Flash Fiction: CoViD-20 — The Epidemic

“Doctors have prescribed self-isolation for anyone suffering from the following symptoms:
Bloodshot eyes, traces of steam coming off their head, boiling-blood syndrome.”

Armed mobs are rampaging across the city. Hundreds of people have left their localities for what they presume to be safer places. What started only three days ago in a small neighbourhood in the northeastern part of the city has engulfed all of it.

“There are no medicines or vaccines for the novel virus. Experts have advised that staying away from North Korean news channels and too-good-to-be-true content on social media can help slow down the spread of the disease.”

The newscaster was battling away an encroaching redness in her eyes. She was taking deep breaths to keep the constant, rising urge to pick up her pen and execute one of her colleagues with it. Her grip on the pen was increasing as the thought of punching holes in someone’s neck came to her mind. She brushed the idea away.

“We have fresh reports coming in. Scientists have isolated a strand of the virus and are trying to trace Patient Zero. They’re 99.999% sure that the virus developed in the minds of some people higher up the food chain. These folks are alleged to have passed it to others via WhatsApp and Facebook.”

Four men are writhing in pain on the road. They were returning from a visit to their local shrine when fifty people chased them to a corner of the street and started beating them up. As of now, they are surrounded by 10-15 men in uniform who have taken over from the first fifty men. Those fifty have since moved on to find fresh bodies to turn to pulp. Another mob, a hundred, (three hundred?) surrounds the four men, shouting their lungs out, brandishing swords and sticks and Molotov cocktails.

“Kill them, kill them.”

“It’s unconfirmed for now but,” the newscaster’s voice dropped to a whisper, “the virus might first have developed in the minds of folks who are now old. The unconfirmed “report” says that because the older people are now physically weaker, the virus found manifestation in the bodies of younger folks, men especially.”

“Prominent news anchors are said to be in the grip of this virus family. They were infected by a prototype from the folks higher up in the food chain. Most anchors have been prescribed strict silence and self-reflection, and avoiding coming in contact with the people they’re alleged to have caught the infection from.”

Six families are running through a narrow alleyway — toddlers and infants in their arms, young kids and oldies running between the adults. But on the other end of the alley, as a country-made bomb bursts and tenement catch fire, they have nowhere to go. They’re wheezing, losing limbs, organs, blood, crying with the head of the dead in their laps, wailing for help and compassion.

The newscaster’s eyes were less-red now, even as her thumb was fixed against her index finger. “Organisations tracking the virus have warned that as long as factories and markets of hate aren’t closed down, these kind of outbreaks would keep happening, periodically and methodically.”

“The scientists have named the disease CoViD-20, abbreviation for Communalism Virus Disease-2020.”

“The big question is, what if…”

“…what if the virus killed its victims directly, instead of spurring them to kill others? In a parallel universe, maybe…”

The End.

Thanks for reading.

Do share your thoughts on this piece in the comments section.


  1. Ahh loved your take on this and how you found your version of ‘CoViD’. I never looked at it like a virus and it makes more sense now that you’ve put it this way. How did this occur to you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂

      Communalism has always seemed like a virus to me, to be honest. See how resilient it is, how mutable as well. And infinitely worse than CoViD-19.

      As for the acronym, once I’d settled on the theme, I had to find a way to fit it into the existing one. Felt it’d be tough, but turned out to be quite easy in the end. The C at the beginning helped. 😊


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