So. Good News… You’ve Caught This Virus…

My brain did a weird inversion of the whole coronavirus thing a couple of weeks ago and had what I thought at the time was a great idea.

I tried to put that idea to paper in the form of a short story.

After writing something I was not at all happy with, I decided the idea was not so good after all.

But perhaps the idea is fine, just not in my hands. My brain won’t stop grafting new ideas onto this one, turning it into some epic nonsense of a multi-novel series, with occasional subconscious plagiarising from Maze Runner. I had

So instead of giving you a story, I’m going to dump the idea here. Your imagination can write the rest.

A man goes home after work. He crosses the sterile spaces of his neighbourhood, access granted by a band that he, and every citizen of this great city, wears on his wrist. Social distancing is a fact of life here, it’s built into the infrastructure, viruses are the greatest risk to humankind and the cities are built to avoid the risk of contamination.

Inside the elevator, the doors close and the car begins to ascend, before it stops and notifies him that a pathogen has been detected. The elevator then descends into the basement of the building, deposits him in a glass cubicle which seals, and he is left alone in a glass cell.

In his cell is everything he needs to care for himself: Food, toiletries, a bed, the drugs and medical equipment he might need. But no-one will risk their lives to treat him. That is forbidden.

Two weeks later, an insistent noise rouses him from his sleep. He is weak and dehydrated, and still in his cell. A woman is standing just outside. He has survived, barely.

His recovery is unexpected. All the others from his shift at work are dead. Some of their families were unfortunately infected also. They too are dead. Nobody knows where the infection started.

Of the seven viruses that are known to kill people outside the city, this is the deadliest by far, and he is known to already be immune to two of the other six.

Travel between city-states is impossible because of the danger of contamination. He, on the other hand, is now called upon to be one of the few citizens of his city who makes contact with other states. Trade is essential for survival.

If he agrees, he will be infected with the other four viruses, one after the other, in the hope that he can develop an immunity to all seven pathogens. If he survives, he will become a Diplomat, the rarest and highest-ranking of the non-elected ranks, with all the privileges that pertain to this class of citizen. His daughter will benefit from a higher class of education, his family will be free of rationing, he will no longer have to work in the mine.

How will he react when reaches the top of the hierarchy that has been oppressing him, his family and all of his acquaintances for as long as he can remember? What will he do when he sees the people living outside the city, without the benefits of the technology, the medicine and the luxuries, but with a natural immunity to the viruses the cities are designed to protect people from?

Sometimes, an idea that at first seemed good just drags you into weak writing territory. This is now in my junk folder.

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