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 Seven

They went riding out into the Quarter, following no roads for there were none to be found. A train line was being constructed in the southern regions of the Quarter, which would forever transform the place. Those Who Went Away were in the process of their sad exile, leaving only a few remnants of their existence behind as they left.

The riders came upon these remnants, but paid them little mind, for they were a part of that transformation dooming Those Who Left to their banishment. They rode in pairs, theodolites and maps at hand, spreading out in every direction, moving at precise angles to each other so that every bit of territory would be covered. As they went they took their measurements, adding to their maps and journals, so that every mile of territory was set out in their books.

At the corner of each mile by mile they left a monument to mark the place and confirm their presence. These were metal stakes with numbers upon them that corresponded to the maps the riders were drawing, joining reality to the imagined. The riders drove them into the ground and let the grass grow around them. When Those Who Came arrived in their droves they would seek them out, pulling them from the earth to confirm the land they were upon was theirs, purchased by deed.

They are still there, all these years later, a few at least, provided you know where to look. I once came upon one in an overgrown ditch, grass and weeds obscuring its presence. It came out easily, though it must have been years since anyone had drawn it from the earth. The stake was warped, rust marking its edges, but the numbers were still readable where they had been impressed upon the metal.

I studied it for a time before returning it to the ground, leaving it for some other to stumble upon in the years to come.

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