Though We Walk in the Flesh (The Lotus Eaters)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Mycobacterium dryados

It isn’t a proper diagnosis; more of a catch-all for the condition we live in now. They’re actually quite beautiful. The flora is almost decorative, complimentary, as if some intelligence arranged each of them with a sense of artistic inspiration. They’re nothing at all like the monstrosities of rot and carnage fed to us by the entertainment industry.

Between their beauty, their serene expressions and the state of the world before the “Spring”, I can see how many people simply stood by and succumbed. It wasn’t violent and there appeared to be no pain. Some even thought it merciful compared to the horrors of our own making that loomed ahead us in the news.

We learned a little before it all fell apart. A microbe, not unlike the one that caused leprosy. In its immediate stage it caused a painless green “blush” but this quickly introduced a “secondary infection” of a sort. Victims became calmly euphoric, often wandering off from friends and family before the symptoms were even noticed.  The sought quiet sunny places. The area of the lesions became uncommonly fertile to all manner of plants and quickly, multiple species would take purchase there. Its hard to tell if anything remained of the person inside. Their expressions seemed serene and if you had known the person, you’d swear it was sincere.

In time, large portions of their bodies would become diverse gardens. Fully mobile, they would wander and seek out the rest of us. Not to gnaw on our flesh or tear hungrily for brains, but to simply embrace the uninfected in a relentless press of fragrant fecundity. You’ll hear people talk about “pheromone lures” and “narcotic pollen” but we never found any evidence of that sort of thing. Mostly, I think many victims were simply weary and resigned to the Spring.

I’m old enough to remember the early morning drone of landscapers and the growing din of commuter traffic. Now I only grow tense when I hear the rustle of vegetation or when the wind is heavily laden with the scent of flowers. They never truly rest, you know, and only slow down a little at night. Some days I’ll walk dozens of miles and it feels like I’m barely keeping ahead. I could just lay down and wait. Would it be so bad?

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