An alternative pandemic in a parallel world
It all started in the summer of 2020. At first, it was loose and unconnected news. A Portuguese caravel (an Atlantic jellyfish) had attacked a child at the Campello, near Alicante. In Corsica, a new species of urticating algae had appeared, seriously threatening tourism. A few days later, the same seaweed was discovered on Mallorca and Ibiza. In a couple of days, it reached the Spanish Levant.
I didn't worry about all these things until it was my turn. I remember very well that October 12, 2020. It was festive, and I went to the Albufereta to walk along the coast. I took a bath on a small beach because it was scorching.
Something bit me, in fact, twice, once in the right leg and once in the left arm. There were two minor wounds, but they bothered me a lot. Fortunately, there was a lot of aloe vera growing in that area. I cut a couple of big leaves and rubbed them into the wounds. I don't know if it was what saved me or not. The injuries kept bothering me, but less so. In the evening, I met some friends at the Portal de Elche. I don't know if you know this place, it's a lovely square in the centre of Alicante with a very special kiosk. It's always full, but we were lucky and found a place to sit that day. My friends are British, and logically we were drinking beer all evening. I felt a little sick and dizzy, but I put it down to drinking. I remember something that caught my attention. The square where we were sitting is well known for its giant trees (Ficus macrophylla is its scientific name). Well, the colour of its leaves was a little fluorescent. Not too much, just a little bit. But it was really unsettling..... That was the beginning of the end.
I got home pretty late. That night I slept pretty badly and woke up worse. I spent the weekend half sick, but not too much. I continued to give aloe vera to the wounds, and they seemed to heal. Monday arrived, and I felt terrible. I was coughing a lot, but I had to go to work. The solution to absenteeism is to be self-employed, as is my case. I can't afford to get sick because I don't work a day, I don't get paid. That's why I went to work that day. I hope my colleagues will forgive me, back in the sky. At the end of the day, I heard many coughs in the office. That same afternoon I started to get worse. It was hard for me to breathe, and the coughs wouldn't stop. I doped myself with acetaminophen, cough syrup and of course, the aloe vera cream in my two wounds that were becoming a little fluorescent. It wasn't normal; I knew it. I had to go to the doctor urgently and made an appointment for the next day in the afternoon.
I couldn't get to the doctor on my own foot. The next day I was at the bus stop at 8 a.m. coughing when I fainted. It was an old man who saved my life. I had seen him at the same Bus stop for months but never spoke to him. But he helped me and called an ambulance that took me to the hospital. From here, my posthumous thanks.
Little memory of those preepidemic days. It seems that I was the first patient, patient 0 as they call me now. One of the doctors knew a friend of mine, and thanks to that he treated me with special affection. It was his idea to intubate me (they put some tubes down my throat to allow me to breathe with a machine). This is what saved me. Then I went into a coma. Everything I'm going to tell you; next I discovered after waking up, three years later...
The great Spanish allergy or fluorescent allergy as they called it took 60% of the world's population. I have to admit that I don't quite understand what it was, but I will try to explain it as simply as possible. Climate change caused some marine species to mutate, developing very aggressive toxins. It started with a particular jellyfish (such as the Portuguese caravel) and was transmitted to the seaweed. We don't know how (if the seagulls or some insects), but from the sea, it went to the land and fattened on the trees. They became contaminated, and pollen was lethal to humans. CO2 also had a significant influence. It was like a catalyst for the disease to spread like a fire...
When I woke up, the world had changed radically. I have to admit that what I am going to tell you I discovered little by little. In the beginning, nobody said anything to me; they just did tests and trials. Little by little I watched the news on the few remaining TV channels, and I began to compose my place in this apocalyptic world in which we live.
At 50 I am one of the oldest men on the planet. The disease was especially prevalent in people over the age of 30. Almost all of them died, suffocated, the fluorescent pollen of the plants got into the lungs, and nobody surpassed the week of illness. Half of Spain had died within 15 days of being in the hospital, and the same thing happened in the rest of the world. Allergy was more active in the big cities, where pollution and co2 helped their great expansion. Europe, Asia, Africa and America soon became infected. Australia withstood a few months. But not even the naval and air blockade could cope with the allergy. Fluorescent pollen reached everyone except a few islands in the Arctic and Antarctica.
But not everything is so bad; society is much more dynamic than before, full of opportunities for young people surviving. There is plenty of work and housing for everyone. Migrants are welcome and given all kinds of facilities, but many prefer to stay in their country, where there are so many things to do. The great problems of the pre-allergic world no longer make any sense. Pensions no longer exist; 99% of pensioners have died. Nor is there a housing problem; there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned houses all over the world. Mortgages? They were simply forgotten in the chaos of fluorescent death... All cars are electric because the internal combustion cars fed the disease with their gases.
But not everything is so beautiful. Racism has grown alarmingly. Let me explain. In this new world, there are three types of human beings. The immune ones, who are the majority, young people who were able to adapt to pollen and survived. They are the working people who keep the world going and they are in charge of the middle posts of the World Union, the new political organization that emerged after the epidemic. Then there's us, the survivors. We are the ones who overcame the disease but left us with sequels, like that damned fluorescence in the lungs, heart and brain. During the day you don't notice it, but at night you do, and a lot. I know that they look at us badly, that they think we are to blame for the apocalypse. We all know it's not true but the idea is there and I notice the hostility in the environment when people realize my color. Finally, there are the non-contaminated. They are the world's elite (politicians, bankers, top businessmen). They fled from the infected areas and took refuge in some islands of the Arctic, where they knew that pollen would not arrive. There aren't many, but they still control the world from up there, in the remote north. But they live in fear because there is no cure for the disease. If for some reason, the pollen reached their shelters, they would die in a few days. And they know it very well, that's why there are so many security checks to get to their islands. For example, I can never go. Totally forbidden, because I am who I am, patient 0.
I think the time has come for me to tell you more about my current life. Things are going well for me. The fluorescence in my chest doesn't bother me too much, although it does bother most of the immune people I've met. I feel their hostility for being different and having infected me.
But being patient 0 has its advantages. I travel a lot, and everything is paid for. I go to medical conferences, and they do interviews for some media and tv. I'm kind of a media star. My white beard makes me very recognizable How quickly people forget how many old people there were at the beginning of the 21st century. Now I'm something special because I'm 50 years old, but not long ago, nothing was abnormal about me. I'm part of the baby boom generation ravaged by the pandemic. But I survived. We are 0.1% of the current population of the planet. A small minority without political representation and with many prejudices about us.
The world after the epidemic video here