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 Five Hundred Sixty Two

Everyday now in these parts comes word of people dying from the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn. That has been true for nearly six hundred days now, but never have we seen the numbers that we have this last month. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Greater Dominions and the inoculated world where deaths have declined with inoculation campaigns. Though only a minority here haven’t taken the doses – somewhere in the range of 20-25% – they are all concentrated together in rural communities, where as many as 50% aren’t inoculated. The Dread Lord barely touched them before, but he is ravaging them now that they have no defences against him.

It is an odd thing to hear of all this death, all this sickness, to see desperate doctors and nurses at their breaking point because the hospitals are near collapsing, and yet by and large everyone goes about their days as before. To an extent that has always been the case, but at the beginning of the pandemic, and even last winter and spring, when the harshest quarantine protocols were enacted, we felt the gravity of the situation. It was reflected in the curtailments to our day to day lives, even if relatively few of us were directly struck down by the Grippe Reborn. But now our lives continue unchanged as our hospitals are drowning and it is hard to reconcile.

My grandfather came of age during the second great war in the last century, but he did not fight. His own father was failing by then and so my grandfather was exempted from the conscription. It was deemed essential that the farm he was managing in the Lost Quarter keep producing food for the war effort. And so my grandfather stayed and farmed and had to face the parents of all his friends who were dying in Europe. All the rest of his life he regretted that he had been stuck there while the great events of his time played out an ocean away. He was restless after the war, forever planning to abandon the farm and head off on some new venture, starting anew with his family. My grandmother was continually talking him out of it. By the time I knew him, he spoke with pride about the farm he had built and given to his children, but there was always a tinge of regret when he spoke of the war he had not participated in. He was forever fascinated with it, in a way that my relatives who had fought in its battles were not.

It feels now like we are all so distant from the front lines of this battle with the Dread Lord, left to go about our days while matters of great consequence play out elsewhere. That is often the feeling of life in the Quarter, where nothing of consequence to the rest of the world has ever taken place it seems. The difference is that rarely do things of consequence affect us either, certainly not to the degree that the battle with the Dread Lord does now. Would we feel differently if we could see into the ICUs and hospitals, see how the fight is taken to the enemy? There are pictures, but pictures do not convey the weight of what is in those rooms. Nothing does.

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