Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.
The grippe has returned to the solitary plains of the Lost Quarter, as it has in so many other domains. It wears new clothes and, like the dread lords of the old stories, has returned with new and terrible powers. Contrary to those tales, we will not be saved by joining together and making common cause to battle. Our shared cause must be to stand apart.
For those of us in the Lost Quarter doing so is something of a habit, given the circumstances of these windswept and lonely prairies, though now it is a necessity. I myself have returned home, after much time abroad, to find the places I once knew so intimately both recognizable and foreign at the same time. The streets of the towns I walk are largely absent of people and transport, where before they were full and teeming with activity. Stores are empty or closed with notices posted. Everywhere there is a sense of something cataclysmic that has taken place, and yet the cataclysm is evidently still to arrive.
Interactions between strangers are smiling yet stiff, unfamiliar to all involved. Everyone uncertain and anxious, distracted by distant thoughts and concerns, not quite present. For the grippe itself is not quite present, though it is coming, we are told. The signs are everywhere. We can only seek solitude and wait for it to pass, hoping it does not find some way through the door.
What is to come? We have only stories from the eastern shores where the grippe first evidenced itself, drawing on its powers to take its present form after lying dormant for so many years. Every story offers something to edify and that is a comfort. Like all stories they are various, some terrifying, some triumphant, but they are enough. For we need something amidst all the waiting to beat back the silence.