The Flood

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.

Genesis 9:12-16

God made his covenant with Noah, promising that He would never again send the waters to destroy all life. He never said we wouldn’t do it to ourselves.

Besides, the second flood didn’t destroy all life; it would take far more than a flood to destroy all life on Earth. Humanity is just one animal among many, after all.

In fact, the flood gave life to creatures long since buried. The Fever was just one item among many; a relic of the Permian period, long since destroyed, brought back by the waters of life and death.

It would be considered a “living fossil”, except that it was not alive before it was unearthed. The proper scientific term for it is, ironically enough, a “Lazarus taxon”. What was once dead, now brought back to the world of the living.

Like bacteria or amoebae, the Fever is a single-celled organism. Its structure, however, differentiates it from either of those: its cytoskeleton was rigorous and complex, forming the core of the claw-like pseudopods it used to latch on to our neurons. At the center was a spiraling series of ventricles and mitochondria-analogs that processed absorbed neurochemicals into food.

The children were the worst affected: it hit them faster and harder than the adults. Ironically, they were also most likely to survive. They accepted the hallucinations, the lack of sleep, the cortisol rush. They never tired. The monsters of their imagination were real, and the adrenaline running through their system let them do something about it.

Eventually the brain could recover. It was the nature of the human brain to seek homeostasis; eventually cutting off the steady flow of endorphins and adrenaline to the Fever as the immune system slowly began to adapt and purge the wretched disease from our systems. If we survived long enough.

Childrens’ brains are still immature and developing; they responded better than the brains of adults exposed to the Fever. For the adults, the Fever would burn them out as if from a stimulant overdose.

Depressants, muscle relaxers, pain-killers, all could force the adult brain to lose consciousness and the body shut down. Never for horribly long, but every hour counted. Every hour unconscious was another hour closer to getting rid of the Fever.

For the adults, it was sleep or die. Unfortunately, when you’re asleep, you can’t protect yourself from those awake, violent and hallucinating. Catch-22.


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