Contagion

Dream Journal 29-04-16

The forest we lived in was dark in those days after the volcano erupted, the ash cloud blotted out the sun for two whole months. Nothing was good, I only had my job to look forward to. I was a teacher at the Sylvan Academy you see. I taught both the youngest and the oldest generations of Sylvan’s. But strange things were happening while that ash cloud loomed overhead. There were the obvious occurrences like the mass death of crops and waves of depression from the townsfolk, but also the not so clear like the tapeworm infestation which made its host lose control of their motor cortex. Then there was an infection that could change a person’s heart from man to beast and beast to man in accordance with the lunar cycle.

Most people assumed lycanthropy and I’ll submit, it probably was. However, it was nothing like the lycanthropy we knew. Firstly, It didn’t only hit during nights when the moon was fullest. At each phase of the cycle, the degree of transformation was either more or less intense depending on if it were a waxing or waning crescent.
Tonight the town should finally have some peace. If what I’ve observed is correct then at least for this night when the moon is new, we won’t be plagued upon by the manifestations of man’s carnal pleasures. It was odd, though, the ash clouds blocked out the sun but they had little effect on the moonlight. Perhaps it was just the shade of light which allowed it to pass through the clouds? I don’t know, I am no physicist.

Day or night, I was instinctively checking the sundial every ten minutes to confirm what the time was. Although my mind was fully aware that there was no sun my body still acted out on its old habits. It had been three weeks and I still hadn’t adapted to the new routine. Everyday, upon what we thought was sunrise, the town criers would knock on all of our doors, alerting us to the relative safety of the “daylight” hours. Citizens had one hour to prep themselves for the day. Starting off with community clean-up. Such a passive name for the vile job that it was. When our comrades fell ill to the nighttime virus and underwent the change, they feasted upon the corpses of the living while they screamed. I hated myself for not being able to help them, I felt obligated to do so, but if I went outside for even a second I would be pounced upon by those dreaded creatures of the night

After washing the blood off the streets we repaired the damaged buildings and notified the families of the deceased. This was the only time when I felt happy to be alone, there was nobody that would suffer if and when I fell victim to this plague, nobody for me to mourn over indefinitely if they were to fall to this wretched curse either. Equally, there was nobody for me to confide in when I felt most vulnerable. Regardless of my personal troubles and the dire state of the town, life went on. We made it out of that dark time and now know how to combat the next infection. I didn’t partake in it but upon that night, when the faint blue light of the moon shone down not once, all who were suspected of the blight were put to a swift and painless hell. Kill the host and you kill the infection was their theory. But oYf all the frightful and loathsome things that plagued my old town during that time of the dark ash cloud, what scared see most was not a friend or a ghost, not a lycanthrope nor even having to face death each and every day. What I feared most was my resilience to the suffering of others. My ability to sleep through the screams of those being eaten alive. What scared  me most was that I adapted to the daily suffering and by the end of it, I didn’t really care.

I should have realised it sooner, after the second week I underwent a drastic change after one of my students accidentally scratched me while handing me an apple. I still bore the infection.

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