I didn’t think it was a big deal when I went to wipe my nose on my sleeve. Gross, I know, but I didn’t have a kleenex or tissue of any kind. As my sleeve cleaned everything, I looked around to see it anyone had responded to my sneeze.
I wouldn’t call my sneezes ‘monstrously loud’ like my sister says. Nor would I call them ‘the mating call of dying elephants in the desert’ like my cubical co-worker does. They can be loud, but no louder than anyone else’s. No different than anyone else’s sneeze.
I glanced around the room. Everyone was dead.
I stepped back, completely overwhelmed by disbelief. How did this happen? Did I just sneeze and kill everyone in my office?
My foot found unsure ground, sending me to the floor. I barely caught myself by grabbing onto the desk beside me. I turned to see what I had stepped on.
It was Mary. I had stepped on Mary’s hand. She was dead.
I pulled myself up, to peer over the cubicle walls. More were dead. Some slumped over onto their computers. Others face down on the floor.
Dear God, what had I done?