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 Two Hundred Thirty Six

The storm came in from the west, wild and torrential. The wind bent trees into strange shapes, shattering branches and uprooting them, while rain filled the rivers and soaked the countryside. There was flooding in places and some of the hills gave way, mud washing out everything in its path.

It battered the town for the better part of two days, seeming to linger in place while the winds restlessly howled desperate to move on, to seek out new places to bring their torments. The populace stayed huddled in their homes, watching with despair as shingles were pulled from roofs, sheds and barns were torn asunder. Even concrete walls gave way under the force of the storm.

In the nicer part of town there was a school campus, renowned in those parts, where everyone who could afford it sent their children to be educated. It was an ancient school, having been founded by a religious order who were among the first of Those Who Came to arrive on those shores to evangelize among Those Who Went Away. The campus had many buildings, some as old as a century, constructed from brick and concrete. All of them suffered terrible damage from the storm.

One building on campus was untouched by the wind, showing no apparent harm when the storm finally abated. It was a small building, no longer in use, an historical artifact. In fact, it was the first building put up by those evangelizers and where they brought the children of Those Who Went Away to receive the word of their god.

People in the town marvelled that it still stood, that this tiny wooden structure, centuries old, had withstood the storm more than buildings constructed with the latest engineering. The teachers at the school, most of whom lived on the campus itself, were not surprised. They avoided the place, barely mentioning it to students, even though it was the very foundation of the school. Those in the administration often speculated about knocking it down to make way for some new building, but they never dared.

The ground around the building was different than elsewhere on campus. The soil was darker, with an almost reddish tinge, and damp even in the driest of summers. Strange things grew around it, plants that were seen only in the wilder parts of the countryside. The groundskeepers were constantly weeding around it, but they could not keep the vegetation at bay for more than a day or two.

The groundskeepers had long been aware that the wind was different around the building, though they only spoke of it amongst themselves. More accurately, there was no wind at all in the shadows of the building, no matter how windy the day was. It was an oddity to be sure, for the building stood alone, surrounded by wide avenues and green space where students would gather. There was nothing to protect it, and yet something did.

What happened in those first years of the school, when Those Who Came took the children of Those Who Went Away and placed them in the hands of the priests to be taught the ways of god and the world as they saw it, is spoken of little now in the town. When it is discussed at all, it is talked of as though it were something that happened in another age. In truth there were schools just like this one all across the land up until a few decades ago.

The silence about what was done nowhere lies heavier than when you stand by that old building, feeling the damp earth under your feet, and seeing all that grows there. The wind, and the storms it carries, always seeking out every corner of the earth dares not go there. Something holds it at bay, just as something stops the wood from rotting and the building falling into disrepair.

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