On July 4, 2020, US troops entered zone 4 on the east coast. Burial of bodies was impossible due to volume, so pits were constructed and mass burnings began.
When the Great Wave of 2020 crashed, residents were told to leave any messages in sealed bags attached to the mailboxes of homes. These documents were sent to the National Archives to bear witness to the horror of the plague.
This document is a sample.
Greetings from Zone 4!
I guess the joke is on us—ha! ha! Just received word through emergency broadcasting that the region is completely sealed off. Due to the failure of the grid, it makes no sense to go to a hospital—they are full of the dead and dying. I have made my peace and am prepared to wait out the end here in my home by the sea. They said they wanted a record of our lives, our struggles. I’m not much of a writer, but I want to do my part. G-d bless America and forgive us for our selfishness. In some ways, we had this coming. Enough philosophizing. Here is my statement:
During the last few days of March, Marianne got a fever. We had been homebound for awhile as per the Governor’s orders, but she got sick anyway. There was really nowhere to hide, right? All the young people across the country refused to follow guidelines. They danced the tarantella to the end. But back to my Marianne…
Her fever spiked on April first to 104.5. After an 8 hour plus struggle, she just got really still. I played her favorite Bach (Goldbergs) with power from our generator. I don’t know exactly when she passed; I just knew she was not there anymore. Listen—I said I am not much of a writer. I made my living in engineering, so don’t judge the past by my lack of poetic skills. There really are no words “poetic enough” to explain the horror one feels wrapping up the body of your wife and taking it to the pick-up spot designated for your neighborhood. I did not cry as I carried her wrapped and plastic sealed body (plastics provided by authorities) and laid it like a piece of green wood on a stack. A part of me just refused to believe that this was happening. I guess that was true for all of us. We had a booming economy, a gung-ho businessman president who loved to work the crowds into a frenzy—we thought we were invincible, and many thought we we “beloved of G-d.” The day I laid my wife on that pile of bodies was the day I knew for sure that all this G-d stuff is just bullshit after all. There is only one G-d, and that G-d is death.
Three days after she died, my fever began. I am writing this on the second day. I have been holding steady at 101.3, but I know it won’t be long now. I am finishing off the wine collection Marianne and I had gathered throughout our 30 years of marriage. We had planned to open bottles when our only daughter finally got married, and maybe then when our first grandchild would be born. The “best laid plans,” eh? But I digress. The government wants us to tell “our stories” and bear witness. So I want to leave behind some of the good things.
Marianne and Gene Freedman loved the beach so much that they moved to an island the minute they had saved enough money and put their daughter Theresa through college. As a young couple at a conservative southern college, Marianne and Gene had “made out” frequently in the botanical gardens on campus. They married in June of the year they graduated from college, and no one cared that Theresa was already three months baked and ready to make an appearance in 6 months. Marianne especially loved Bach and her favorite trip ever was to Paris, where she wept upon smelling the oil paints in Mont Martre. Gene was a freak about the stars, and his prized possession was a portable telescope his daughter bought him on his 70th birthday. Gene’s favorite ice cream was pistachio. Marianne loved grilled cheese sandwiches and beef vegetable soup. Once, Marianne and Gene “borrowed” a skiff near the island where they would one day live.
They spent a day on the sound in that borrowed boat dragging little silver and gold fish out of the water. Marianne got a sunburn on her nose, and Gene knew he never wanted to be away from her after seeing her with salt in her hair and a fishing pole in her hand. When Marianne laughed, Gene could convince himself that there was meaning to it all. Marianne always asked Gene to check the doors before coming to bed, even though she was a “feminist.” She loved being loved.
I just took my temperature again. 102.7. Coming fast now. I have chilled the last bottle of Italian wine, and I plan to sit on my porch and watch the ocean rolling just beyond the dunes. I spent some time looking at Theresa’s baby pictures. I can’t bring myself to talk about Theresa Marianne Freedman. I will simply record that as of April 21st, all contact with her ceased. I have no way of knowing if she lives, or if she died and suffered, as so many millions have died and suffered. I guess it is my turn now.
So, this is Eugene Delano Freedman signing off. It is June 27, 2020— actually our anniversary; Marianne and I tied the knot in love and hope on this day so long ago. After the ceremony, we stood under the spreading oak outside the chapel and I held her face in my hands and kissed her on the lips saying, “I love you, Mrs. Freedman.” We lived and we loved. We laughed and we wept. Marianne knew the pain of three miscarriages and the joy of her baby daughter’s birth. Theresa Marianne came into the world like a ray of rose-colored light in a world of shadows. I, Eugene Freedman, once received a regional award for excellence in civil engineering. It was one of the proudest days in my life. I, Eugene Delano Freedman, bear witness to the Great Wave. I celebrate and mourn those who have died. I leave this world in hopes that a future society will learn from our hubris and that a new, brave world will be born. I have to go now. The wine is cold and inviting. I saved the last of the gasoline for today. I will crank up the generator. I will listen to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Night will fall. I am ready, so ready to sleep…..
Signed, Eugene Delano Freedman
In December 2020, the World Health Organization released a preliminary report on the Great Wave of 2020. In less than 8 months, 3/4 of the world’s population had died of GTQ-456-1, a previously unknown vector that mutated upon interaction with the novel corona virus, otherwise known as COVID 19. Testaments such as this memoir by E.D. Freedman are a part of the International Thanatos Project, an attempt to bear witness to the 21st century plague known as the Great Wave.