The Plague

Author: Talon Abernathy

The disease passed quickly and no one was spared.

First, it neutered the men. Women became infertile. Men atrophied and women thickened. Hair sloughed off and torsos turned flat. The two sexes equalized and thus division was lost.

Next, hunger disappeared. People lost their taste for food. Then, the mouth disappeared. X-rays showed the stomach had folded back into the lining of the abdomen.

Clothes grew irksome. The skin itched and cracked under polyester, cotton, and wool. Nudity defeated ornamentation and vanity became impossible to please.

As all this occurred, it was revealed that the disease was the product of a design. Some young scientists in a city no one had heard of, located in a country seldom thought of, had pioneered the plague.

No complaints were raised.

The tall shrunk and the small grew. The pale grew darker and the dark grew paler. Soon there were 7 billion identical people and if you faced any two, the wrinkles, the smile lines, the freckles, and sun spots would line up as well as if it were one man facing a mirror.

War vanished. Rape disappeared. Murder, theft, and violence trickled to a stop. As minds aligned to a singular truth, lies starved for want of sustenance. Finding their homes destroyed, they dissipated and were no more.

And then one human- as grey, tall, and similar as the rest- realized that he could no longer love: not his wife who had become indistinguishable, nor his children, nor his parents, nor his friends.

Books, movies, and music were no longer created nor consumed. The craggy differences which had once generated so much creativity flattened and the black places that had nurtured the stories and expressions of man burned away in this new light.

Creativity and innovation died. Vanity was replaced by sloth; licentiousness and aggression were replaced by anomie.

All of the great cities of man emptied out. Their inhabitants walked into the wilderness and waited to die.


  1. Tom Mazanec

    I would rather you had said 8 billion.

  2. xdhz8

    I can’t think of anything original to say. All I can do is agree with the other commenters. I think I have the plague. (Good flash!)

  3. SimonJM

    A reductio ad absurdum version of the “wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?” question. I doubt the science, but held up as why we should all relish individuality it’s a good’un 🙂

  4. djl

    Nicely told….portends of an ugly future. Eager to see what happens next??!

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