These are short stories put up each Friday that you can read for free. By the next Friday the post will be taken down and a new one will go up.
It came up real fast from South America.
The first reports in the US media started around the end of January. By February there were quite a few cities reporting cases, all pregnant women. That number grew into the spring and then come summer it exploded.
The CDC and the rest of the government all said that it wouldn’t spread, that America was just too inhospitable for mosquitoes.
They were wrong.
The summer of 2016 saw more than half a million pregnant women infected. Abortions soared as women let fear override even their most adamant political and religious beliefs.
The thought of having a Zika baby was just too much to take.
Those that chose to have the babies all suffered the same misfortune – infants with smaller than usual heads. This led to brain damage, loss of sight, loss of hearing, and all sorts of other maladies. Mainly, however, it meant that those children would have to be cared for 24/7 for the rest of their lives.
Zika was talked about of a lot in the media that summer. What they didn’t talk much about were the refugees.
Syrians had gotten the most press in the months before the Zika outbreak began, but they hadn’t even started to enter the country yet.
No, the true problem lay in all the refugees fleeing from South and Central America.
The year before the Zika crisis began there were more than 70,000 refugees coming across the southern border. That number only increased in 2016.
First it was drug violence and poverty they were running from, but as the months went on and summer got going full swing, it was Zika.
They began having Zika babies the earliest, these refugees from south of the border. Nearly all were infected and nearly all had to have the support of American social services. Fearing anger and panic, the American media chose to ignore this.
This came back to bite them come the spring of 2017 when all the American women began having their Zika babies. By that time the social services network was exhausted from all the care they’d given to the refugees. The truth came out on how much had been spent, and how little the government had left.
Anger and panic broke out and came to a boiling point in the refugee centers in California and along the southern border. Hundreds of people died as mob violence broke out, local law enforcement often standing by and watching.
By that point there were 1.8 million Zika babies in America. Another 4.8 million women were infected and were expected to deliver infected babies. This was a lot better than the world was faring.
Brazil had collapsed in December 2016, panic overtaking the economy as people realized there would never again be a healthy, normal child. This would indeed be the last generation for that nation.
Further north and across the sea in Europe, leaders too were realizing this. Complex and secure medical centers were set up and cordoned off from the general public, often in remote areas with few people. These were where the lucky women – often those with money, resources, or connections – would go to become pregnant and see out their term. Like the refugees the previous year, the press kept this quiet.
For everyone else there was the general healthcare system and hope. Most stayed indoors and tried to keep safe that way. Studies showed that this had an 80% success rate, though a lot of doubt was cast on that study.
That doubt would later prove correct.
Most women just didn’t get pregnant at all. Birth rates in America fell from 3.9 million a year to less than 500,000. Those of minority and refugee groups, however continued to rise. The social services continued to get pummeled, the economy continued to shake.
The real calamity came in July 2017.
It was hot that summer, real hot. Scientists said that the US would have it bad coming off the second El Nino winter in a row.
They were right about something.
What they’d gotten wrong all along was how consistently hot certain areas of the country would get. Normally mosquitoes were the worst in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and the other southern states of the Gulf Region.
That summer of 2017, however, the range of mosquitoes spread. States as far north as Michigan and as far west as Colorado were getting hit, and not just by mosquitoes, but the vicious Asian Tiger Mosquito as well.
It was at that point that scientists figure the two populations of mosquitoes – Tiger and the southern, Zika-variety from South America – mixed. That’s when Zika started to spread sexually.
Cases shot upward at an alarming rate that fall, and most alarming of all, the secure medical facilities were hit. Seven of the ten secret complexes were compromised and all the women were infected. Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the UK all suffered similar fates.
Suddenly the world was looking at a 90% Zika infection rate for all new births.
Doomsday-shouters took to the street as the economies of the world began to collapse. People lost hope and with it all thought of working for a living went out the window.
There was nothing to live for! Murders and suicides skyrocketed and in many areas, local law enforcement simply melted away into the general population.
Government services were cut and then even business services to rural areas. Pockets of medievalism rose up on the outskirts of urban areas, old communities that were now cut off from the wider world.
No one knew what to do. It’d taken just 18 months for the Zika virus to conquer the world.