“We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away.”
– Albert Camus, The Plague (1947)
Some virulent flu-like disease has been my go-to Horseman of Speculated Apocalypses for a long while now. I even did a couple of flash fiction posts about it (which I should really clean-up and repost).
It has nothing to do with The Stand (which I’ve never gotten around to reading outside the spin-off story in King’s Night Shift collection), but that such and event would find ample ground to run wild in contemporary society.
Invisible, gradual, and oh so deniable up until the point where it’s too late stave off collapse — why it’s practically tailor-made to fuck with a society which prioritizes commercial abstractions over people and managerial methods which discourage “unpopular” decisive action no matter how necessary it may be.
The incremental roll-out fosters complacency and resentment against any containment measures which might upset one’s personal status quo (or bottom line). It’s all alarmist nonsense until the Reaper comes for you, at which point you’ll just become another ignorable statistic.
There’s nothing dramatic or sexy about it, just a tedium which erodes an already exhausting vigilance.
Recommended listening: Wire – I Am the Fly (from a 1978 single)
It’s always the little things.