Short Story: Victims of Pestilence 3: 2003
United States, 2003
To all who read,
Let’s travel back slightly. Travel to a time of curses and lynching, where mankind became their most depraved. Humanity had harmed the innocent and praised the bloodthirsty. How I wish to erase this time from humanity’s history, from my memory. But alas, to remember is to learn. To remember is to grow.
This virus attacks people at random, it does not care who it goes for. A virus that stops the body from being strong. A human immunodeficiency where the body no longer protects its host, leaving the soul bare to attacks from left, right and centre. Such a terrifying curse, do you not think? Yet, pestilence is not found in this virus – oh no. Pestilence took the form of something more horrific than this virus.
Pestilence formed and merged into the mind of humanity’s most depraved. Preys everywhere, ready for it to come and hunt the mankind. I remember one instance when pestilence was stronger than the prey it now inhabited.
A town where the townspeople charged down as an army. Their vile smirks, vicious eyes and violent talons were aimed at the innocent. This community joined together, their hearts were full of passion and determination. Determined with reckless abandon to take the law into their own hands and abandon morality. Pestilence was very glad; it was winning this fight and became stronger than ever before. Pestilence recruited the patriarchy and homophobia to attack men and rip their bodies and soul to shreds. They all tore and tore into people till there was nothing left. They all tore and tore into people till the immunodeficiency virus was no longer their primary curse.
There was once a man, Gregory Smith whose biology failed him. Soon after, society failed him when they stuck him in a cell. Why? Smith was a gay man with HIV. This was enough to condemn him to a life behind bars. Humanity did not care. One more year until he is free, the lies started. His jailers, his executioners did all they could to keep him in jail. They made sure to keep Gregory away from the love his of people. They denied him his God-given freedom.
Pestilence laughed; mankind had become rapid over something that is out of their control. Mankind accused their own of homosexuality as if homosexuality was a crime. They treated these innocent people as if they were deprived, while they were the deprived. The innocent was accused of creating this virus as a weapon to spread and intimidate their community. Such a horrible time. I could barely watch, but I must bear witness and then report to you. I need you to listen and know of all the strength pestilence has. Why? To make sure you do not fall prey to Pestilence. Do not make the same mistakes and learn from history. Yet, it seems you will watch and listen to all the pain I have borne witness to but refuse to care. I may as well write a diary, only for me to read and reflect over. Mankind doesn’t seem to be using it.
Smith was denied his much-needed medicine to treat his immunodeficiency virus. Terribly ill Smith had collapsed, alone and without help, in the cell he could now leave. Pestilence giggled as his jailors, forbade him from getting an x-ray for his injured back. Humanity could not fix his soul, but could they not have helped his body?
They beat him. They spread rumours that his bite alone would spread and harm all in its path. They said all with HIV were dangerous as if they chose to be ill and chose to spread the pain. Mankind created the fantasy that HIV was an apocalypse. Instead of HIV being a misery to its host, it was falsely made into a miserable weapon used to hurt society. The patient disappeared. They were no longer seen as an individual, but they were only seen as, HIV, contaminated, gay, disgusting and many other words I cannot physically repeat.
This slow violence incarcerated the helpless and formed a death-making society. I pleaded with Pestilence. Stop this madness, let them go. Pestilence said they had left the soul of mankind a while ago. All this torture and terrific violence are all of mankind’s doing now. This era of chains, corpses and callousness is all of mankind’s doing. I watched as mankind ran around with vigorous energy. Banners that screamed ‘God hates gays’ and ‘Gays are a walking disease’. Those with this chronic illness are not receiving the help they need but are being criminalised and condemned to an earlier death.
I saw Clinton start an HIV travel ban as if HIV was as dangerous and as spreadable as the virus you’re struggling with right now.
I saw the HIV prison camps at Guantanamo as if the people were terrorists and needed to be contained, isolated.
This virus full of hatred did not go soon, it is still here. Laying dormant beneath the Pestilence of your time, erupting suddenly and without predictability.
Yet, do not forget, we have champions ready to help those like Smith. People are still fighting to show HIV and AIDS harms only the induvial. It is already a lonely fight against one’s own body but if we go further into the future there is: Asia Russell (ACT UP), Diana, Madonna, Cecilia Chung, Alicia Keys, Gaga, Elton John Hall, all of them fighting in your time. They are standing up against Pestilence for the minority. They do this despite knowing they will be hurt by bigots who will also go after them. Not everyone likes a hero. Neglect and bigotry’s time is up. They won’t reign champion forever. Civilisations come and go all the time. This tyrannical reign will die out one day. We have our champions ready to fight the rest of mankind. It is time for no more lies, no more shame. It is time for Pestilence’s long reign to collapse. The future is filled with abandoned prison camps and freedom. We will fight for humanity and against Pestilence, not one another.
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