Tag Archives: world flu pandemic
Read This Plague of Days. (And please, wash your hands frequently.)
This Plague of Days, Episode One (99 cents)
This Plague of Days, Episode Two (99 cents)
at a discount for only $3.99.
- This Plague of Days: This is creepy and whimsical (allthatchazz.com)
- This Plague of Days: You will be infected (chazzwrites.com)
- This Plague of Days: The Pitch (thisplagueofdays.com)
- Self-publishing: The stuff that isn’t the core work is still important (chazzwrites.com)
- This Plague of Days: An intro to serials and the big idea (thisplagueofdays.com)
- #Video: This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)
- This Plague of Days: The mind virus is spreading. Have you caught it yet? (allthatchazz.com)
The moon lit the boy’s face as he peered over the fence into the next yard. Jaimie Spencer watched the couple on the lawn chair. The chair’s squeak had drawn him closer, curious. He wasn’t allowed in the neighbor’s yard, but moon shadows amid thick hedge leaves concealed him. A woman he’d never before seen sat in the older man’s lap. The man, Mr. Sotherby, lay still beneath her. Jaimie could not see the man’s face, but there was something grim about him, as if the couple were reluctant joggers in a cold wind.
A cool hand slipped to the back of the boy’s neck. Without looking, Jaimie knew it was his sister, Anna. “Ears,” she whispered, “You’re being creepy again.”
The woman froze and turned her head. The couple whispered to each other, too. Sotherby’s voice was insistent. Hers was afraid.
Anna guided her little brother away from the hedge line. Anna did not speak again until she and Jaimie stood by their own back door. “Mr. Sotherby has brought home another one of his flight attendant friends. You shouldn’t spy on them. It’s wrong.”
Jaimie did not look at Anna directly. He never met her eyes and he rarely spoke. Her brother cocked his head slightly to one side. That questioning gesture was a rare bit of Jaimie’s body language that few outside the family could read easily. Anna told Jamie that when he cocked his head that way, he looked like Fetcher, the cocker spaniel they’d once had. In every picture they owned of that pet, the spaniel’s head was tipped slightly sideways, perplexed by the camera. Jaimie thought the entire breed must cock their heads slightly sideways, hence their name. The boy abhorred instances of imprecision and illogic in language, and so he was frequently disappointed.
“Mr. Sotherby brings home his friends. Remember Mr. Sotherby’s a pilot? He gives rides to lots of people, Ears. He was just giving her a ride. That woman you saw thought she was part of a couple, but they were really just coupling.”
Couple: a noun and a verb. Jaimie had read these words in his dictionary. Overlaps of meanings and terms irritated. He wondered if his sister was trying to bother him. She often called him Ears when she was angry with him, though sometimes she called him that when she hugged him, too. More confusion and imprecision.
“Dad says it’s a terrible thing what’s happened to flight attendants,” Anna said. “He says when they were called stewardesses, they were cuter. Now the older ones have a waxy look.”
Jaimie wondered how the change in the name of their occupation could have changed the way they looked. He’d heard there were magic words. “Flight attendant” must have powerful, and dangerous, magical properties.
Anna pulled her little brother into the house. “Let’s keep this between you and me,” Anna said and then burst out in a giggle. “Mom would worry you’re getting corrupted. I won’t say anything and I know you won’t.”
Jaimie followed Anna up the back stairs into the kitchen. She pulled out a box of cereal and poured a bowl for herself and one for her brother. He never asked to eat but was usually cooperative if a bowl and spoon was placed in front of him.
He couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Sotherby and the woman. Jaimie liked to watch colorful patterns that flowed around people. He had seen the colors around living things all his life. He assumed everyone saw them. The boy had seen something pass between Mr. Sotherby and the flight attendant he had never before seen. It was disturbing because it muddied their colors and made them less vibrant.
Jaimie stood at the sink and gazed out of the kitchen window as he ate. The moon hung so low and full, the tip of a distant church spire reached, its tip stretching to split Clavius, a large crater toward the base of the moon’s face. The boy’s mind wandered over the words spire and aspire. Surely, the terms shared the same arrogant word root. But the spire would always be bound to the earth, many miles short of aspiration’s heights. The gap between hope and doomed reality turned the boy’s mind back to the naked woman in the next yard.
Small black spots had hovered between the pair like greasy flies. The black smear spoiled the usual pleasing weave of colors. There had been many of them, like a cloud of feeding insects, around the woman. They spread over Mr. Sotherby, too, reaching for him. Jaimie didn’t know what the black spots were, but he sensed a yearning and purpose in their movement. They aspired to reach Mr. Sotherby and overtake him. He sensed the black cloud’s aspirations would be fulfilled.
That was Jaimie Spencer’s first glimpse of the Sutr Virus at its deadly work. He was sixteen. He might have mentioned it to someone, but Jaimie Spencer was a selective mute.
“A very selective mute,” his father, Theo Spencer, called him. “Jaimie has something we all lack: A super power. My son can shut up until he has something to say.”
But Jaimie’s ability to communicate well still waited on a distant time horizon then. Billions would have to expire — and one death would have to transpire — before Jaimie found his voice.
