Sunday May 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the plague.

Why, yes, I do have a cold right now. Why do you ask?

I'd almost lost my voice by the time I had to read Max his bedtime story tonight. So maybe I should get to bed myself and maybe try to feel better in the morning?

My parents got into town this evening. Had a short get together with them here after dinner and we're planning on meeting them at the park tomorrow morning.

Assuming I'm still alive.


We thought we would be prepared. That all the policies and procedures would keep our country safe. Keep us safe. Quarantines. Medicine and doctors of the highest quality. We thought we would see it coming.

We were not prepared.

Not for this.

How could it remain dormant within the carriers for so long, yet remain so unrelentingly contagious? Why would it do that? For maximum dispersal and impact, certainly. But was it purposeful?

Does it have intelligence?

Does it know what it's doing?

Is it trying to wipe us off the face of the Earth?

Well, it's doing a bloody fine job of it so far...


Greg said...

You overreact to colds you know. Even if they do turn into laryngitis :-P
Hmm, most plagues would try and kill off about 80% of the population so that the survivors can recover and then the plague can start again. So I'd say you've got yourself an intelligent or bio-engineered plague on your hands, and you're in trouble. I bet the symptoms start off like a cold and then seem to turn into laryngitis...

The plague
I took the urchins down to the cellar again today. I set Quill to guard at the top of the steps, hoping that it was an unnecessary precaution... but then I took Teller down with us as well and tried to pretend to myself that I wasn't really scared of things. Or at least, not more scared of what might be around here than I am of the steam-dogs. The cellar stank still, which wasn't really a surprise, and it seemed damper than it had been. I wondered if Cecily had been doing something to make it less damp, but when i considered her sprawled on that filthy mattress, her hair tangled and matted to the point where it seemed to weigh her head down, I realised that she'd not been in any fit state for anything. The mattress was still there, black with rot and stinking as badly as the cellar. We hauled it up the steps, the thing three times heavier than it should have been with the damp and mould, and set fire to it in the yard.
It exploded in a ball of pink light and a smell like the death of roses washed over us. The heat was like sunburn, but it faded away after only seconds, and all that was left on the ground were dried mould spores.
"Phlogiston," I said after a few moments, checking with my fingers to see if my eyebrows had survived. "The mattress must have been soaked in phlogiston."
We went back down again and started cleaning: buckets, mops, cloths and disinfectants. My arms ached after a half-hour, but the urchins weren't complaining so neither could I. Slowly we beat back the dirt and grime and ordure of the cellar, turning it into a room where you might safely store things. We broke for lunch and sat outside, partly for the light and fresh air, and partly so I could see if the fireball had attracted attention from the gendarmerie. It seemed they hadn't seen it.
We finished cleaning the cellar a little after dark, and I locked the door until the next morning, when we went down and whitewashed it. The smell of the paint was overwhelming after a while so it took us longer, with many breaks, to complete, but we got there. Finally I could look around, holding a torch up high, and admire our work. A small voice in the back of my mind whispered that if I'd done this sooner Cecily might still be alive.
The phlogiston leak had already stained the whitewash the next morning, a purple black spot like plague creeping across a body. I wiped it off, and painted over it, but it returned again the next morning, and the next.

Marc said...

Greg - I take my Man Colds very seriously, thank you very much.

Also: thank you for your encouraging words :P

Jeez, I'm loving this tale of yours. And all that hard work for potentially nothing? Or at least still requiring daily touch ups. I'd suggest trying to fix the leak but... that doesn't seem like it would end well for anybody.

Except maybe the urchins. They seem resourceful enough to manage it.