There is smoke in the air.

I smell it as I wake, wondering blearily what it could mean.

I stumble to the window, expecting to see a neighbour’s house burning.

Ever since the sickness began, we have been at war with each other. Paranoia ran through town faster than the virus and soon it was every household for themselves. Every person for themselves, I reminded myself as I tried to forget Mr Philips down the road burning a pile of his wife’s clothing, covering something that smelled like roasting meat when it finally caught fire. He had waved when he saw me staring through my window. I waved back, both of us seemingly terrified of seeming abnormal in this time.

Apart from the obvious physical conditions, the virus’ main effect is to dull response. A victim will be delayed in feeling pain, temperature, taste, even guilt. There is no cure, if they would even care for one.

Opening the curtain, I can see what looks like the entire town in my yard. They are holding torches and I do not see any mercy in their eyes.

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