A Moment of Warmth 4

So here is the story in its entirety so far.

It is a virus that induces a disease in humans similar to zombieism.

A Moment of Warmth

LD001

I had not really thought about it before. The process of getting up early in the morning for studio had become typical. But you know, sometimes typical can be good too.

The morning was crisp, and cool. The leaves had changed to their shades of orange, red, and yellow, preparing to drop for the winter. I walked up to the meeting spot and sat on the stone wall. There were four of us, not many this week I was told, but then again, camera trapping is not your typical Saturday morning. We all piled into the van and headed out for the station.

It was almost comical. All of us dressed like marshmallow men, as if a snowstorm were about to hit campus: heavy coats, boots, rip-stop pants. No one was going to take a chance on being any more cold and miserable than we had to be up on Salt Pond Mountain. Though it was fall here, it was already in the depths of winter there.

We flew down 460 towards West Virginia. That was one thing I never understood about wildlife folks: their innate desire to drive very, very fast.

“You doing alright Ken,” someone asked.

I said nothing. My white knuckles should have said it all for me.

I shook my head yes.

After traveling for a little while the van made a quick right onto a smaller road and started our ascent up the mountain. I noted that there was still color in the trees.

“Silly freshman,” I was told that this would not last.

We continued up the road and it began to wind around the different ridges as we continued to climb. This road was not meant for the light hearted.

There were several instances where rounding a ridge meant a turn in the road that was almost 180 degrees. I imagined something like a large semi-truck could not handle this kind of turn, and even go over the edge. Of course to add to the fast driving, we were told that cars had gone off of the edge.

I fear the abyss, the edge.

We rounded one of the hairpin turns and it was everywhere. Snow was everywhere. It was like a person had painted the ground white. What was fantastic was that we were the first to drive over the snow, leaving a trace for a small while of where we had come from, aimed towards our destination.

We went up over a hill and came upon Mountain Lake Hotel. As we roared past, the scene blanketed in snow, stood tranquil against the hillside, waiting for visitors.

After traveling for a little while the van made a quick right onto a smaller road and started our ascent up the mountain. I noted that there was still color in the trees.

“Silly freshman,” I was told that this would not last.

We continued up the road and it began to wind around the different ridges as we continued to climb. This road was not meant for the light hearted.

There were several instances where rounding a ridge meant a turn in the road that was almost 180 degrees. I imagined something like a large semi-truck could not handle this kind of turn, and even go over the edge. Of course to add to the fast driving, we were told that cars had gone off of the edge.

I fear the abyss, the edge.

We rounded one of the hairpin turns and it was everywhere. Snow was everywhere. It was like a person had painted the ground white. What was fantastic was that we were the first to drive over the snow, leaving a trace for a small while of where we had come from, aimed towards our destination.

We went up over a hill and came upon Mountain Lake Hotel. As we roared past, the scene blanketed in snow, stood tranquil against the hillside, waiting for visitors.

As I reached the edge of the plinth, I was greeted by a small two step stair, and came under a small awning. That’s when I realized that the wind was mainly blocked by the barrier the awning provided. The space was not large, but just by cutting the wind, I felt invited to the structure.

I wanted to know more. I reached for the door.

It was unlocked and I stepped inside.

The outside, which had been a warm wood shell, revealed an entirely different interior. The uniform exterior morphed into a repetitious bay, spaced by… pallets? They were pallets, things forgotten and discarded to be left to the elements, which were now providing the character of a sheltering space.

Light flooded in from a large bank of windows that ran the length of the cabin, falling and breaking upon the rough brick floor and volume that rose vertically through the space. I leaned to the left and saw that the brick tower was actually a bathroom. I stepped inside.

The space was very narrow, but all through the space, the shadow of tree branches danced along the tall walls, radiating down from a large skylight overhead. The opening looked as if were simply open, the edge of the volume blending into the light shining through.

And in that moment I felt its warmth.

I went back out into the larger space, and saw the beds, constructed out of pallets as well, followed the module that had been set forth by the bays above.

This guy really liked his pallets. A pallet of pallets….

The space, though regulated, felt dynamic. I wanted to move through the space and see more. As I moved from the bank of windows, I realized how close the ceiling of pallets had become, the articulated beams now extending past the pallets lower into the space, giving the recessed pallets a frame.

I rounded the edge of brick volume and saw a small fireplace in the middle of the cabin. I could imagine a fire in that place. The fireplace became a central place of warmth in the heart of the cabin in which people could gather together.

A small hallway had been hidden behind the brick volume. As I peered in, a different light came from above, showcasing wooden shelves and storage. The light fell further, onto the polished concrete in the small space, reflecting back. The storage, necessary, but mundane thing was also celebrated in light.

“A place for everything and everything in its place,” I murmured as I slid my hand across the top shelf.

After encountering the polished floor in the storage space, I became aware that the spine of the cabin had been polished concrete also, reflecting light up, further into the space, further absorbing its warmth. The cabin was surprisingly warm, even without any heating by simply accepting light into the space.

Passively warm, inviting, a celebration of the mundane in a sea of light.

I was reluctant to leave the cabin, but I was here to do a task. What I knew though was that if I had to stay here long, this cabin would always be ready to accept me after a long hard day elsewhere.

Always ready, always willing. I closed the door behind me and hustled back over to the group.

“Where were you?” the professor asked.

“Just looking at the cabin,” I explained pointing back out into the snow, the cabin obscured by distance. The cabin had become a place of shelter in a somewhat inhospitable landscape.

“I think I will come back next week…” I said, turning towards the path towards the next adventure.

Then we heard the shuffles, then the low moans.

 

But that had all happened in the past. It had been several years, the hordes of zombies had come and gone people though few, had remained. I will spare you all the carnage and mayhem that ensued in favor of a more subtly unnerving tale. This is the story of the success humanity had in creating a vaccine, a “cure” for the zombie condition. I cannot really say for sure if the vaccine was a success, but it certainly was effective in stopping the disease the plagued the world.

The human race had been infected by a virus. This virus was named LD001 or Living Death. It was not a particularly inventive name, but it summarizes the effect it had on the infected. An infected person started off with a fever, then a set of chills, followed by a degradation of motor and cognitive functions, then death. At least that is what was released when humanity began its organized resistance to the epidemic. What governments everywhere failed to admit was that people began to come back, come back to life after physically dying.

[HRCNBD]

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