For so long, he had heard people complain about the need for better or more services from the state at the same time that the governments complained that they were overextended, the coffers were emptying faster than they were being filled and the situation was only going to get worse as the population continued to age while young people were having fewer children. Then there were those shouting about air pollution, global warming, carbon emissions and plastics contaminating waterways and killing marine life. He realized he could resolve all the issues with one microscopic addition to the environment.
And so he added it.
And then he waited.
It was three years before he finally began to hear news reports about a new virus that seemed to attack the elderly and infirm yet leave the young and healthy unscathed. He shook his head. Yes, they were unscathed, seemingly untouched. Yet, they were still carriers for his virulent army. Healthy carriers. Silent carriers. His army spread like wildfire. Origin? Unknown.
Theories abounded from politicians, political pundits, news show hosts, celebrity scientists…and social media, of course: biological warfare, infected wild animals, a mutation of a previously existing human virus…all wrong, and yet, not…
He watched, fascinated, as his experiment flourished. Within months, crematoriums were fully booked 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nursing homes were shuttered. Schools were emptied as parents and community leaders tried to protect the future. The global economy was virtually halted while hospitals continued trying to heal the sick…to no avail.
He watched and waited, patiently, for the downturn denoting the end of his experiment and the beginning of a new and better world…
Within a year, there was no longer news for him to see or hear, for no one remained in the world’s news rooms to tell it.
Instead, he would see random YouTube videos or Facebook live streams of groups that had been isolated from the pandemic and were reaching out to survivors. They offered shelter, food, clothing, any assistance required…one just needed to find a way to get to them…. Sometimes, there was a young person reaching out to whomever might hear her plea, alone with her siblings, trying to care for them as best she could. He saw posts of young people reaching out to others trying to share what little knowledge they had garnered in their young lives; trying to figure out how to move forward, move on, become,in the world that had been left in their hands.
A world with bluer skies, cleared of the massive amounts of pollutants emanating from factories, cars and trucks caused by a global population of billions. A world with clearer water, no longer sullied by chemical run off, plastic or debris created by greed, not need. A world full of empty stores with useless, frivolous items no longer required or desired. A world full of people giving thanks for their lives and their loved ones; a world full of people for whom kindness and humility became the norm; wisdom respected and desired. A new world. A new beginning, minus the flood.