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 Eighty

It took some time for me to notice the blood. I walked half a block or more before it occurred to me to look closer at the dark blotches on the sidewalk. When I  first glanced at them I assumed they were the remains of chokecherries fallen from the bushes that lined the street.

Now, looking closer, I can see that the colour is all wrong for chokecherries. It is dull, faded red, tinged with the grey of the concrete, not a bruised and crushed purple. In some places it is darker, where a heavier drop fell. In others there are a series of spots close together, as if whoever was bleeding had paused for a moment. What for?

I follow the trail of the blood, as though it will provide an answer. It goes to the end of the block and then turns right. On my way home in fact. Up another half a block where it ceases in a large pool. The sidewalk is dark with it, darker than it is anywhere else. I look down on it with a twinge of fear that doesn’t override my fascination.

This was where it began, I decide. Some battle had ensued, or someone had chosen this spot – a sidewalk alongside a parking lot – to strike. The wound had bled badly, but the person had stayed there, hardly moving, for there are no spatters of blood beyond the stained circle on the concrete. Perhaps they had taken the time to staunch the bleeding, for the trail that flows from the pool is irregular, a blotch here, a blotch there.

I retrace my earlier path, turning left at the corner. The trail goes to the end of the block, far past where I first noticed it. There it ends, no stains on the sidewalk going left, no drops on the pavement in any direction, nor any on the three other corners standing opposite this one. Whoever it was, they came here and no further.

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