Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Regret Scream #WEPFF #WEP Flash Fiction and Memorial Obituaries


This part isn't my entry, but it is an excerpt from the project I plan to work on during NaNoWriMo this year, and it includes a scream:
Jamie's 2021 Nano Story scream excerpt

Link to my NaNoWriMo project.

During Covid-19, a teen craniopharyngioma survivor masks and vaccinated, but her family is opposed. She's dead to them for using precautions. But is she ACTUALLY dead?

When I had craniopharyngioma I wondered what might happen if I died. What would it be like for my birthday-twin brother on our birthday? Or for our parents?
Well, now I know.

Onto the entry:

Where this Scream story came from--
I had a f🤬ked up dream nightmare that the antimaskers won. And everyone just gave up on fighting Covid. The death toll was 80 million a year worldwide, but everyone was okay with it. "We're fighting global warming! The bodies of the dead are keeping us warm!" Public places, like malls and museums, were buying dead bodies to burn. People were the new firewood. Except there were scientists on tv pleading, "the zeta variant can be transmitted after death. The burning bodies are spreading the virus. We will go extinct!"


#tagline = The Regret Scream is a dystopian flash fiction where Covid is also spread by burning infected bodies, and an antimasker commits manslaughter.

993 words FCA

The Regret Scream

Smoke rises from old chimneys, darkening the air and dirtying the laundry that had been hung out to dry. I cough, hack, and wheeze while pulling my bedsheets from the clothesline. My neighbor watches from her porch. I know she wants to yell that I ought to wear a mask. She was always Covid-shaming people in our neighborhood. That's outlawed talk now. I nod to her, giving a smirk the equivalent of a middle finger.

A bell rings as a cart comes to my street. I head to the curb.

"Bring out your dead!" The bell chimes again as the cart nears. It stops at my house. "Anyone for me today, Jimbo?"

I shake my head. "I can't believe you're doing this job."

Nurse Falcone rings his bell again. "Eh, beats the old days. No one vomits on me, I don't empty bedpans, and there are no complaints when I take a bathroom break."

We wave goodbye. In the former times, I delivered flowers. Nurse Falcone was often on duty when I dropped off my daily bouquets. Then the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers was enacted and he quit. When the mandate was expanded to delivery folk, I quit too. Weren't many flowers going anywhere but funeral homes by then anyway.

I take the bus to my sister's place. This transport is too loud, always has been. But since it runs on renewables, it's one of the few things that works anymore. I miss my car. Gasoline prices topped out at $30 a gallon, a price beyond what anyone could afford, so the stations mostly shut down. The bus passes what was once an Exxon station. Valdez seemed like the worst they'd deal with once. Graffiti of colorful curse words shows that worse came to pass. The company went bankrupt, laying off the surviving six thousand employees. They claimed the other eight thousand had died in under a year. Probably a bluff to get a government bailout. We can't afford their gasoline so they take our tax dollars instead. Typical! 

Cans and fishing line try to trip me up as I approach my sister's place. Boobytraps to keep people away from her door. She's unhinged, but she's my sister.

"Trish! It's Wednesday," I holler while knocking on her door. 

An upstairs window slides open. "Yeah? There been a change?"

I roll my eyes. "No. That mean you're still not gonna let me in? I came across town on one of those stupid busses. Have a meal with your only brother."

"And then who would take care of our only mother? Bad enough you have me opening this window."

"It isn't airborne you tool! Stop buying into the propaganda. Come on, it's just dinner."

Why did I come here? I fold my hands over my head as she sobs. "I can't. I want to, but it isn't safe. Please get vaccinated and quarantine in the tent so I can let you in. Mom and I miss you."

Stupid sheep. Before she can protest, I leap up a tree and climb to her window. "Stop living in fear. You and mom need to get out."

I yank down her mask, kiss her nose, and then drop back down to the door. She screams and cries as I walk away. 

She'll see. When she's fine in a week, two weeks, maybe a month. She'll see the world isn't dangerous, and neither am I.

No dinner here, so I trudge down to the mall. Flopping onto a bench, I wait for my coughing fit to end. Probably just thirsty. 

The mostly abandoned former shopping mecca looms before me. Half of it is an assisted living facility, and part is apartments, but the food court is thriving. The major chains all went under, crying that they couldn't get workers. People rather starve than work. Acting like a line cook and a CEO both deserve enough pay for a big house, childcare, food, medical care, and whatever else. Now those former line cooks are bodies in the fire pit. Everything is roasted over them. I get a squab and squash skewer to eat on the bus ride home.


Fourteen days pass. There's a knock on my door. 

"Jim Bobalda?" Two medical officers in bio-suits ask. 

"Yeah?" They require a swab and fingerprints verification. The machine beeps and a red light comes on. "What? Am I not me?"

"Sir, you're infected. Probably got it from a burning body. Are you vaccinated? Wear a mask?"

"Hell no I ain't vaccinated." I rip off my shirt, showing my tattoo. "Face Freedom Force! No masks."

The officers exchange glances and take a step back before consulting their device again. "We've come to inform you of the death of your mother and sister. Based on this swab, you carry the strand they were infected by. Did you have contact?"

"What?" My knees give out.

"Contact. Have you had contact in the last five to twenty days?"

"Yeah. Trish and I were supposed to have dinner two weeks ago. She didn't let me in though."

They exchange glances. "No mask?"

I press my forehead to the ground. This can't be real. It can't be true. I hear them repeat the question, but they're a million miles away.

Someone grabs my arm. There's a siren in the distance. Someone says they're the police.

"What?" I say again, hoping I heard wrong. That my family isn't dead, isn't gone.

Metal tightens against my wrist. 

