05/02/2020

HOMECOMING - a story in 100 words


HOMECOMING

They landed at midnight to avoid the protestors, simply glad to have arrived. Guards took them to an anonymous building where they were stripped and examined for any signs of the plague, then after scalding disinfectant showers they were given flimsy paper gowns.
“Where are my own clothes?” Lee asked.
The answer was curt. “Burnt.”
Herded through the eerily empty terminal like lambs being driven to slaughter, Lee was grateful no-one was around to witness their humiliation.

Then they stepped off the escalator into a dull roar of sound, and behind a glass wall a hundred flashbulbs popped.
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The UK citizens who arrived from Wuhan this week were treated less harshly than this, merely being put into quarantine for a fortnight. They all signed their agreement to this step before they flew, and are being provided with every comfort, yet still some are complaining already! Two weeks is nothing compared with the nightmare that people are living in China right now.
Ted Strutz's photo is puzzling, and I wonder if my story is anywhere near the truth? To read what other writers made of it, follow the frog link from Rochelle's blog.  https://rochellewisoff.com/
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For anyone who missed my contribution to Friday Fictioneers last week, my excuse is that I was helping my 95 year old Mum to pack and move into a care home near me. She is making friends there already, and I have been in to see her several times. Joining in with the occupational therapist's chair exercise routines quite wore me out!!

40 comments:

  1. And already there are folk harassing Chinese people. These things can turn ugly fast, so I liked the protestors in your piece

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  2. Gosh, that's a very current piece, Liz. I found the photo quite disturbing.

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    1. So did I, Helen - what sprang instantly to my mind was 'lambs to the slaughter', but then I do have a weird mind!

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  3. I also found the photo disturbing. We live near March Air Force Museum and reserve landing. Knowing retired military who are there, these who are being quarantined would be treated with respect.

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  4. From the interviews I've heard, the British in quarantine are quite pragmatic and calm about it all. I think they are the lucky ones, those left in Wuhan and elsewhere in China are not so lucky. The press attention would be no surprise either, given our tabloids! Topical story Liz.

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  5. Wishing it was fiction :( I am happy your mom is settling in.

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  6. I'm not good at keeping up on the news. I looked it up. The news makes coronavirus sound scary. WebMD makes it sound like a cold. Two weeks of quarantine makes it sound like serious business.

    All that aside, your story is horrifying.

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    1. Coronavieus has killed more than a hundred - it's no cold!

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  7. Dear Liz,

    What a frightening time this is for travelers from China. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Frightening to that we have some confirmed cases here in UK.

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  8. darn, i hope the current crisis doesn't go that far.

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  9. Nice tie-in to current events. Love the last line.

    A photographer friend in Sweden took this photo and I liked it knowing some good stories would come. You can see her work here… https://instaology.com/ If I remember it was a choir, going to perform in a mall at Christmas.

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    1. That's a much nicer reason for the strange garb, Ted!

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  10. This is a timely story. Coronavirus doesn't seem too deadly, much less than seasonal flu, for example, but until it's fully understood the precautions are sensible. But if it were a true plague, your story suggests that people would protest against potentially affected citizens being repatriated - very good point. And I can't escape the feeling that both the Chinese government and the UK government are looking at what controls on people's liberty will be accepted, which seems very double-edged...
    I love the way you close your story with the paparazzi photographing the poor people in quarantine. Just what would happen, I fear.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Penny.

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  11. A topical tale indeed, but more disturbing than current events.

    Here's mine!

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    1. Let's hope current events don't catch up with my fiction.

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  12. Hope there's cure to the Corona Virus attack soon.
    I thought of it while reading your story.
    Totally agree with your observation at the end of your story.
    Hugs to you, Lizy.
    May your mom feel at home. Take care.
    Have a wonderful week!

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  13. Well done. There will be another outbreak of something worse than this one and we'll see those draconian measures in place... Sounds like your mother is doing well.

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  14. Excellent write,Liz. Such a horrible story is unfolding with this virus. I should hope all the ones being brought back home to Canada will also be quarantined to make sure... (and treated less harshly than your poor lot in the story!)

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    1. I am sure the Canadians will treat them right.

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  15. Topical and rivetting, Liz. I feel so very sorry for those on the cruise ships. Especially in the inside cabins. :(

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  16. I heard they were being allowed on deck for short spells of fresh air, wearing masks of course, and staying at least a metre away from each other. And wondering all the time if it will be their turn next to succumb.

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  17. You dealt with this thoughtfully and sensitively, Liz.
    But fiction?
    Only just, I fear...
    Well done

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  18. Another timely piece. Gives the reader a lot to think about.

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  19. Liz, I was slow to make the connection. For a moment, I thought you describing the off-loading of a freight car's load of new prisoners for a Nazi extermination camp! Your explanation made it very clear. And you need not worry about being close to the truth of the photo. I think your response to the prompt is a stand-out this week :)

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  20. Hard moral choice; protect the greater good and strip individuals of human rights or risk the health of the masses (they have a right to remain healthy) so the comprised can roam free. Both are innocent and both deserve their rights but there is no win win situation.

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    1. Compromise is the basis of any successful society.

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  21. At the first, I thought "dystopian" but then it dawned on me. It's a wise and good decision for all that those returning from Wuhan be quarantined. But, I know it must be difficult and scary for the individuals. Timely and intriguing story! I hope your mother is settling in well.

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    1. Thank you, Brenda, you reacted exactly as I hoped!

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