The sun is descending and it’s begun to spit a cold rain when our conveyance rumbles to a stop at a crossroad. An awkward box-like truck is blocking the road, and even in an armored carriage we won’t try to pass it. Burly men in masks, cloth ones--flimsy and useless to stop serious contagion--stagger back to the truck, carrying bodies wrapped in tattered quilts. I wonder if the people, those who are still alive, will be cold tonight. If those are their only blankets.
April gags behind her white mask. “Too bad your father didn’t design these things to keep out noxious smells as well as noxious diseases.”
The truck moves forward a scant hundred yards and stops again. The driver doesn’t care that he’s blocking traffic, even though we are running late, heading to our favorite club.
The men, so muscular from lugging about corpses, swagger up to a woman who is holding a small bundle. When they try to take it she shrieks and tries to run away. A man comes out of what’s left of a building; I see that the roof has been blasted away, probably during some useless riot, and the stone house is roofed with canvas, A sort of tent—house, I can’t imagine that it’s warm or comfortable. He stops the girl, grips her shoulders and forcibly turns her.
The man says something, gestures to the truck. He’s impatient. I try to guess how old she is. From her posture, I’m supposing that she’s just a girl. In this light, under the bulk of her cheap protective clothing, it is impossible to say.
Maybe that’s why I feel connected to her, because she’s so young.