#writephoto: Running

For Sue Vincent’s weekly challenge.

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The virus spread and multiplied, gobbling corpuscles and sucking them dry. The dead went unburied and the vultures began to reappear. We fled the black tide, leaving population centres behind, preferring the prospect of starvation surrounded by the beauty of returning nature to the vain hope of salvation, a vaccine, or simply a cache of food if we stayed in the city.

We had found our way north, taking back roads, travelling as stealthily as we could, and our food had almost run out. It was high summer. Perhaps we would learn what we had forgotten, how to fend for ourselves, or perhaps we would find a deserted dwelling and brave the possibly lurking virus spores to look for supplies.

We drove off the road, hid the car in the bushes and watched the sunset. Never had the silence been so profound. The black cloud that had enveloped the earth and smothered the sky for the last two weeks, hung low and menacing as ever, but a crack had appeared above the line of hills, and last stream of light lit up the lake below like liquid gold.

It was a sign, we thought. The virus is faltering, perhaps dying back with no new hosts to feed upon. You stood, your face aglow, mouth open to shout out your new-found hope, when suddenly your face paled. You grabbed my arm and pulled me down out of sight. But not before the eyes that had opened in the cloud had seen us, and the crack of light on the horizon curled up in a broad grin.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

32 thoughts on “#writephoto: Running”

  1. Ominous! Great read while I breastfeed at 5am. My daughter is too young to yet understand this situation but it’s going to be interesting to tell her about how in her first few months of life the world stood still for a moment taking a collective breath to stem the chaos.

      1. Thanks very much 😊 thank you for providing the brilliant writing to get me through those middle of the night and early morning sessions.

  2. Very scary, but this should be in our mind too. A unexpected end, but this coould be no Hollywood movie of 90 minutes, with an happy end. I just remembered how long in the past we discussed elektronic viruses, viral advertising and artificial intelligence. Now, we got it all mixed in one: Real microintelligence on a viral journey around the world.

    1. The scientists are saying we’re bringing these new viruses on ourselves by limiting the species diversity. Like at the moment, the tomato plants have a disease that’s affecting all tomatoes because we have reduced the varieties to a handful that are all very similar. We’ve wiped out all the varieties except the few we prefer which aren’t resistant to the virus, so the entire tomato crop is threatened not just a few specific varieties.

  3. A myth, a story about the actions of the gods (or those much, much bigger than us) for the twenty-first century. That’s how this strikes me. I also think the balance of detail in the telling of the exodus is perfect.

    1. Thank you. Even a very short story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Glad you think this one did, and yes, it”s a subject that weighs on the mind rather these days.

  4. Such a scary story, Jane, and the ending caught me off guard. This virus is one big, ugly monster, for sure. If you listen to the news that is all there is. Death counts, numbers infected, how we’re running out of necessities at the grocery, and on and on. It is just one long litany of the dire straits the whole world is in because of a new disease. Take care, my friend.

    1. What I find most frightening is how quickly it has spread across the globe. So many people traipsing about the world for no real reason except that they can. It’s a destructive practice altogether.
      Look after yourself, Michelle, keep indoors if you live in a city and stay away from people until this is over;

  5. That is frightening, and it is far from over. I have friends who left here to go to Venice last week to visit a friend. By the time they arrived, their friend was sick with the virus and they had to come back home. When they got off the plane in Atlanta, GA they were ushered to a huge group of folks arriving from all over. They were squished in like sardines. Sometimes I wonder about other’s mentality.
    We live in a distant suburb of Cincinnati, OH in an over 55 community. The only time we see anyone is when they walk-by or we are out walking. We are all keeping our distance. I think the best thing we can do is stay away from others.
    Be safe. ❤️

    1. I’m surprised they thought they’d be able to just visit in Italy, especially the north! They’re in house confinement, nobody goes out. That’s taking time to sink in even in Italy where their hospitals are groaning with the strain of coping with the numbers. The army is patrolling the streets of Milan now to keep people indoors.
      We’re not supposed to go out except for a few very specific reasons, and only one at a time. This afternoon there was a steady stream of family groups, cyclists, runners, couples walking along the lane. It’s forbidden, there’s a big fine, but people don’t care. They know there aren’t enough gendarmes to police every tiny lane in the country.
      You are in the best place to keep out of the way of the virus, and when you have to go out to buy food, take all precautions. Look after yourself 🙂

      1. I know. Some people think only of themselves and don’t worry about getting sick. I heard a young college student tell the news reporter he wasn’t worried about catching the virus. What about his parents and grandparents? Apparently he’s not worried about infecting them.
        Thanks, Jane. We are taking precautions when we have to go out. Take care of yourself.

      2. As if Italy didn’t have enough problems without foreigners taking more infection in with them! None of our children have come home because they don’t want to infect us. They are young and if they get it they maybe won’t even be aware they have it, but they could still give it to us. There is a consciousness about the transmission to more vulnerable people here, but it isn’t keeping people indoors. The weather has been glorious and more family groups strolled past yesterday than we would see in high summer. They don’t get it. Lucky for them the gendarmes are thin on the ground in these parts.

      3. Ohio’s governor issue a stay in place order last night. We can go out and walk or pick up groceries and medications, but no group activities. Our sons are practicing good distancing, except to drop off anything we need. They don’t come in. Our grandsons are grown and understand, but our granddaughters (Kindergarten, 2 1/2, 6 months) don’t. It’s tough on them. Stay healthy, my friend. ❤️

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