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 Forty Four

The days are long and the nights seem too short, uneasy and filled with strange dreams.

We cross the potter’s ground off some lost byway, hair rising on my arm. You pause by some unmarked stone, making signs with your hands of some ancient ritual, and begin to sing an unmelodious tune under your breath. When you are done with your song you pull out a bottle heavy with some cloudy liquid. You pour a bit on the ground before the stone, take a pull and offer it to me. I take it and swallow the bitter liquid within, though it does nothing to quench my thirst.

“We must be going,” you say. “The hour is getting late.” And so it is.

The dead take the backroads, arms hanging out of the rolled down window of a pickup truck, a billowing cloud of dust left in their wake. We see their trails in the distance and are careful to avoid them, turning off the road when we have to, taking old wagon trails and cow paths.

In the distance some wild creature howls, mournful, and is answered by some other near enough to give me a chill. You give it no notice, your eyes upon the horizon, as the wind begins to stir. Wordlessly you point and I see the rider approaching.

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