Hello, Hearties! Welcome to #FanFictionFriday! But before we get to that, I think it only fitting to mention that extremely important announcement Erin made on Wednesday! YAY!!!! We’re all going back to Hope Valley in less than a month! Are you excited? Because I’m THRILLED! That also means that Sarah and I have less than a month to bring you our next story before we’re proven wrong by the real plot lines. 😀

One note about this story: When I interviewed the birthday twins, Ben and Andrea, one of the questions was, “If you could write one storyline for your character, what would it be?” Apparently Ben’s idea for her was “BRILLIANT”, because she wanted it for her own answer:

“I’m envisioning an episode in which an outbreak of some illness renders many in the town out of commission — including Dr. Carson! Now Faith has to rally the healthy members of the town and organize the medical response to save the day!”

(For both of the full interviews, go to the links in the comments.)

Well, Andrea, (and Ben,) WISH GRANTED! We bring you our version of that dream’s fulfillment. Sarah thought of this fantastic idea, and we wrote it together. And with the hiatus, we had just enough time to tell it to all of you! So, may I present “Romance: Quarantined” Part 1 by Sarah Nitsch and Kami Clements.

 

 

Carson peered into the dark abyss that was Old Man Bartlett’s mouth, trying to deduce the reason for his ailing throat and fevered brow. It was definitely enflamed. And what was that right…

A cough erupted out of nowhere from the older gentleman’s throat. Carson squinted his eyes shut, and snapped his head back, but too late. Well, it wasn’t the first time he’d been coughed on; it certainly wouldn’t be the last. He made a mental note to give his face a thorough washing later.

“Sorry, Doc. Didn’t feel that one coming.”

“That’s quite alright, Mr. Bartlett. Just part of the job.” Carson reached for his clipboard, and started making notes in the old man’s already-full file. “Well, you certainly have a sore throat,” Carson observed lightly. “When did this start?”

“ ‘Bout two days ago,” was the answer.

Too early for any diagnosis, Carson thought, but he nodded. “We’ll give you something to help bring that fever down, and some tablets to ease your throat. Nurse Carter, would you bundle those up please?”

Faith immediately scooted her chair back from her paperwork, and cheerfully began collecting the medication. Carson smiled, and stopped to watch her a moment, then shook himself back to the present with Mr. Bartlett. “Careful not to take more than one tablet a day for your throat,” he warned, “or you might start to crave it. I also saw some phlegm. With your history of weak lungs, we’ll want to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t build up, and obstruct your breathing.”

Faith appeared beside him with the package, and held them out with her signature smile. “That will be $0.45 for both. And that includes the visit too,” she said as she handed it over.

Old Man Bartlett’s face became drawn with worry. He dug through his pockets, and studied its contents. “Would it be alright for me to give you $0.20 now, and the rest later?”

Carson gave an understanding smile, and held out his hand for the coins. “Of course.”

“Thanks, Doc,” Mr. Bartlett said, and dropped the money into Carson’s waiting hand. With that, he got to his feet, a little unsteady, and made his way out the door. “See ya soon,” he called, without turning his head.

Faith closed the door behind him, then turned with an admiring smile. “Well done,” she complimented as she coyly approached Carson.

“Well, I do have a way with the elderly,” he playfully responded. Faith reached up on tiptoe to kiss him. He gently pushed her shoulder back down, but his eyes glowed with her attempt. “You may not want to. Old Man Bartlett just coughed all over my face. I need to wash up.”

“Oh. Well, we can’t be responsible for starting an epidemic now, can we?” she smoothed the arms of his white coat. “It’ll be worth the wait.” She smiled again, and went back to her paperwork, her eyes not leaving his until the last possible moment.

Carson sighed happily, and went to clean his face. Life couldn’t get any better!

 

FIVE DAYS LATER

Could things be any worse?! Carson and Faith scurried from patient to patient, administering quinine to keep their fevers down, and trying to make everyone comfortable. Carson rubbed at the soreness in his throat, and wiped the sweat from his brow as he knelt and tried to look down Maggie Lawson’s throat, despite her feverish tossing and turning. “ I’m fine,” he insisted to himself. He sorrowfully looked at Maggie’s pained face. He’d saved this little angel when he’d first come to town from a runaway wagon. He couldn’t let her die now!

What was this illness? Carson tried to concentrate, but his head ached, and his brain felt addled. In the last five days, fourteen people had been reported sick. The school had been closed, and Lucas Bouchard had generously offered the saloon as a makeshift hospital with the number of invalids continuing to rise. Carson accepted instantly, and quarantined the place, hoping to stop it spreading.

He looked around to see Opal, Emily, Cody, Robert, Ned Yost, Mr. Bartlett, and Mrs. McCormick among so many others. Opal had come two days ago with an enflamed throat. Mrs. McCormick had been here four; she had the same gray spot he’d seen in Mr. Bartlett before he…Carson’s eyes grew wide as he slowly stood up. Before he’d coughed on him! Now there was a gray film coating his entire mouth. And most of the ill were either children, or getting on in years.

He knew! He knew what it was! He also knew how to cure it. They had to act fast! Carson almost turned to go tell Faith what was plaguing everyone, but stopped cold. His hand went to his throat as the pain flared. The room swam before his eyes, his breath was short, and he tasted filmy residue in his mouth. Faith’s voice echoed in his ears, asking if he was alright. He took a shallow breath to answer her, then collapsed.

 

 

And with that, we leave you hanging on the cliff. 😀 What’s the disease? Come back next Friday and find out! Have a happy weekend with the knowledge that you’ll be seeing these lovely characters on your TV screens very soon. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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