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 Thirty Two

There are few remaining ways in and out of the Lost Quarter and they are forever changing. As they slip from memory and become forgotten they are lost. The trails overgrown, the roads washed away, the rail lines torn up and sold for scrap.

As you approach the western edge of the Lost Quarter, you descend into a river valley. The descent is abrupt after so many kilometres of rolling plain, though you can see the great hills of the valley in the distance for a good long while if you know where to look right on the edge of the horizon.

It is an ancient place, the great hills standing watch over the river on either side, almost as tall as mountains. Their tops are peaked with prairie short grass, while their sides are bare with earth so hard it is nearly stone. The wind, rain and snow melt work at them creating ribbons and strange visages on their faces. The river is a tiny sliver of a thing next to such grandeur, though it shaped those great hills over the centuries.

There are dinosaur bones along the river and in the dry hills. Once there were coal mines, though they have all been abandoned. Here, as well, can be found one of the few roads out of the Quarter. It is just off a stretch of highway, near an abandoned elevator and the remnants of a town. There is a gravel road and a narrow, ancient bridge across the river. You cross it and then pick your way up one of the hills, on a winding, treacherous path that narrows as you climb. The road is washed out in places where the spring melt and rain have worn it away. Old, sagging fences line the side of the road. No one bothers to mend them, for there are few who come this way, few who remember.

You emerge at the top of the hill to another world. At first it hardly appears different than the Quarter. There is a long rolling plain, with a few hardscrabble hills. The weather is tumultuous there, windswept, and given to sudden squalls of snow, as though guarding the entrance to the Quarter. Beyond that the land shifts, becoming flatter. The roads are straighter and well-maintained, busy with traffic and lined with homes. There are towns and soon enough a great city, beyond which lies the mountains.

Many from the Quarter have made this long journey to the city along that narrow, dusty road. Only a few of those have returned. While they do the way into the Quarter remains open, but there will come a day when no one is left who recalls the way and that path will be closed, as so many others have been.

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