I commute to work on the train. Outside, a warm rain is falling, and I watch fields of lush grass, low bushes and skinny trees move by through long diagonal streaks of water on the window. It reminds me of living in Tokyo during the rainy season. Makes me hungry for good sea urchin on a bed of sweet rice, wrapped in seaweed and dipped in soy sauce. But that’s another story.
I look down at my Kindle and pull up the current novel I’m reading. Apocalypse Z by Manel Loureiro, translated by Pamela Carmell. It puts me in a deliciously dystopian mood. I’m still at the beginning of the book and read about the world slowly coming apart at the seams. It gets me thinking. What if a pandemic really happened? What if society started collapsing around me? People going crazy, the thin veneer of civilized behavior ripping away, the beginning of a battle for survival. I think about my wife and kids. Where would we go? Is it possible that this lies in our future?
I sneak a glance at the man across the aisle. He smiles, unaware that I’m imaging him coming at me, unable to control the demons of aggression that have taken over his mind. What would I do to protect my family and loved ones?
I step off the train and make my way from the platform to the sidewalk. Outside, it seems a little darker. A whiff of decaying rats blows across me from between two buildings. I stare into the darkness of the open space and try to imagine two gleaming eyes looking back at me, saliva dripping from swollen lips. I hurry by, hoping to make it to my office before the hordes move out of the shadows and sewers and descend upon me.
I look up into the gray sky and let the rain wash my face.
Ahhh, the power of fiction.