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 Eighty Five
I have found you. The words echo, carried by the winds. They always blow here, sometimes delicate, almost a caress, but now they are fearsome, bending the trees and all else to their will.
There are hills in the Lost Quarter, not far from the Glover’s Lake, that are the most windswept part of this windswept place. They are eruptions of earth, very different from the gentle rolling hills that cover most of these plains. The grass that covers them is sparse and brambly, and their tops are bare in places. The winds have worn everything away so that there are only sandy dunes at their peaks, filling the air with grit whenever they blow.
The hills – there are four or five of them – are grouped very close together, almost in a circle, as though they are guarding something. The land within is hummocked and difficult to traverse. Near the centre is a slough with murky water, surrounded by a tangle of reeds and tall, thick grass, and hummocks so deep that you have to leap from one to the other to get near. The sun doesn’t glisten on it as it does on the Glover’s Lake leaving the water dull and a strange colour of blue, like a painting of the sea. But there is no ocean anywhere near in the Lost Quarter.
Though the hills stand close together, the wind still howls insistently through the hollow. The water is choppy at the slough’s centre, though the waves don’t appear to reach the shore. It seems a trick of some sort, that if you watch long enough one of the waves must break through and touch the land, but they never do.
If you stand still in the hummocks staring out at the slough, back braced against the wind, you can hear it. The ghostly words, first a whisper, then a scream. I have found you.