Sunday 21st March 2027: Jac

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Jac felt lost without their parents. Evangeline and Jean-Pierre Etienne had passed away within hours of each other at the beginning of the second outbreak.

Maybe that was a blessing in itself, that neither had to live without the other for any length of time, that they were both so delirious from the illness that they didn't feel the ache of losing their true love. And that they didn't have to live through the death of their beloved only child.

Jac was angry at first, an emotion they didn't often experience, because of how it had all come to pass. The groundbreaking scientific research that was spoken of in the news with such positivity and confidence was supposed to stop this from ever happening again, not be the cause of it.

It had all happened so much more quickly and violently than Jac had expected, but then they had no reason to understand the processes by which the infrastructure of civilisation would collapse after the sudden death of so many people.

They had locked the doors and windows of their flat and focused on maintaining practicality and comparative sanity while the world had fallen apart outside. They rationed their supplies, distracting themself with press-ups, crunches and pull-ups, secure in the pounding of their own resilient heart. Strong-er, strong-er, strong-er.

When it became clear that there was nothing left to wait for, and their food and water at home had almost run out, they had spent a few weeks making their way through their neighbours' houses and sprinting home with whatever sustenance they could carry.

They were nervous at first about what they might encounter, but it wasn't a complete mystery as they had watched from the window while some of their neighbours had driven away and others had died on the road, pulling at their clothes in a fevered frenzy, bleeding from places no-one is ever meant to bleed from.

Jac had spent those weeks fighting an internal battle between desperately wanting to help and knowing that they couldn't. There was no point. There was no point in anything anymore and it was awful.

Eventually, even the provisions Jac had been able to find in the surrounding homes had run out. Having been by their parents' side during the worst of the illness and suffered no ill-effects, Jac assumed they were one of the immune. The immune had been spoken of during the first outbreak but it had all seemed so far away back then and they hadn't paid a huge amount of attention.

Even if they weren't immune, Jac decided it was better to die in motion with a sense of hope than to waste away behind a locked door and closed curtains, and this seemed as good a time as any to make a move. They packed a bag with as many useful things as they could carry and took a deep breath, preparing for whatever awaited them as they ventured out into the wider world.

The first part of their plan was to make their way to their parents' house, thankfully within walking distance, to see if the car was still in the garage. After that, they would try to find others who were still alive. Maybe they could help each other. Maybe it would be OK in the end. Jac closed their eyes and said a prayer, hoping someone was listening.

Please, God, please don't let me be alone.

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