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 One Hundred Twenty Seven

The river comes from the west, flowing into the Lost Quarter. Before their banishment, Those Who Left followed it, for it was the one true path into the Quarter. The game was plentiful there, deer, elk and moose. Cougars and wolves stalked the river valleys, even bears in the summer. Near the centre of the Quarter it joins with another river, creating a broad waterway that heads east and then north, emptying out into a vast and frigid northern bay.

Others of Those Who Left followed the river west, fighting its mighty currents to find their way into the Quarter and trade with its inhabitants. Later Those Who Came, guided by Those Who Left, made their way along the same path. They established a fort at the confluence to trade with Those Who Left. Guns, mirrors and other manufactured goods that Those Who Came possessed the skill to make, for pelts and buffalo skins that Those Who Left possessed the knowledge of where and how to hunt.

More than that, they understood how to survive in this hard territory, where the wind forever howls and the winters are long, bitter and cold. Those Who Came would not have survived those first years without their help and trade. Many of Those Who Came wed Those Who Left, binding their lives further together, creating what must have seemed a solid alliance.

 It wasn’t to last. The time of trade was soon over and Those Who Came were no longer trappers and traders, they were farmers and ranchers, who disdained the knowledge and ways of Those Who Left, forcing their banishment. To walk the Quarter now is to hardly know Those Who Left were ever there, though there are signs if one knows where to look. The stones of a tipi ring set in the ground where camps were made, arrowheads that find their way out of the ground, and other tools.

The bison too are vanished, the game diminished in the river valleys, though lately the elk and moose have begun to return. The wolves and bears were long ago wiped out in these parts, and now stay clinging to their mountain domains. Only the odd cougar dares, on occasion, to follow the course of the river into the Quarter.

The fort itself was abandoned some years before all that sorrowful history came to pass. All remnants of it are lost, the confluence having shifted over the years through various floods and droughts. People often come looking for it, wanting to find some trace of what was, but the river long ago decided to claim its secrets for itself.

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