Lock-down.

“To our dear nation, we applaud and thank you for your efforts over the last 18 months to contain and eradicate this virus.  The day has finally come where we can swing open our doors, visit our families and our friends and begin the rebuilding of what we once knew as ‘normality’.  This joyous news is tainted with a deep sorrow that humanity will never forget.  The many lives that have been lost over the past two years, lost in our battle against this incurable virus, too many to mourn and enough grief for a lifetime.  Let us remember that they did not die in vain and hope that on some level, be it divine or spiritual, that they can know that we have won the war against this ultimate foe.”

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She couldn’t believe it.  The day was finally here.  She ran to her door, no longer caring about her straggly hair that she had been forced to cut herself for the past year, not thinking about her now rounded, vitamin D deficient body.  No thoughts of what her neighbours would think of her ragged joggers and worn slippers.  She swung open her front door and was hit by the blinding white light forcing her eyes shut, no longer accustomed to the bright sunshine.  The eerie silence was broken by a deafening bang, and though she could not see, she knew it to be the slamming of car doors in unison, as her neighbours desperately scrambled to get away, the destination was not important, they just needed to escape from the four walls that had held them prisoner for so long.

She took in a deep breath, the air was sweet and sharp and stung her nostrils and her lungs as she inhaled.  Her senses now unfamiliar with the varied palette that the outdoors offered.  She would happily take the pain if it meant no longer having to breathe in the stuffy artificially scented aroma of her home, the scent of sweat, despair and ‘cotton fresh’ air freshener.  Tipping her head back and stretching her arms, the hot weather warmed her extremities and seeped into her very core.  The warmth rose quickly into a blistering hot heat as she felt her melanin deprived skin begin to burn taking her back to holidays, beaches and days out in the park.  Pure bliss.

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“I’m sure many of you would have heard about the 2020 Global Pandemic from your parents and your grandparents.  The virus that turned the world upside down and changed everything that the people of the day knew.  The virus rampaged for just over two years and the world went into lock-down with borders being shut, events being cancelled, restaurants and shops closed their doors and humanity was instructed to remain in their homes for the foreseeable future.  Many of you would have been born during this time and your parents will surely tell you of how they were separated at the hospital, unable to hold you for two weeks as they tested your resilience against the virus in an effort to build up global immunity.

Eventually the virus began to subside, immune systems had evolved now able to fight the infection, however unfortunately the most vulnerable had fallen to the effects of the virus; however the government’s were unable to reduce the pace of the infection in the world’s capital cities and the death rates were continuing to rise.  City hospitals were unable to cope with the demand and neighbouring towns were reluctant to accept patients for fear of the infection spreading further.  This left the world’s leaders in a difficult decision and so ‘project sacrifice’ was put into effect.  It was agreed that an atomic bomb would be dropped onto each of the world’s major cities, destroying the virus but also wiping out the inhabitants  The act is noted as one of the most traitorous actions of the world’s government’s and was hidden by the public for a mere six months after the drop until a group of teenagers snuck through the controlled perimeter surrounding what was once known as Central London and saw the devastating ruins.

The decision to hide the actions from the public was greatly criticised, however now in a ‘post lock-down’ society humanity understood the need for the forced sacrifice of their fellow humans.  Monuments were erected in each country in order to pay tribute to the lives that were lost due to these bombings.  

Now I know what you must all be thinking, ‘how could they do that?’, I too was shocked and appalled when I learnt about the events, but you need to understand that without ‘project sacrifice’ then humanity could have been lost forever.  Please can you all now bow your heads whilst we have 1 minute of silence as a way of thanking those individuals for giving their lives for the greater good.”

The children bowed their heads, the only sound was the faint whirr of the air conditioner and the gentle breath of each individual.  The teacher finally dismissed the children, her eyes were red and sparkling with tears.  The children were used to seeing adults weep when ‘the sacrifice’ was mentioned so were unphased by their teacher’s reaction to the retelling of history. 

Out in the playground a group of children gathered to discuss the lesson.

“I heard that the whole explosion would have taken seconds, they wouldn’t have been known it happened!” 

“Yeh well I heard that they would have seen a flash of light before they died, how confusing would that be!”  

“Not as confusing as the loud bang that they would have heard from the impact, like they must have known that was a bomb!” 

“My dad told me that the air would have been thick with the sickly sweet and acidic smell from the destruction.”  

“Yeh and you can’t tell me that they wouldn’t have felt their skin burn up before they basically disintegrated.”

“I wonder if they got to go outside one last time before they died…”

“Whether they saw it, heard it, felt it or even realised what was happening at all, I don’t care, without them we wouldn’t be standing here today!”

“Yeh true, oh well, you’re probably right anyway, I doubt they experienced anything at all.  Who wants to atomic tag?

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