the ol’ smoke lung

We all spent the entire fucking weekend glued to the fucking TV screen, watching silly local news. As you may have heard, we weren’t able to contain all the fog that escaped those tunnels.

If I have to hear one more reporter say that there’s a cold going around that makes you breathe smoke — I swear to god. They’re calling it the dragon cold, which is such a whimsical name for a disease that is absolutely going to wreck it’s way across the earth.

“…the cold is first identified by exhaling a foggy condensation, and thus far does not seem to lead to fever or cough. Still, doctors recommend being extra careful with frequent hand washing, and covering coughs — adding that though this doesn’t seem to be causing any long term damage, we should still treat this disease as we would the flu.”

“What do they know about long term damage?” Lana asked, passing a hand over her face. “They haven’t seen any long term cases. They have no idea.”

“They’re trying to keep people calm,” Lily said.

“People shouldn’t be calm,” Chase replied. “People should be panicking. They should be sealing up their houses and buying canned food.”

The insane thing is that Lana has been in contact with the government by this point. She’s not fucking around. She left this morning to fly out to New York to meet with Carlo Bolti. Yes, that Carlo Bolti. The Boltech guy. Apparently she’s going to essentially beg for more money for more research.

“It’ll probably be Hedgewood witches that solve this thing,” Julian explained, watching the news anxiously. “But if we don’t get ahead of it soon, there just aren’t enough of them to keep up with a public health issue of this size. We’re hoping to head off this issue as much as we can from as many angles as we can.”

Which all makes sense, I guess. I don’t like how helpless we are. There’s literally nothing any of us can do to fix this fucking problem. We’ve rounded up the fog we can. Lily, Masma and all the Cierva witches have done everything they can to contain all the fog that escaped. We’re hoping that anything else out there will be too dispersed to cause any infection.

So far there have only been 22 confirmed cases, and Lana’s people have rounded up everyone and brought them out to Hedgewood. It’s their best hope, but there are only so many Hedgewood witches, and if this thing keeps spreading — which it most likely will — that won’t be enough.

We’ve done all we can. All we can do now is wait.

Neal’s breathing out fog.

He’s been taking excuses to not be around anyone all day, so I sort of knew, in some secret place that he was worried about being infected, but this evening Rook and I were in the back of the van watching a movie on the laptop and Neal banged on the side of the van.

When I swung open the back door, he said, “don’t come closer, I’ve got the ol’ smoke lung.” He put on a silly voice, so at first I thought he was joking. But then I saw that he was already masked up.

“Don’t freak out,” he said. “We’re getting me a whole suit situation. We’re gonna tape up the back of the car.”

“Are we leaving?” I asked.

“Julian’s packing up the hotel right now,” Neal said. “We’re going to Hedgewood. They’ll fix me up in no time.”

Everything is surreal.

We’re in the car already. We literally taped off the back of the car with plastic and Neal has the windows open back there, so we’re all fucking FREEZING cold, but unlikely to breathe in any fog. He feels totally fine, which he is determined to prove to Julian, who is, predictably, tense and silent.

I feel nothing. We’re whipping by farm land. Everything is going to be fine because if it isn’t I’m going on a fucking murder spree.

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