She had a cough. Deep. Wet. Ragged. They called it the creeping cough. Non-communicable to humans. Supposedly. And yet here she had it, and it was taking over her body. Already, fingers of the black fungus were reaching out from the corners of her mouth, which meant that the roots had long since buried themselves in her lungs.
Hence the cough. Hence the struggle for each subsequent, rasping breath.
She suspected the remainder of her life could now be numbered in terms of mere hours. That would have to be long enough. Long enough to make it mean something. Long enough to raise awareness in the others. Long enough to finally galvanize their sorry asses in action.
She staggered along the filthy alley, ignoring the off-world scavengers following her. They would get their fill of her soon enough.
[Originally published at Ficly.]