quick_tales (quick_tales) wrote,


The Virus

The fleas were beginning to leave his wasted frame. Par could see them, little brown specks that searched frantically for the next available host, landing eagerly on her sandal-clad feet. Relentlessly she crushed them, their surprisingly solid bodies making sad, crisp sounds as they yielded to her fierce fingers. Boyfriend’s breathing was laboured and painful. He moaned a deep, other-worldly moan of fear and pain, tragic, terrifying. Within minutes he was gone, beautiful, grey, kohl-lined eyes open and unseeing. She couldn’t even summon up a tear for him, grief but no tear. There had been too many tears this year already.

The virus had acquired an extra virulence. It was almost as if the sulphurous smog from the recent explosions suited its metabolism. Ruthless, it unleashed parasitic, sub-microscopic particles of arid genetic material, subjugated the protein-producing mechanism and imprinted a viral stamp on it, before destroying the entire host structure. Like a pack of marauding Huns: attack, enter, coerce, reproduce and destroy. The tough, street-fighter felines were left fragile and hopeless, their fluid-filled cavities, fighting for oxygen.

What a short moment alive, Par thought. After all that effort surely the virus would want a longer existence, not a dead host within 48 hours. Didn’t the virus wish to be like other life-forms, seek for example, the happy symbiosis that E. coli enjoyed in the alimentary canal; I’ll help you digest if you keep me warm, safe and pH-happy. Instead, after aeons of dormancy the virus was satisfied by the brief triumph of procreation. Like ephemera.

She opened the window. There was still smoke and the smell of burnt flesh in the air. Maybe after all the virus was the smarter one. A package of life distilled from another verdant time or place that ensured that it could endure cataclysmic change, a passionless independent survivor unlike the dumb “higher” species who sought individual glory – fame, fortune, love, pleasure and time.

Par rose, said goodbye to Boyfriend. He had been loyal and faithful to the fertile mother cat even after she was spayed. The city was ripped apart now, warring over meaningless issues. Even strong, feisty Boyfriend had succumbed to the anger, disease and rot. Par was the only one left, alone with the puerile crust of humanity that ate into this city.

It would be her last journal entry. She would leave it all behind – Boyfriend, fertile mother cat, teak work-desk at which she now sat, journal of fine, hand-made paper in which she now wrote and gentle Sunday breakfast with loved ones. The severance meant nothing. Love had already departed. The bomb had taken it all in an enormous flaming conflagration of blackened, rain-sodden debris. She had to transform, protect herself with an armoured coat of complexity, guard her reproductive organs, eschew passion and transcend time and place to survive in another world. She would become a virus, people a new world with her progeny. And they too would survive.

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