Blond Hair

It started with a single long blond hair. A student nurse named Eileen MacArthur found a long hair growing out of her left arm which had apparently appeared overnight. More were to follow. They sprouted on her arms, her legs, her back and even her face, until her entire body was covered with a soft yellow pelt.

She ended up being admitted to the same hospital where she had been training. But despite their best efforts, the staff struggled to diagnose any cause for her symptoms. In fact, her health was better than it had ever been. She was stronger, felt more alert and was more energetic than before. She even found that she no longer needed the glasses she had worn since childhood.

If it wasn’t for the hair she would have been happy to discharge herself and get back to her life. But the hair was a problem. It had grown thick and woolly, more like an animal’s fur than human hair and it didn’t show any signs of going away. If she tried to cut or shave a section it grew back within hours. Eventually she gave up and let it grow.

Her condition attracted a great deal of medical attention which she tolerated. Unshakable as she was in the belief that sooner or later there would be a cure. The doctors joked about what to call her strange syndrome. There was even some suggestion that her condition might yield a cure for male pattern baldness.  At the time there were no other known cases and it was regarded as a unfortunate, but ultimately harmless curiosity.

Then came the behavioural changes. First she became uncommunicative and distrustful of her carers. She would regarded them warily when they approached her. She was reluctant to accept treatment, especially injections. Then her suspicion boiled over into open hostility and she bit a ward sister as she tried to fit her with an I/V drip.

The infection took hold more quickly in this second victim. After she failed to turn up for a shift a friend called by her home to check up on her; she was attacked and bitten for her trouble. Sensibly, the friend went straight back to A and E to have the bite looked at, but by the time she got there she already had a light covering of hair and was becoming increasingly aggressive.

She bit five people before she could be sedated. Their symptoms were apparent within minutes. The speed at which the infection took hold was increasing as the virus evolved, refining itself with each fresh carrier.

Of those five new victims, only three could be sedated in time. The other two raged through the hospital, biting and clawing at anyone who crossed their path and leaving new carriers in their wake. In less than an hour the whole facility was either infected or cowering behind barricaded doors.

Eventually a call got through to someone who knew how to deal with the situation, and soon soldiers in chemical warfare gear arrived to storm the building. By the early hours of the next morning all the infected had either been killed or removed under sedation to wherever the government takes people who can’t be left to roam free. The surviving staff and patients were examined thoroughly and finally told they were free to go although they were requested to stay in the country.

Then someone remembered the ward sister, still at home, still infected. A team was dispatched immediately to hunt her down.

But by then it was too late.