Back in 2015, I tried my hand at Five Sentence Fiction. This is outside my comfort zone for two reasons:
1. I find it hard to be brief; and
2. I am not a fiction writer.
I decided that five sentence fiction piece would never see the light of day. It stayed in my blogging drafts. Until today.
That five sentence story originated with a dream I had many, many years ago, not long before I left the Bronx, a borough of New York City. I grew up in the Bronx, and would have dreamed this in the early 1970's.
After her parents died of the superflu, Alexa knew her options would either be an orphanage, or attempting to flee to Canada for a new life. That's how she found herself climbing a rusted elevated train trestle, police bullets hitting the metal all around her, fleeing the American dictatorship at the Bronx/Canadian border. But, once in Canada, she found herself slowly starving in a refugee camp, and took the desperate gamble of escaping with her camp friends Alesha and Brandon. Now separated from her friends, she hitched a ride to Toronto, and disappeared into the anonymous crowds. Years later, as a famous writer whose last novel sparked a revolution, she got her revenge on her former country.
I just stared at these five sentences, amazed, for two reasons.
1. That "superflu" is coming true, in a form I never imagined when I dreamed this in the early 1970's. We don't have the dictatorship, the U.S. border is still hours away from the Bronx, but we are living in a pandemic whose effects are still only partially realized. And COVID-19 is not the flu, no matter how some continue to claim that it is "just the flu".
As of a couple of days ago our death toll in the United States from COVID-19 has hit 500,000. The world death toll, which we don't seem to pay much attention to nowadays, is around 2.7 million. These statistics, of course, will be out of date (I am writing this post on Monday) by the time I post this on Tuesday.
We must remember that each of those 500,000, each of those 2.7 million, were not a statistic. They were people loved by others, fathers, mothers, grandparents, children, grandchildren. We also seem to forget that fact too quickly, as some even argue about whether these statistics are fake.
There are also the millions more who are or will be long haulers, plagued by months and months of fatigue, infections, low oxygen, and more.
2. That "famous writer whose last novel sparked a revolution..." who was I even thinking of? It certainly won't be me, although I actually wrote a post about the great COVID-19 novel back in May.
Then, there was the NaNoWriMo novel I tried to write several years ago. I haven't tried to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November) for a few years.
That dream from the 1970's is still stuck in my head and it still reappears periodically.
No, someone else will have to write that novel that will change the world and maybe show what happened to us to a future world. Right now I don't have the energy or the ambition.
But, I can still dream.