Sunday, December 09, 2007

Depopulation And The Black Triangles Spraying

From the online novel ED Day, telling the story of life in Sydney after the bird flu pandemic :

The phones were down, the electricity was out. Most of my neighbours had fled by then, and those that were left were burying their wives, husbands, children, in the back yard. I’d been helping a neighbour down the end of the street bury his wife and his dog earlier in the evening. I came back home, drank some warm beer, but I couldn’t sleep. I’d put away about five warm beers when I saw the black triangle swoop overhead at about 11pm.

I saw two black planes fly over the next night, March 18, and more web-like threads fell across my garden, my house, my street.

On the third night, I was fully alert and waiting for the planes. I was up on the roof of my place, lying back, and I saw them coming in from the west. I saw the mist the black triangles were spraying. The mist caught the moonlight and glistened as it fell across thousands of homes, hundreds of streets, dozens of suburbs.

The next morning, March 20, I rolled through the talkback radio stations that were still on air. There wasn’t one word about the black triangle planes, or the stuff they were spraying. Like it didn't happen. Like it hadn't happened three nights in a row.

On one station, an old man was talking about his garden, on another station a young woman was complaining about how hard it was to meet “decent men” in Sydney and that she was thinking of going back to Melbourne. The third station I tuned into delivered an argument between the usually fiery host and a young man who said because his rock band would earn millions, and he’d end up paying plenty in taxes, so the government should be paying him now to dedicate himself full time to his music.

But it wasn’t just banal conversation, completely removed from the reality of Sydney that day. None of the conversations sounded right. The old man talking about his garden sounded like an actor reading from a script, pretending to be an old man, faking losing his chain of thought, and apologising for it. The woman complaining about the men in Sydney didn’t sound annoyed, she sounded bored, like she had rehearsed her words too many times before.

The big news of the day, if I remember rightly, was the prime minister rambling on about how the worst of the bird flu pandemic had been contained. But it was the third day running for this story. No new news on it. Just more reassurances. It didn’t sound real, or live, like they claimed the broadcast was.

I thought then that if I went to the radio station studio, there’d be no-one there, just a bunch of pre-recorded CDs and digital hard drives pumping out the music and words that were supposed to calm, or distract, the masses from the horrific reality settling over the city.

Go Here To Read The Full Chapter For Free

Go Here To Read The Novel ED Day From The Beginning