pandemic - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
After the power winked out things got pretty crazy in the daytime. The looting wasn't just the disorderly few but the many, risking infection for tins of peas and bags of flour. I wasn't one of them. Not through higher morals or fear of infection. I loot whenever I can and if I was going to get it I would have gotten it from my parents. My parents who gave me two mutations and only one of them useful. The street lamps still worked then under their solar power, they still would if the bulbs and electronics weren't stolen. On those nights I could be seen under their yellow glow lugging car batteries back to the old bank. They just became valuable. Very. It wasn't long before others caught on and soon the gangs would kill for one. That's when I stopped looting them and went to the suburbs for kid's toys. Not to play. I'm not a kid. But for the batteries. The ones in the stores are long gone but I know all those Mommas had 'em stashed away for croaking frogs and remote control cars.
...There are still vestiges of the old culture, there are lines the majority won’t cross. But I’m sure you can see how that goes. It just leaves an opportunity for the darkest of minds to flourish providing what people cannot admit in the open they desire. I pity the parents, always watching their kids, fearful, paranoid. There are so many new uses for children and none of them are school. That’s why I’ll never have one. That and to breed would mean actual closeness to another person. Vulnerability is required, emotional and otherwise. Even at seventeen I’m not looking for a partner, ever. That’s just someone else to dig a shallow grave for and I won’t. I won’t risk joining the ranks of the insane, crying for their dead children or killing just for alcohol...
I am as powerless to stop this virus as I am to calm the bitter wind that whistles through the deserted streets. The looped warning from the radio still plays in my head, yet in reality the city stretches before me like a hushed prayer. This virus that spreads easier than malicious gossip has everyone cowering in their homes. But mother has called. Father is running a forty degree fever. She ordered me to stay away but I can't. This plague, natural or bio-engineered, has an over ninety percent kill rate. By rights it shouldn't spread like it does, through history these naturally efficient bugs burn out their victims too fast; they simply die before they can pass it on. Not this time apparently. This teflon coated, dehydration resistant, temperature immune package of death travels on the wind as effectively as springtime pollen. Hiding is futile. There is no-one on this earth I love more than my parents, I have no lover and no children to hide behind sealed doors.
Before the virus the city was always moving; cars, people, busses, trains. All those people making the organic part of the city, the part that determined the character and the structures. Those people dreamed of stadiums and theatres, they built ice-rinks and laid out parks with soccer pitches. They built churches, mosques and temples. There were hospitals, libraries, police stations, courts and jails. They made the roads wide and the tower blocks tall. Sometimes in the dark I can still hear the cars and imagine a street so busy I must weave between the people. Every other other Canadian was carrying a cup, or so it seemed, and the coffee shops sprang up faster than springtime weeds. Back then I wished there weren't so many people, trust me, that's not one you ever want to be granted. It was always quieter at night though, perhaps that's another reason I prefer it. But even then there were lights everywhere, from cars, restaurants, apartments and late-night shops.
This was alway a city of the haves and have-nots. There were those in West-Van with their exotic cars and luxury life style and those on Hastings Street, drug addled and abused. Of course there was a huge middle class that was neither. Working all their waking hours to give their kids ski lessons, music lessons, two sports clubs and foreign vacations. After the virus we were equal for a short time. Equal in our grief, our losses, our mental disarray. There was no shortage of nice homes to move into so long as you removed the dead. No amount of money could save you, you either won the genetic lottery or you didn't. The city was ghostly for those frozen weeks, no-one moved for fear of contracting the virus. Then hunger took over and the looting began. Cowering behind locked doors saved no-one, eventually it found a way in under the door or down the chimney. Most of the people who fled to the countryside came back too, no idea how to farm, no tolerance for the back breaking work.
They lie like dolls over the grass, limbs at awkward angles and heads held in such a way that they cannot be sleeping. These bodies, once the repositories of people as alive as I am, are now abandoned shells left to rot in the open. Who will bury them and weep salty tears onto their grave? Who will send them away with a love song and kiss the breeze that carries them heaven-bound? Likely no-one at all. Some will be consumed by the wildlife and others simply decay, slowly giving up their flesh to the soil and showing their white bones to the sun.
After all the losses there was no more sentimentality for the dead. It was easier if you didn't think of them as people at all. Indeed, our senses of humour became warped and darkly macabre. We laughed at their silly expressions and gave them rude names. We made up lines for them to say as we tossed them into the mass grave with the others. We stole from them without guilt. They were grey tinged regardless of race, blue lipped with blank stares. Our approach was irreverent, but it kept us sane. There is only so much horror you can take in and understand, after that your mind will snap. So we joke. Anyone who doesn't like it gets given the shovels and the rest of us walk away. No humour no helping, the curmudgeons soon come round to our way of thinking when there's people parts to dispose of.
Dead people have become so common place even children walk right over their sprawled limbs without breaking stride. Since the pandemic hit folks drop right where they walk, staggering for health care that just doesn't exist. Even the medics that survived the hospitals and clinics won't help for fear of becoming infected. It's a war with invisible bullets and no shooters and still we fall. There are encampments on the outskirts, beyond suburbia, each one with their own faction to protect them. No-one gets into those places and anyone foolish enough to leave isn't allowed back in.