Greg spent 10 years in the US as a foreign student, growing up during turbulent times and falling in love with the people and the country.
It began over 50,000 years ago
It started out as an infection in the thigh bone of a woolly mammoth. The animal had drowned in a muddy swamp before being flash frozen in the Siberian tundra . Several thousand years later, as the permafrost lost its solidity and began to weaken in the light of the Arctic's eventual return to a tropical climate, the frozen carcass of the mammoth was discovered by several teams of Siberian hunters. Rather than selling it as a fossil to interested scientific parties, the flesh and bone of the mammoth was stripped from its frozen grave and packed for distribution to the rich,decadent cities of Northern Mongolia, where eating exotic aged meat was viewed as the height of modern, decadent gastronomic luxury.
Once transported to the centralized meat processing and distribution city in Northern Mongolia, the infection was slowly awakened from its long, frozen slumber. Exposed to the poor sanitation methods used by the processing plant, the infection was reduced to a microscopic size and would have been disposed off were it not for a power outage that allowed it to escape into the poorly designed sewers of the factory where it was left to grow in the organic richness of the factory's food wastes. When exposed to a rich food environment, the microbial colonies expanded, mutating energetically and with an unrestrained stamina.
After less than a year of intense microbial growth it was carried by a passing flock of migratory birds headed south to their warmer homes in the tropics. The flock of birds split into different groups, one of which rested near and contaminated a merchant ship headed for South America.
Upon reaching a port near the Amazon River, it was just a matter of time before the infection was eventually transmitted to a human settlement where the it began to mutate, thrive and spread vociferously.
The era of the Green Plague began in the tropical forests of the Amazon.
Origin of the plague
Silverio's Report : The plague emerges
Silverio spoke about entering the village:
"I did not like the silence coming from the homes when I passed by the village health center. There were no children playing, no signs of life in any of the houses along the road. A few dogs and cats wandered among the trees, but the normal voices of people did not emerge from their homes. Instead, when I stopped by the center's front gate I was greeted by the buzzing of flies and the stench of death. Inside the rooms, I saw the bodies of soldiers and townsfolk scattered everywhere. What looked like a ghost approached me as I entered a shuttered doorway; it was a nurse or a medical aid dressed in layers of gauze and reeking of alcohol and bleach. As she came towards me, she staggered and almost fell. I grabbed her arm and handed her my canteen. She raised it to her lips, took a long drink, and then said, "leave this place, we are all infected, the dying guerrillas passed on the disease before succumbing to it. They are fleeing the jungle from where it came."
Silverio ended his story by saying, " the nurse passed by me to search for and aid any surviving patients. Outside, I passed by a few more homes but all I saw were the bodies of people. They looked as if they had time to lie down on their beds or floormats before dying.
I quickly left to avoid the plague, and I immersed myself in several streams of water along the way to try and wash the contamination off."
Inside the protection of her window, Sylvia watched the multitude of police beacons flash across the night sky, their sirens announcing to the world that the troubles of this day had not ended with the setting of the sun.
Although she dreaded exposing herself to the night terrors that everyone spoke about, Sylvia prepared herself to leave her apartment. She was terrified of leaving her son, Samuel, alone but she was also terrified of running out of food. The water lines in her apartment still operated, but the supply of power was becoming intermittent. It was time to leave.
"Samuel," she called for him . Hearing no reply, she walked on to his room at the end of the hallway. In his room, Sylvia found him lying face down on the floor with a large circle of powder surrounding him. He had been playing with their newly purchased flea powder to remove the invasion of fleas, roaches and bedbugs that had recently infested their row of apartments. The black market vendor had guaranteed the potency of the powder and warned her of its strength. Sylvia began to scream as she gazed into the open, lifeless eyes of Samuel. Outside, the sirens drowned out her screams with their neverending wail.
Trail of infestation
Radio Reports: The spreading illness
"Reports are coming in of an airborne sickness spreading through the jungle. Many native tribesmen and settlers have been reported emerging from the jungle and asking authorities for help, before dying from the illness which has not been identified as of today."
Government news reports a mysterious plague ravaging many areas of the jungle around the city. Health authorities have expressed their fear of a growing widespread epidemic and have warned everyone to stay in their homes and avoid contact with outsiders. International help has been requested.
In the city, looters have broken into markets and grocery stores. The army has attempted to mitigate the riots by outright use of armed force, but many of the soldiers have been reported fleeing from the looters some who show evidence of contamination. All the roads leading into the city have been blockaded by civilian and military forces but there is widespread fear that the disease has already entered.
The neighboring island city of C____ has imposed a shoot-to-kill quarrantine order, barring the entry of unauthorized personnel and vehicles. Medical supplies are allowed entry but their exit or shipment to other islands has been prohibited. Reports of illegal stockpiling, looting and rioting ......
Message to Emma
To : Emma
Fire is the only way to contain the plague. Our unit is attempting to rescue the hospital personnel and patients by burning through the buildings in front of the entrance. and so far no report of new infections have reached us. Some aid from international health orgs has arrived at the airport with horrifying stories of death and plague along the way. We are attempting to send ____________They may reach us soon.
If you can leave the city, get out now. Do not wait for me.
When is it coming for you?
His position on top of the flat roof served as an excellent vantage point and firing port. Below him, the gasoline fire threatened to burn him out, but the instructions of his commanding officer were clear: "Keep the fires burning high and the disease will pass you by, do not let the fires go out."
Arthur checked his .50 cal heavy machinegun to ensure that it was well oiled, sighted and clean of dust and that there was more than enough ammunition for the next crowd of rioters. The battery of his night sight had finally died out from days of fighting, but he was more than prepared. He had been supplied with enough rations and water for a week, so the next wave of rioters would need more than just a mob of angry and desperate people to get past his position. Below him, the radio continued to blare out news from all the army's roadblocks in the city.
"Your roadblock serves as the final blockade for those leaving the city, it is important that all of us stay in position to keep the infected from reaching the main highway to our homes or else the disease will spread nationwide. From there, it may even reach to other countries."
Arthur ignored the tone of the radio speech, it was starting to sound more desperate. He thought about the ration can of fruit in his rucksack, and his belly began urging him to take a much needed break. But just as he was about to stand up and stretch his back, he heard the sounds of a crowd and knew that the next firefight would start shortly. Quickly dropping down to a firing position, he waited for the sounds of the crowd to come even closer. A flare of light on his left caught his eye, and he could see the hordes of people slowly approaching his unit's roadblock. He saw that some of them were armed with rifles and clubs while others carried what looked like flamethrowers. He did not feel as worried about them, trusting in the lethality of own weapon, it was only when the horde spread out to reveal an approaching tank that he knew that his time had come.
Suddenly looking to his rear and thinking of the can of fruit, he wondered " Was there enough time to eat it before the firing started?"
Firing began almost instantaneously from the men on the first line of barricades.
Draft of a message to ____________
- Military and law enforcement efforts have failed to stop the riots
- Fire is only way to stop the spread of the plague
- Use PR_____ fire cannisters and napalm to fire bomb any sources of contagion. Do not let survivors approach.
- Command HQ is being moved to naval headquarters in Port_______.
- Await further orders
Somewhere in the White House...
Secret service agent Johnson stood by his assigned post somewhere in the vastness of the White House awaiting his relief in a few hours. From a distant room, he heard the news on the television about a plague in South America.
An itch created by a flea bite began to throb on his calf.
To be continued
2.0 Valley of fear
- 2.0 Following the Trail of Tears
As the plague continues on its path of death,fear and destruction a few people emerge who are determined to survive. Part 2 of an extended storyline.
© 2020 Gregory Floro