Notes on the Grippe

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.

Day Eight

The dawn comes without a sunrise, the sky overcast and the day promising to be gloomy. The weather seems the only way to measure the passing of days now that the cacophony of activities that we used to fill them with are gone. I understand, as I didn’t before, why those religious sects had prayers to mark the hours of every day. It is necessary to fill them with something other than drudgery and why not holiness.

One peculiar sect came to the Lost Quarter some generations ago, scattering throughout its four corners. They practised a communal faith, several families joined together as one, with all sharing in the work and its rewards. Having all they needed they were an inward sort, only occasionally interacting with the other inhabitants of the quarter. They were resented for that insularity by their neighbours, seen as overly secretive, as well as for their undeniable success. With so many people all pulling together in the same direction they could achieve far more and soon were able to buy up land all across the Quarter.

Few knew what practices they followed, especially as the years went by and the rest of the Quarter no longer followed their faiths as they once had, while the sect continued much as they had before. It was said they had strange carnal practices to ensure the sanctity of their progeny, though when pressed on the matter few could provide any evidence that these in fact existed. The rumours and suspicions persisted, fed by their insularity, and the divide between the sect and the greater society grew and grew until neither could understand the other. More and more they kept to themselves and let the greater world pass them by.

One winter night I happened to be out on the local pond skating and playing hockey with some of the other local youths. The sound of our skate blades slicing through the ice echoed through the vast cold of the night, as did our shouts and cries. We were so engaged in our play that we didn’t see the approach of the members of the sect. They had walked several miles through the fields from their commune.

It was incredible to see them emerge from the darkness, carrying hockey sticks and skates, which they put on and joined us. Where had they gotten them from? As far as we knew skates, to say nothing of hockey, were forbidden by their sect. Yet here they were, skating and passing as well as any of us. Little was said between us, but soon we had organized a scrimmage, playing long into the night.

As the hour grew late I and my friends took our leave of the ice and soon only the youths from the sect remained. They stayed upon the ice, flying around, passing and shooting, under the light of a silver moon.

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