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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/978390-Beyond-the-Days-of-Hunger
by Gary
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #978390
A short diary of a man that has learned to relax with the dilemmas of the world.
Beyond the Days of Hunger

September 28, 2018
Most of my generation, at least the ones that are still alive, will recall the days of hunger. Rarely did the evening news miss a day of broadcasting something about a starving child in the jungles of Africa, or a malnourished tribe in some other remote part of the world.

Sure, we all knew that people were dying, but that was somewhere else; someplace far away. It wouldn’t affect our full bellies or glasses of wine. If we were hungry, we’d just throw another steak on the grill or visit our favorite restaurants. It wasn’t until Dr. Bernstein Grayson became a household name that we gave it much thought.

The first few stories of the doctor’s success in a new approach to cloning didn’t even make the front page of the newspapers. They were buried in the back, somewhere in World News. But when the miracle of his process proved itself by producing one hundred thousand head of Angus cattle in thirty days, the story spread like a wildfire.

The k-gene, as it was called, would revolutionize the world. Boy, they were right about that one. What made the k-gene procedure so unique was the effect that it had on the livestock. When normal cells were coated with the k-gene, it sped up the growing process. Instead of feeding an animal for years before it made its way to the family table, it only took weeks.

Test after test of the doctor’s amazing k-gene was conducted by hundreds of scientists. Each one confirmed that it was a major breakthrough in technology. Never before in history had a single discovery offered so much potential to the world.

Within twenty four months of the introduction of the k-gene method of cloning, eighteen production plants were operating throughout the world. The capital for this undertaking was provided by the United Nations and Dr. Grayson was quickly appointed as the Director of World Operations. With a laboratory on one side of the massive structures, producing the k-gene wonder, and a packing house on the other, quality meats were generated by the tons.

The cost of meat plummeted. Ranchers, unprepared for the mass production concept, either went out of business or shifted their efforts to grain crops. Suddenly, not only was the entire world being fed, but huge refrigerated warehouses were constructed to maintain the enormous surpluses. Additional tons of various meats were cured and salted, eliminating the need for refrigeration all together. If a war or natural catastrophe broke out somewhere and feeding the masses became a concern, the United Nations released a portion of the stockpiles to eliminate hunger before it started.

The good news about Dr. Grayson’s contribution to the world was that no one was starving. Children and families, even in the most remote spots of the world, had plenty to eat. Happy days were here again, or at least that’s what we all thought until the String Virus hit.

The String Virus is a spin off reaction of the k-gene addition to the normal animal cells. What was unknown at the time was the incubation period of the String Virus. The virus settled into the digestive system of humans and waited. Dormant and totally undetectable, it patiently lingered in the lining of the intestines until it evolved into the killer that it is.

The first outbreaks began in the United States, and before it could even be linked to the k-gene process, reports of the new and mysterious disease were coming in from every corner of the globe. That was more than one year ago. Since then, millions have died.

Community graves are now set up in most major cities and new ones are being prepared everyday. Bodies are being dumped into the gigantic tombs by the truck loads and most sites are filled up within hours. Although the World leaders tell us not to panic, it’s easy to see that everyone is terrified. In fact, that’s the reason I’ve started this journal. I’m not sure how much longer I can last. I don’t know if there will be anyone left to read my words. But just in case there is, I feel like it is important to offer my description of the truth.

The effect of the disease is not that painful, at least not in the early stages. I’m sure that it will get worse with each passing day. Similar to the rapid growth of the animals with the k-gene addition, the virus affects the aging process. Currently, I’m thirty eight years old, but with the infection, I look sixty. My pillow this morning was covered with hair, most of it fell out during the night. What hair remains is pure gray; it was dark brown three days ago. I can see the age spots appearing on my hands as I type this. It’s funny, but back in the days of hunger, I never avoided looking in a mirror. Now, it petrifies me.

September 29, 2018
This may be my last entry, my hands are trembling so bad that I can hardly type, and my eye sight has deteriorated to the point that I can barely see the computer screen. But a lot has happened since yesterday, and I wanted to try and bring you up to date.

Both the President and the Vice President of the United States died last night, within minutes of each other. With the chaos in Washington, I’m really not sure who’s running the country. But it’s the same dilemma throughout the world. Most everyone on the planet is afflicted with the disease now. The accelerated aging process seems to move faster in women. No one knows why.

The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and similar agencies in Europe and in the Far East insist that they're working on an antidote to kill the virus. Nothing promising has been discovered yet. The news broadcast is now limited to one network because there are just not enough people left to do anything else.

Back in the days of hunger, before the madness begin, one of my favorite activities was jogging. I did at least four miles everyday. It relieved me of the tensions of life and kept me in pretty good shape. Although that would be physically impossible for me now, I did manage to venture outside this morning.

The weather is perfect, a beautiful fall day with peaceful blue skies and soft puffy clouds gently stirring in the warm breeze. My plan was to make a short trip around the block of my neighborhood. I really didn’t make it too far before the shortness of breath caused me to pause and take a break. As I stood there, smothered in the silence of being alone, I couldn’t help but wonder what will happen to the human race.

I suppose that I’m one of the fortunate ones. All of my family and friends are already gone. I miss my dear wife deeply, but with so much death around me, I try not to linger on the thoughts. I haven’t seen a car move down my street in days. The body truck, that’s a term I never thought I’d use, has been through twice this week, but I’m really not sure who’s left in my neighborhood other than me. My house is the only one I’ve seen with a life flag still hanging on the door. Someone from the truck always stops by when they drive through. It’s comforting to know that if I don’t make it through the day, someone will find me.

Although my body aches with each movement, and I have trouble standing for very long, I’m getting a little hungry. Since it’s too late for me to worry about it now, maybe I’ll ease off into the kitchen and cook a thick, juicy steak. Bon Appetite.

© Copyright 2005 Gary (garyheath at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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