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We've been worried all this time about 'The End.' We've fucking endured everything from Reagan's Cold War paranoia to crazy Arabs blowing everything to bits - including themselves. As I write this, I find funny that 'The End' probably doesn't come from a war or a bomb. It very well may have started out as a pig virus in Mexico.
Last Summer, The CDC said it would be here by October and they were right. I don't know why I'm writing this all down because like the Avian Flu and Mad Cow, I'm sure it'll blow over. The wife doesn't think so but I tell her that we live in The States. We have meds here. It's civilized.
But then again, civilizations average a pandemic every 30 or 40 years. Doing the math, I figure we're more than due. And with global networking, all it takes is a few hours and a plane fight to kick-start an outbreak. Maybe I see too many movies.
Here's hoping I look back at this in month and laugh.
I watch the news at night like a fiend. I can't get enough. Hundreds of thousands of cases reported worldwide. This thing travels fast and strong and kills you slow. They say the effort to produce a vaccine is starting. I keep repeating the word, "effort."
The neighbors head for their cabin in the country and all I can hope is that they don't bring it with them.
They're now calling it ZEUS because it's the Greek God of outbreaks. Watching images of freeways overloaded in both directions has become a nightly ritual and I ask myself if mass migration has ever gone well? When the wife brings up leaving, I point to the TV.
People are now starting to stay home from work and school and it's obvious the system is starting to show cracks. Looking at the boys, I pray for the country's infrastructure.
The vaccines are slow going and they say that armed guards are protecting hospitals because they're closed. The system did what it could. It tried.
It's official: A State of National Emergency is declared and they whisk the President to some undisclosed location. The National Guard arrives in major cities but I think it just may be too late, though. Again, I see America is unprepared. Didn't we learn anything from Katrina?
The CDC reports that the global ZEUS epidemic is no longer containable. We all thought this was gonna pass, myself included. When did it get so real? They say that all U.S. ports have shut down and that the delivery of liquid fuel have stopped.
We're officially landlocked and I can tell that the real chaos is now only starting. Supermarkets are overrun and the looting for food is now the biggest issue in the nation.
My wife calls our neighbors to see how the countryside is faring and she says that people are taking it day by day, but it's better there. She says again that we should stay with her family in Vermont but I still think it's smart to sit tight.
The army of labor that mans the country's communication system is showing signs of wear. Power supplies have started to weaken and the fuel shortage has triggered many blackouts across the nation.
We throw away half of our food supply, useless without the freezer.
I can't keep the boys occupied without power. The battery-powered transistor is now the only lifeline of information we have.
I clutch the flashlight.
The good news? The radio tells us that the pandemic has burned itself out and that if we weren't sick by now, we probably won't be. The bad news? Urban centers are uninhabitable and have become trashy wastelands. Thousands of bodies, limp and lifeless, pepper the nation's streets with garbage and dead animals. And so do cholera, dysentery and famine.
Six blocks up, I hear that gangs have begun looting homes. I prep my hunting rifle and order the wife and boys to the basement.
Hours later, I had to take someone's life. He looked about 30. He was foaming at the mouth and talking gibberish. Nevertheless, he entered my home uninvited and it didn't take much to pull the trigger.
This morning, I packed the SUV with the wife, the two boys and just the bare essentials. I touched the wall of my home for the last time and said goodbye to the memories.
As we headed to Vermont, we quickly discovered the freeway on-ramps were all blocked by rifled gangs in abandoned cars. They pretended they were cops but I knew better.
I had to conserve the gas so we're at Thompson Park now with the SUV hidden by bushes. There's a water fountain 15 feet away and the family tries it. I may not be able to check in until we're safe. Truth be told, I have no idea how to get us out of here.
But I tell them I do...
ART: Thanks to the Flickr accounts: aubri, briantmurphy and gimli82. Music: "HELLoween" by Finger Painted Death and Q-Fabric(Ambient Fabric). Download it HERE.