You will know them by the way they look at you; intrigued, blank eyes, above a white mask fully covering their nose and mouth, indicating obedience to control beyond the call of duty. Sometimes it’s plain, other times it’s a little bit more sophisticated. Sometimes, the eyes are covered as well, by goggles or some transparent face shield that goes well beneath their chins. Some of them even wear gloves, that they treat better than they ever treated their own hands: they are squeaky clean and almost wrinkle free due to the substances they use every ten or so minutes to disinfect themselves.
They walk down the streets giving the impression they mind their own business; however, they have no business of their own. They never did, but now they have purpose. Their lives have a meaning, for the first time ever. They had day jobs, true, but insignificant, repetitive, and time-consuming, which made them continuously search for their true vocation. From useless causes to flamboyant campaigns, they always found means to fill their empty existences with loud sounds and vulgar displays of involvement. But now, it’s the real thing. Now they can truly change the world, by turning against the unfaithful, against the non-believers, against the ones who break the law of the Disease.
Life had been common and boring up till the early 2020s, when the Almighty turned his glorious face once more to human issues and secular concerns. It had been more over five hundred years since human civilisation had lived in the shadow of his merciful gaze, and the consequences were dire. True, there have been recent manifestations of his will through human action, but they were not taken into consideration as they were incompatible with some of our core beliefs, we now found out to be unworthy. We even made war on the extremists calling themselves faithful, but we never denied the truth of their convictions and techniques.
Obviously scientists had to improvise some "scientific" explanation; that it was a so-called “virus” that caused a so-called “disease”, coming out of nowhere with a high infection rate; but there are limits to the scientistic view of the world, and now, more than ever, they became so evident that even the men and women in white coats had to assume their role as exponents of a power greater than themselves and their knowledge. So they had to accept that the Almighty God has manifested back again amongst us, bringing not peace, but a sword, just as promised. Not as an angel of light (that’s the Deceiver’s rhetoric), but as a vile disease, a disease that would test our faith and determination to the glory of the Great Beyond.
Even if the claimed specialists still called it SARS-COV-2, and the punishment inflicted by it, the dreaded covid-19, the faithful started to gather dogma ever since the first days of the contamination, and in less than a month, the new religion of global peace was founded. Now the great hierarchs do not wear black, they wear white; their faces and heads are covered, and they bear not weapons or instruments of torture they were subject to in the hands of the heathen, but the instruments of salvation — needles, test tubes, and prescriptions. They rarely speak, but the new gospel is clear: #stayhome #savelives, the million faces gathered in front of communication screens claim in one teary voice, #stayhome, #savelies, they tattoo on the foreheads of their digital effigies, in all languages and dialects and forms of human speech.
Then the zealots appeared, shyly at first, as they understood that the world was not yet ready for them. Still, the new laws had to be enforced by traditional means, and the state authorities were obviously overwhelmed by their essential work of implementing the law into the existing bureaucratic means of control. Therefore, society in itself had to take the appropriate measures, to stand up against the fallibility of man in front of the ineffable, inscrutable act of God. There were rumours of Holy War — the Jihad — amongst some groups, a name that instilled fear in the hearts of common men and women, but that inspired the hand of the faithful, even though they themselves would not dare to speak it.
The messages where overwhelming, and they were true; as most great religions, the presence of the divine implied the manifestation of the free will of the faithful though choice. You are either with us or against us; you prefer salvation or damnation; no middle ground, no negotiation room, no indulgence. It was not the time for mercy, it was time to act. Repentance should come naturally or else it would be induced by force.
The litanies started to permeate public discourse. Well known personalities, some called influencers, started preaching from their high moral ground, to the reticent and even skeptic masses. They had to be turned, they had to be converted, they had to obey. Most of them did, obviously, rapidly becoming preachers in their own right. The dogma was clear and simple and even children could understand it and pass it forward. It was up to them, to all of them, to spread the new word, and the word was #stayhome.
As states were only imperfect machines of control, the zealous imposed an alternative. Means to offer total devotion had to be adopted even in lack of accurate control. As politicians could not risk theier hides, and the police and the military were just as fallible as any man, the zealots had to take the streets, after the holy lockdown had been deemed “finished” by the great bureaucrats. But the laws of the SARS-COV-2 still stood, and punishment had to be inflicted.
So there they were, in their costumes, in their righteous stance, socially separate and devoted to the only one cause they found to be true. Finally, life had meaning for them, and religion had given them a voice. They loved seclusion, everybody had to love seclusion. They like to hide their faces, everybody had to hide their faces. The abhorred human contact, all must abhor it, or else!
The first executions took place about the month of June, on day 50 PC, meaning post-covid. Two elderly people walking their grandchild in a park each holding one of his hands, masks lowered under their chins as they were laughing at the little one’s senseless babbling. They were tackled by two of the youths faithful to the cause, tied down and taken to the closest tree to be hanged. The child screamed, the old ones screamed, the few passers-by stared in awe but there dared not come close. Some of them even filmed and broadcast the scene for the whole internet to see. See and fear, fear and obey.
Nooses ready, manufactured from strong fibre made of lab coats and used sanitary gloves, where thrown above the tallest, strongest branches. The old woman was crying, and her husband was in shock, as the faithful fastened the nooses around their necks, tightly, so they would not slip.
As they were pulled off the ground and the ropes tightened around the strong trunk, a benevolent gloved hand was already fastening a mask around the still sobbing child’s face, whispering into his ear: “God created SARS-COV-2 to test the faithful”.