Busy Dying

lastic barriers , latex gloves , surgical masks ? The Doom scoffed at all and gleefully spread its poisons . In the second week of the New Year , the death toll topped ten million and showed no sign of abating . Though his illness went unreported , and his death was kept secret for nearly two days , the President of the United States succumbed . Those heads of state fell like dominoes . Despite extreme precautions , they proved just as susceptible as the homeless , the panicked , the churchgoer , the atheist , the priest , and the sinner . In its wave through D.C . in the third week of the Doom , more than sixty percent of Congress lay dead or dying , along with more than a billion others worldwide . With the government in chaos , new fears of terrorist attacks lit fires . But terrorists were as busy dying as the rest . Urban areas became war zones , with thinning police forces fighting against survivors who looked at the end of humanity as an opportunity for blood and brutality . Or profit .

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Watching Death Enter

But Jonah knew death when he saw it . Sometimes he could feel it . He tried not to — it could get in the way of the work — tried to block out that knowing . Like , sometimes he knew that some guy who brushed by him on the street had cancer . Or some kid running by would fall off his bike that very afternoon and end up with a greenstick fracture of his right wrist . Sometimes he even knew the kid’s name , his age , where he lived . It could be that specific , so he’d made it a kind of game for a while . But it spooked him , so he stopped .

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