First published in WRITE ON Magazine, Lockdown Voices Issue.
“What else will I need?”
“Just that will be enough.”
I finish filling my drink bottle and prepare myself for the unknown, not knowing if I will come out alive.
“I need to go to the toilet,” I yell out to my father.
“Fine, but be quick,” he replies.
I dawdle to the toilet, trying to slow down time even though I know it’s a hopeless attempt. I take as long as I can in the bathroom. I wash my hands. I wash them as slowly as possible. The time’s nearly up before I have to enter a life or death situation.
I creep down the hallway until I reach the door.
“Finally!” my father says.
I’m now ready for this challenge, knowing I could catch the Corona. I step out the door with my father for our very first evening jog.
We start off without much pace, nearly walking.
My senses work better than usual and I have full 360º degree vision. I’m constantly alert for anyone, or anything, around me. I hear the tweets and squawks of the birds in the sky. Cats meow as we pass by. I hear my father’s heavy breaths as we run on. We’ve picked up our pace.
Oh no! my eyes tell my brain.
An unknown species, a zombie, is approaching us. I wish for a weapon, or even to not be out on this jog. I close my eyes and brace for an attack that doesn’t come.
I look back at what has just passed. Not a zombie. Not an unidentified specimen. But another human, another jogger, just like my father and me. But that one could have had the virus.
“Close call,” I murmur.
I pray silently for a measuring tape, or ruler at least, to keep others a good metre or two away from me.
We turn a bend and my house is in sight. I sprint towards my shield, my safe place, but see an entire family in the distance creeping towards us, like darkness that blocks the sunlight as it turns to night.
I jog onto the road. The risk of getting hit by a car weighs on my mind, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I don’t have much time to ponder these thoughts as I remember my father still behind me.
I yell out to him to run on the road, trying to save him from this oncoming horde of potential virus carriers.
He swerves onto the road, just as they are about to reach him. Another close call.
Feeling thoroughly relieved, I sprint with all of the willpower and energy I have left to reach my destination. I am so close, nothing can stop me. Not zombies, not cars, not my fear. Nothing.
I’m finally on the familiar driveway I’ve trodden many times before. I did it. Mission Impossible has been completed. I’ve survived the harsh wilderness and reality of this Covid world.