The grass is long and waxy beneath my feet and the strong wind whips it around my toes. My hair, like the grass is defenseless against the wild wind and threatens to escape from the hair tie. A baby howls in the distance and bells chime in the strong wind caused by the approaching hurricane. I studied the village homes from my place on the hill. The huts were basic, made from anything they could find; sheets of reinforced iron, stones, bricks, tree branches. They won’t be still standing in 48 hours. It was the image of a desperate shanty town, grasping for life in a world that didn’t care; but I knew better. These people had it good. They were safe and alive, and in the new world, that’s all you needed and that’s all that separated you from the victims of the disease. The village was surrounded by a barb-wire fence. It was tall and it was sturdy; it did a lot to hold back those who would risk the safety of the others. Not often would you come by a victim these days, but the villagers still didn’t feel safe.
But now nature was going to force them out of safety, to force them to find safer ground in the worlds of the unknown. This is their home and they were relying on me to help them. I had been alone for so long that seeing fresh faces that were living and safe was almost a shock. They were faces that were scared and intimidated by my arrival, but were still fighting strong for some sense of civilization.
I turned southbound, following the direction of the wind and gazed out over the fields of crops that the villagers continued to slave over. None of the people I had seen looked to have eaten anything for weeks. They looked like only skin and bone, imitating the thin wire that protected and supported them; feeble to the eye, but strong and hard working.
Out in the fields I watched children and a father clawing through the dirt, searching for potatoes. The children- as innocent as they were – had made a game from the search, laughing with their hollow voices and rolling in the dirt.
“Simon, stop that at once!” yelled the father at one particular boy who was throwing the fresh potatoes at a small girl. “Don’t you dare bruise them, or you won’t get dinner for a week! You’re old enough now to know that that potato is all we have!” The father had a young infant strapped to his back and as he searched desperately for his weekly meals, the child wailed and screamed for her mother. She flung her limbs all over the place, trying to resist the hold of the carrier, but the struggle was pointless effort and soon after being continually ignored, she calmed down and hung loosely, enjoying the ride and falling asleep.