"A security camera caught it. He infected them. Can't make these types vaccinate or wear a mask, but certainly can haul them away for manslaughter."

Miranda rights are recited three times as I'm carted off. 

Trish and mom are probably in a cart. Bodies sold by whoever found them. I can't even say goodbye.

"No!" I hear the scream. It isn't until my throat aches that I realize I'm the one screaming. I grab my face. If only I had worn a mask.

I know two people who are battling multiple myeloma right now. 😕
I mentioned last WEP that two of my relatives have serious cancer. Well, one of them, that's the kind of cancer. The other was brain cancer, which was my mother-in-law, and she has now passed away.
Frankly, I've had enough of death. My brother-in-law died of an infection. 19 days later, my mom had a heart attack and died 💔, and 19 days after that is when my mother-in-law died. 
So I'm done. 
None of my writing right now is especially "good." It's anger and pain. This is me, SCREAMING.
My brother called me that morning to say my dad was taking my mom to the hospital because she was feeling a little weird, weak and dizzy. She was diabetic and it was early, so I thought maybe just low blood sugar. 🍪 I thought they'd feed her a cookie and she'd be okay. But then I got this text from my dad. And I screamed "WHAT" for nearly an hour. 

I drafted the first half of this post before the triple-death-blows. I'm going to attempt Nano, but I'm not as amped up about it as usual. If I manage to write at all, that'll be a "win" to me. 

In memory:

obits 2021

(Some of you also know my husband's cousin, J Lenni Dorner. Obviously he was related, distantly, too, and is also devastated by these losses.)


  1. My hearfelt condolences.
    Screaming for you, screaming with you.
    Good luck at NaNoMo.

  2. You did a nice job with this. I can't believe we lost so many so fast. Your protagonist sounds just like someone else we know, until the end where he admits masks are good.

  3. So sorry for your losses--I have no words, because none seem adequate.

    Nicely done with the story--so familiar and terrifying.

  4. {{{{hugs}}} much love and sympathy

  5. I'm so very sorry for your losses. Sending hugs your way and wishing words could help. Heart-breaking.

    Well done with the story

  6. Sincere condolences! I cannot imagine dealing with so many tragedies and mustering up the will to write simultaneously. Wishing you all the best! ♥ Your story is stark and compelling. Sadly, there are still many people who think COVID is bullshit, and we are all hysterical.

  7. Such a powerful story with a powerful message! I am so, so sorry for your losses. :(

  8. I'm so sorry for your multiple losses.
    A powerful story!

  9. Jamie, my heart bleeds for your loss - so many, so close together. Coping must be so hard. But this story is being played out on our streets. Nice touch using the Plague references, but burning the bodies - horrendous thought. So much ignorance. But the world seems to be sick of taking precautions and demonstrate for their 'rights', not worrying about the rights of others - like the mom and sister in the room. How sad. I hope your anger fuels your writing. Helps blaze away at the ideocracy of our current world. There's a lot to be angry about, which you did to great effect last WEP. Let that scream out!!

  10. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about what you're going through. My Condolences and heartfelt sympathy. I loss seven people in the year of 2001 and I can imagine your pain. Be gentle with yourself and do what you can. Take time to heal and don't be ashamed to cry. Sometimes tears are our best medicine.
    I am thinking of you.
    Shalom aleichem

  11. Hi Jamie - if you were feeling awful now after the original diagnosis and operation ... I can quite understand hearing the news of so many close relatives dying must be totally heart-rending - let alone the sapping of the thoughts, tears while taking each loss in. I feel for you - and understand your thought about NaNo commitment ... take care - and all the best as the year goes on. Stay safe yourself - and I hope that we don't let this pandemic get totally out of control. All the best - Hilary

  12. Sincerest condolences. I can imagine your frustration and anger. You've expressed it perfectly here. I hope the process has helped, and I hope writing continues to be a solace. Take care of you!

  13. I'm so very sorry for your losses. Words feel inadequate at such a time, covid has changed the world and affected nearly every family, including yours and mine.
    You've channeled your grief and anger into a powerful story, I hope you will continue to find solace in writing. Take care.

  14. I'm sorry you've lost so many people. I can feel the anger and pain in your words. This story definitely shows a terrible scenario as well as the importance of looking after one another. Well done!

  15. Oh, Jamie, I have no words. I’m holding you in my heart and sending you lots of love and caring hugs.

    As for the challenge, you’ve written a powerful story.

  16. I am glad you shared this. I think you did a great job building the world quickly and it was very easy to hate your character (in a "good writing" sort of way)!

  17. I'm so sorry. That's a load of sorrow that makes my knees buckle just to think of it. Write what you can, if it helps. Don't worry about whether it's good--just do it for you, if you want.

  18. Oh no! Way to much for one person to take. I'm so sorry. You captured the attitude of all those anti-maskers and anti vaccinated people well. I know several. Thank goodness they're far away. It's time for some wonderful news for you. Hugs.

  19. I read your intro and tagline and decided I wouldn't read it. I hope your birthday goes better this year. Good luck with NaNoWriMo, too - you'll ace it!

  20. I'm so sorry to hear what you've been through this year. I feel the anger in your story, and it isn't misplaced.
    Your intro chilled me, because, because - that's how I commemorate the birthdays of those who have died and I always imagined they'd feel good if they could see. Now I wonder...
    This website has helped me to understand some of my emotions this year. My partner died suddenly in December, without warning.

  21. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on your WEP award. And good luck with NaNoMo.

  22. Tragic to read given your pain and the stupidity of people. On the one hand condolences and blessings for the losses. With other, congraulations on the WEP award.

    As someone disabled for decades, I've tried to be responsible over Covid and even warned my step-family pre-pandemic. But even now many of my step-family deny the precautions. Screaming seems too justified- sorry.


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