~ This Plague of Days will be ready to launch in roughly a month. In the meantime, please check out all the links to books by Robert Chazz Chute at AllThatChazz.com.
- On Writing Well: Openings, Distractions and the next Million Dollar Idea (chazzwrites.com)
- Another snippet from This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)
- NSFW: Quotes from today’s revisions of This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)
I just ran across a great website called Survival Cache!
It’s a thorough and fascinating list. In the first four episodes of This Plague of Days (to be released soon!) the Spencer family is under siege from the world flu pandemic.
They stock up on what they can as prices soar and canned goods are flying off the shelves.
I’ve seen that happen personally on a small scale. During the SARS crisis, you couldn’t buy a bottle of hand sanitizer for any price where I live. The supplies were all gone in the worry and panic over SARS.
Then, at the end of the first season of This Plague of Days, the crisis shifts. Over the next four episodes, The Spencer family loses a lot, including much of their cache of emergency supplies. Once they’re on the run, they can’t take everything they need. Then they can’t carry everything they need. When traffic jams block all escape routes, survivors have to get innovative.
So we need to think carefully about our go-bags.*
What do we absolutely need and what luxury will feel like it weighs a ton by the fifth mile of our hike to safety? Individual capacities will vary. Maybe you’re a Marine who can huck a heavy ruck 25 miles a day, but what weight can your ten-year-old daughter carry? Is the weight in the harness rig on your dog balanced? Can grandpa walk out of the flood zone unassisted or should he stay behind and hope for a helicopter? Do you have alternate escape routes and fallback positions? What’s the backup plan behind the backup plan behind the backup plan?
What’s in your backpack?
When many people think of prepping, they picture a fortress, panic rooms, a bunker, a defensible Wal-mart or a castle with a moat. They picture infinite supplies and relative comfort. But what if the hurricane takes away your supplies and screws up your plans for holing up and waiting out the flood, fire and armies of crazed zombies?
To be zombie-ready, we have prepare to be mobile, too. Get out your clipboards, pack and repack and weigh. Start crossing stuff off your awesome list. Figure out what gets packed in the basement, the family van and what you can carry on sore, aching shoulders to safety.
*More on go-bags in a coming guest post by friend and fellow author Jordanna East.
- Wash Your Hands!: The most reliable preventative against spreading disease (thisplagueofdays.com)
- 10 years later, SARS-style pandemic still a possibility (cbc.ca)
- Prepping for Pandemic Flu: Part II (thesurvivalistblog.net)
- A Flu Prevention Guide for the Workplace (staples.com)
- H7N9: The new bird flu (thisplagueofdays.com)
- Get ready for the world flu pandemic now (thisplagueofdays.com)
- Pandemics Threats: Preparing for a Pandemic Outbreak (sgtreport.com)
- New study offers insight on pandemic flu (medicalxpress.com)
- Bad week just got worse: Chinese authorities suspect human-to-human transmission of H7N9 avian flu [Obvious] (fark.com)
- Popular people “less likely” to survive pandemic (scotsman.com)
Jaimie and his family try to cross a bridge to Canada as they flee the cities and disease runs rampant. However, they find evidence of a massacre on the Mackinac
Bridge. Here’s an excerpt:
Mrs. Bendam gasped and cried at the sight unfolding before them. She reached out to touch Anna’s shoulder and grasped hard until the girl relented and offered her hand. The old woman gripped too tight all the way across the bridge. She closed her eyes to the carnage, but Anna stared out the window.
Jack ordered her daughter to close her eyes, too.
“Anna! I don’t want you to wake up screaming with nightmares forever.”
“No,” Anna said. “I’ll look. Years from now, I’ll tell my son or daughter what I saw here.” She gazed at tangled horrors as the van bumped along over a sprawl of bodies. The uncaring Sutr Virus had not done this. People had done this to people.
Many of those murdered had no eyes now, but their gaping jaws suggested anger, fear, pain and surprise. She saw torn flesh. White bones rose. Skeletons emerged from their hiding places.
“If I don’t look…” Anna said, “it’s not right. Someone has to bear witness. If I don’t look, it’s like saying this doesn’t matter or it means I won’t be around later to pass it on. Someday soon, the animals will be finished eating and what will be left but me and my memory? Not looking is like…”
“Giving up,” Theo said. “Yes. Look, Anna. It’s a heavy load, but someone who can tell the story should carry the memory.”
Jaimie reached out and surprised his sister by grasping and squeezing her free hand.
Jaimie and his father held hands, too. “There really are no dictionary words for such atrocities, are there, son?” Theo whispered. “It would be obscene if there was such a word. There shouldn’t be just one word for this.”
The only bridge denizens left were rats and gulls and blackbirds. Their teeth and beaks tore and ripped and their heads shook as they winnowed the dead.
- This Plague of Days: Today’s taste (thisplagueofdays.com)
- Another snippet from This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)
- A lighter quote from This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)
- A tiny excerpt of This Plague of Days from today’s revisions (thisplagueofdays.com)
- This Plague of Days: The Serial. The Novel. (The Movie?) (thisplagueofdays.com)
- The Art of This Plague of Days (thisplagueofdays.com)