It felt great to be back out in the world.
She couldn’t wait to head into the hills and revisit all her favourite spots – hill climbing was not something you could do while locked down in your house and sticking to the local area.
She felt a little rusty to start with, even though she’d been keeping a strict fitness regime up in her home, but once she’d clambered up a few slopes and traversed a few ridges and boulder fields she could feel her muscle memory kicking in and she start moving freely again.
This was the sort of social distancing she really enjoyed, not a soul around. She breathed in the fresh mountain air.
She followed the route she knew well that led to the rock plateau – the perfect spot to stop and have the lunch she had brought with her, with the sun beating down from the blue sky.
Something wasn’t the same. She paused, then moved forward, uncertain of what had changed. It was the opening to the plateau, she realised. The huge boulders had definitely moved. They were closer together. Had there been some sort of landslip?
There was still enough room for her to get through. She slowed her pace a little, carefully picking her steps across the uneven rocks. She crossed the gap without a problem and stepped through the narrow space.
But she wasn’t standing on the rock plateau. It was a dark cave of some kind. She felt a cold chill in the air. What was this place? What was going on?
‘Welcome to the Haven,’ a voice said.
She had no time to reply before the chains wrapped themselves around her wrists and ankles.
‘First, we must make sure you are free of the virus.’
A needle entered her outstretched arm.
‘If you are negative, you will join us in the New World.’
‘And if I’m not?’ she managed to ask.
There was no reply.