It had begun on the 13th of March 2020. My vivid memory recalled that rushed, the worried announcement that had interrupted our communication studies lecture. Forced out of my dorm, I grudgingly made my way in hopes of returning within a month’s time. Back then, the virus had seemed so mundane to me, barely a threat. I spent most of my days reading and watching the steady rise of numbers on the news, still hopeful, and retreated to the confines of my room. My eyes and ears tuned for some miraculous news that the virus had been eradicated.

 

My mother had been the first who in her great heroism as a famous police officer had died in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of a nearby community. My brother, on one of our grocery trips, had bitten by an infected man, managed to drive me home, and committed suicide.

 

The melancholy did not quickly consume me as I had hoped it would.  My home would have been such an easy place to die, surrounded by all the things that brought me joy. I suppose you could say it was my instincts’ futile attempt at living, shrouding myself in the depraved notion that somehow I would have been saved. A scarcity of food was something I had never known. My stomach would rumble in pity at the starved bodies on television and beggars on the road I came in contact with my normal life. I could never understand fully, how persons would resort to eating rats or cockroaches till I experienced it myself. I refused to leave home after the food ran out, crawling in the cupboards to catch the very creatures I was behaving like. In the coming weeks, I found myself slowly fermenting and emaciating, the lack of water and food creeping into my once plump, beautiful frame.

 

Now, I found myself laying on the floor of the forest pulling my starved legs to my chest in an attempt to comfort myself. I had waited till nightfall and went through a window, dressing in a T-shirt as a mask and black from head to toe. I left my childhood home undetected, limping my way to the nearby woodlands I would often play with my brother in.

 

Starving and delirious, I ate through everything my chaotic brain deemed edible. The berries were poisonous, bitter, and discolored staining my tongue, leaving a putrid taste. I didn’t care. Most of me wanted to die but I was woefully terrified of outright suicide. Eating the poisonous berries was simply assistance, an indirect yet direct way of suicide. I was starving and I hoped that whatever higher being or God would understand my plight.

 

The effects were slow, painless and I began simply just dragging myself on the drought-stricken earth that seemed to shrivel away with my weakened state. When I started to die, it was dusk and the air was filled with the sounds of the forest creatures that thrived under our demise. My body became rigid and every sound around me had turned to a soft hum. I could no longer feel the maggots picking at my wounds or the screams that had made their way into my daydreams. It was blissful, nothing but peace enveloping my broken body. My life did not flash before my eyes. I did not want it to. I had spent my whole life fearing the dark and the death and it was so beautiful. Slowly, I slipped away and as the last of my senses had disappeared I was jolted awake by fingers touching my neck.

“She’s alive! She’s alive” the masculine voice said.

I felt my body being lifted and the sounds of loud sirens. I opened my eyes to the sight of green uniforms and relieved smiles. I smiled back at them. But, soon the silence took me over as my vision again descended into blackness.

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