VIRUS

            The virus, when it struck, was the most deadly and effective thing to hit mankind since their inception.  There was nothing man could do to prevent its growth or its incubation.  It was a part of man’s makeup: an essential part of who they were.  It lay buried beneath every human, like a ticking time bomb or a fungus waiting to receive its nutrients in order to speed growth.  And the absolute worst thing about the virus was the one hundred percent death sentence it carried with it.  No one was immune and absolutely no one could escape.

            And it wasn’t simply the sheer number of human casualties this virus carried along with it that made it the most destructive thing imaginable.  It effectively turned man into a walking version of the virus, enabling him to carry its destructive potential to other parts of nature as well, poisoning the world as it had poisoned the humans. 

            Sigfried Van Goth, the German scientist who first discovered the virus, was the first to compare its awesome power to the zombie films of old.  “You see, once a person is infected by the virus, he becomes not only a carrier but an infector as well.  The infected becomes the virus.  But its symptoms are so devilishly plain, so simple, that they are not immediately recognizable.  And before one possibly can recognize that they are infected, they have infected the very earth they walk upon.  Like a zombie, the infected feed upon the healthy.  They devour everything in their wake.  And their hunger is insatiable.”

            The governments of the world were helpless against the relentless onslaught of the virus.  They attempted to pass laws and restrictions to halt its progress, but they were hopelessly ill matched to overcome this threat.  Their efforts did little more than scratch the surface.  In the end, they realized they could only touch the symptoms of the virus and not the virus itself.  It was too ingrained: beyond their reach. 

            Soon, their efforts began to adapt to the virus.  If they could do little to halt the advance of the virus, maybe they should learn to live with the virus instead.  Maybe they could change their lifestyles, their very way of living so that the effects of the virus would be less recognizable.  After all, they reasoned, if everyone had the virus, and there was no discernible cure, then everyone was a zombie.  And if everyone was a zombie, then those without the virus were the real threat to their normality.  Those who appeared without the virus were the ones who needed treatment.  So, humans adapted, as they had done in the past, and the virus became the new normal.

            But then, in a remote part of the world, everything changed.  A human was born without the virus and the results were immediately evident. 

            “I didn’t realize how blackened I had become with the virus,” said an eyewitness to this stranger, “until I compared myself with the sheer unstained health of this man.  Suddenly, all our efforts to normalize the virus, all our efforts to make the virus acceptable were washed away.  They felt like children’s games to me: like I was trying to hide an elephant behind my back.”      

            As a further twist upon the pandemic, the healthy human carried with him a strange hope to all those infected.  His blood contained antibodies to the virus itself.  The virus was no longer unchallenged.  With a simple transfusion, the infected could become the healthy: the virus could be stopped dead in its tracks.  But was the cure too late in arriving?

            “The human animal is a strange creature,” explained Sigfried Van Goth.  “Mankind can adapt to all sorts of challenges.  But once it adapts, it becomes complacent.  Humans can rise to any challenge but this virus, being so deeply ingrained, was different.  Once they accustomed themselves to living with the virus, they found they were quite comfortable and unwilling to change.  So, when a cure presented itself, humanity took this as an affront.  Instead of welcoming the cure with open arms, humanity lashed out at the cure.  How dare the cure tell humanity how to live its life?  Mankind felt it had conquered the virus by making peace with it: by compromising with it.  The cure felt the fierce opposition of humanity very openly and suddenly.”

            Virus-infected mankind struck back at the stranger: the one who dared to show them that they could live a life free of the virus.  Suddenly and horrifically, they put an end to this new threat, so they would not have to live, reminded constantly of how sick they were. 

            Mob mentality reared it ugly maw and the healthy one was soon put down.  It couldn’t spread the virus to this one, so instead it removed all trace of him.  Or so it thought. 

            Months later, it was discovered that some who had been nearest the healthy human, were soon exhibiting signs of health and vitality themselves.  Somehow, even though the healthy human was no longer around to share his antibodies, they were being cured of the virus.  Of course, these new threats were dealt with in the same manner as the healthy one, but soon there were too many of them.  It appeared as if certain members of mankind had experienced this new found health and were enjoying its effects, forever denouncing the virus-compromised life. 

This didn’t sit well with the governments that had so virulently fought to adapt to life with the virus but they could bide their time.  They knew humanity and how easily it slipped into complacently.  Even though they feigned acceptance of this healthy lifestyle, they were plotting in the background ways to lessen the effects of the healthy.  They plotted ways to slowly bring acceptance of virus-compromise back into the lives of everyone on the planet.  They knew that the healthy could not stay vigilant for long. “It was bound to occur,” said Van Goth.  “Even the healthy were not entirely without the virus.  See, the virus was internal to their makeup.  It was part of what made them human.  So, the possibility of the virus making a sudden flare-up in any of the healthy humans was there, bubbling under the surface.  And because they lived with this possibility of the virus, the healthy soon succumbed to the rhetoric and justifications of the sick.  With a simple accusation here and a pointed finger there, the healthy became the sick and the sick became the healthy.  Once again, sickness became the new normal.  And those who attempted to push their health onto the sick became the outsiders, the ostracized.”         

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