a little, but the pain persisted.

  At some point I managed to fall asleep. When I awoke I found the pain a little more bearable, but still present. It was about 8PM by that point and I decided to make myself some food. I tossed some old Chinese food into the microwave and proceeded to the bathroom to relieve the mounting pressure on my bladder.

  When I turned on the light, I immediately noticed something peculiar. My left pupil seemed… different. It looked as though the pigment had begun to bleed out of the iris. My eyes are normally a sort of dull blueish-grey color, but now there was definitely a distinctive difference in color between them. As if the left eye had been diluted by something.

  My vision seemed fine, if not for slightly blurry from the headache. For those of you guys who regularly get migraines, you probably know what I mean when I say “tracers”. It’s like a slight smoky fog is seeping from everything you look at. It makes concentrating on anything a nightmare, and even light is enough to turn your stomach.

  I thought it was weird but ended up just assuming it to be some result of the headache. I assumed I just needed a good night sleep to fix my ailment. After scarfing a bit of leftovers and taking some Benadryl to help me sleep I settled down for bed. I really wish I would’ve taken the warning signs more seriously.

  My alarm stirred me from my sleep at 5am the next day, and much to my chagrin, I quickly realized the headache was back. I am pretty much a caffeine addict and assumed that the morning coffee would be enough to reconcile it. However, it didn’t help much if at all.

  I also felt shaky, and a bit overheated. By that point I was sure I had contracted the flu or something, and debated with myself about calling in sick to work. Unfortunately though, I don’t really have that luxury, and any time missed will make paying rent a difficulty.

  My left eye had also retained its lost coloration. The difference in color tint was even more pronounced, as my left eye now appeared much closer to grey than blue. I popped two more Excedrin, and luckily, I have some Vicodin left over from surgery on my wisdom teeth so I took one of those as well. After that I hopped in the shower and hoped it would be enough to quell the mounting storm in my brain.

  Work was absolute hell that day, and all of my preparation unfortunately did little to abate the throbbing in my head. Sweat poured from my skin and clung to me like glue, which would cool and then lead me to shiver. The headache also had seemed to spread, as my neck and even parts of my jaw seemed to ache. I made infrequent trips to the bathroom for bouts of vomiting and groaning. My vision was dreary and blurred, making even simple tasks exponentially more difficult. On top of all that my boss decided it was the appropriate time to chastise me for not completing a non-essential side project I had been assigned some time ago.

  By that point I was certain I had some sort of flu or cold. Must’ve downed a half dozen Dayquil that day trying to quickly rid my system of the sickness. Kathy eyed me suspiciously as I made regular trips to the first aid kit for medicine. She probably thought me some sort of junkie, but at the time I could not have care less. I have no idea how I was able to make it through that day. By the time 5 finally rolled around, I was ready to cry tears of joy.

  My symptoms had only gotten progressively worse all day, and my vision had become so blurred that it was difficult to see while driving home. Somehow, I finally made it though. I walked inside my squalid apartment and collapsed onto the couch, entirely drained from the agonizing day.

  I ordered a pizza for myself and plopped down on the couch with an ice pack. My head still felt like it was in a rock tumbler, so I took two more Excedrin and two more Vicodin in a futile attempt to relieve the pain. The pepperoni and jalapeno pizza arrived some time later, but I was only able to eat half a slice. My appetite was just non-existent. No doubt a combination of the illness and side effects of the painkillers. My left eye was also completely devoid of pigmentation, and it now stood as a simple matt grey color. The tracers had also gotten worse, blurring and obfuscating everything on my peripheries. It was a miracle I was able to fall asleep that night.

  As soon as my eyes opened the next day, an unbearable pain struck me like a baseball bat. My head ached worse than anything I had ever experienced. It was like someone was jamming a molten dagger into my brain and slowly twisting it. The aching had spread to encapsulate my entire body A cold sweat had coated my entire frame, and my hands trembled like jello.

