Author: Rachel Sievers

The crowd rushed on in the hot, stale air. Women holding the hands of little ones. Men rushing by with all their possessions. The holy and unholy fleeing before the wave of evil. All around people ran by him. His feet were cemented down as he watched them run. Fear paralyzed his whole body, the weight of it making him unable to move more than just his eyes to look at the scene playing out before him.

The bodies of people he knew and didn’t know lay all about as his eyes scanned the wreck before him. They lay with their bodies unharmed. Eyes closed like they were sleeping. Peaceful almost. There was a beauty in this destruction.

Destruction had come so quick. The end of his world had occurred in a matter of hours. There had been rumors for a while but in his small dusty village in the mountains of India seemed untouchable. They thought it would pass them over. They had prayed to their many gods to save them, sure that one would answers. They hadn’t. The gods sat in their way off place watching their devoted be turned to stone.

Viruses didn’t know borders. Or wealth. Or poverty. They didn’t know if you were a dictator or a slave. They didn’t know if you were from the riches of the developed world. They didn’t know if you were from a poor village in the mountains with ancient laws to keep you safe. They came in just the same and killed without care.

The virus took hold in the brain, killing and turning beautiful bodies to stone in one swift movement. The virus passed itself through body fluids, most commonly through saliva. It didn’t mind other body fluids but saliva was the most easily passed when they gave each other the kiss of death.

When hands from behind clasped his head and turned him towards her, he noticed how beautiful she still was. Had it not been for the black iris, pupil, and sclera he wouldn’t have known she was ill. When she pressed her pale lips to his, it was his first kiss. And his last.