  Work was simply out of the question, and there was no way that I would have been able to survive that. I called my boss and informed him. He of course was irritated, but I didn’t care. The pain was so immense that I was quite literally incapable of going in.

  Desperate, I downed more medication, but it didn’t help at all. In fact I honestly feel like it just made things much worse. I scrambled to the bathroom and proceeded to puke my guts out. At some point I caught a glimpse of my reflection and noticed the curious eye phenomenon had now begun to manifest in my right eye as well.

  My face was pale and desolate, like all the blood had been drained from it. My body temperature would regularly fluctuate from Sahara Desert to arctic circle in a matter of seconds. The stream of bile and bouts of writhing would not stop despite my best efforts, and a similar trend had begun from the downstairs exit as well. At a loss I crawled into the shower, and turned it on full blast. I switched back and forth from scalding hot to ice cold regularly as my body demanded. I must’ve laid in there for hours, feeling like death would’ve been a better alternative.

  Before anyone says anything, I know I should’ve gone to the doctor earlier. Still might not have saved me, but at least it would’ve given me a better chance. I only felt that was necessary though, after seeing blood and indiscernible chunks begin to show up in my vomit.

  That’s where I am now actually. I ended up calling 911 from my shower, knowing that I hadn’t the strength to drive myself in. I’m in the hospital bed now, writing this as dozens of frenzied doctors and CDC guys scramble outside the room. Plastic sheets and vacuum-sealed covers line the walls, and anyone who interacts with me is forced to dress head to toe in what appear to be hazmat suits.

  My symptoms have unfortunately only gotten worse. I don’t remember much from when they brought me in. They told me I’ve been here for a little over a day now. Luckily, they’ve managed to at least dull the pain slightly with some sort of steroid regiment, but who knows how long it will last. I’ve suffered multiple seizures since I’ve been here, as well as regular memory lapses.

  The doctors ran some blood tests on me a while ago and put me through a CATSCAN. Soon after they were able to surmise a diagnosis, so at least I have a name for my ailment. Meningitis, only… it’s not just that. I’m told by several of the doctors that it is genetically similar to meningitis, but the strain itself is unique. They tell me they’ve never seen anything like it, apparently no one has.

  The whole hospital seems to have been turned into a laboratory. The penicillin which has been pumped into my veins seems to have done nothing beneficial whatsoever. Groups of what I can only assume are scientists come and go regularly taking samples and jotting down notes. I’m basically just their petri dish at this point.

  It’s really not looking to good for me at this point, but I do think I know what’s going on now. I remember hearing a while ago that a lot of prominent scientists and pharmacists have voiced their concerns about societies overuse of antibiotics. People tend to abuse these medications regularly without even realizing it. A Tylenol for a slight headache, an Imodium for an upset stomach, penicillin for a small cut. This overuse of these medications and close proximity of society increases the chance that one of the viruses will mutate in order to become more resistant to them. I think this strange strain of meningitis that I have contracted is the first instance, and I am patient zero.

  It sucks, I won’t lie. I don’t want to die, but I’d gladly accept that fate over the horrendous pain returning again. Living like that is just not worth it. I can see the worry in everyone’s face as they interact with me. They are scared, and I don’t blame them.

  If anyone has been suffering from an unexplained series of intense headaches lately, then I suggest you contact a doctor right away. It might just save your life, or you might end up as a science experiment like I have. I feel my mind drifting, as if the binds between my body and spirit or whatever have started to become severed. Every once in a while, I get glimpses of strange dark figures around me. There like the tracers, but definitively humanoid in form. I don’t know if it’s a result of the disease, or… something else. All I know is I am tired of hearing them scream.

  My parents and younger sister came to visit me a little while ago. They were forced to don the hazmat suits, which made interacting difficult. They tried their best to keep me upbeat, and I tried to act like it was working, but all of us knew it was a lie. I can see the terror in their eyes, but I can also see something else in my sister’s left eye. Grey.