Fifteen months into a dystopian nightmare where lost smiles hide behind a germ filled rag. Silent bodies move around the supermarket convincingly righteous in their hypnotic daze, glaring angrily at my maskless face. I nod back a smile in saddened pity. The robotic silence of shelf stackers is heavy as the constant orders of safety, hand washing and distance are blasted from nearby speakers to instil the fear. Sweat moist brows focus seriously on the task in hand lest a distraction of a smiling face regurgitates a time long gone. Of jolly laughter and comradeship. So Dead eyes rest instead under heavy lids, above the masks.

I determinedly wander down each isle to gather my produce as quick as I can. The deafening sound of fans and fridges cover up the noiseless fury, of degraded and humiliated human beings. The butcher’s knife cuts through meat with fervent precision, displaying a master craft. His mischievous eyes challenging the baker’s skills who in return studiously decorates his cakes with shinning eyes and inner beauty. I delight in this happy banter until suddenly it stops. And so surround me a Zombie tribe with hollow eyes and spitting vile, behind their masks.

My heart beats hard and anxiety twirls inside my stomach as I stand up against these bullies. With reason and respect, I push through this great wall of hostile haze. An elderly gent greets me with cheery eyes and a welcome chat as we talk about the Mass Corruption! “We’re going back a hundred years under the ruling of these traitors!” I smile fondly at his wisdom! These wonderful old people remember tyranny! My heart breaks for our poor old Dear’s locked behind closed ‘Care Home’ doors that will silence them forever. And the masked don’t see their culling.

A glorious sound fills my ears of a little infant babbling excitedly. Her inquisitive eyes languishing her surroundings. Delightedly, I engage in gabble and her wonderful smile fills my heart. Such an unusual sight of a little child in a store filled with wordless shoppers, where children are banished for fear of germs. Suffer little Children sorrows my soul. What hope have they with fearful parents ? And hidden reassurance behind their masks? I don’t flaunt my maskless face to disrespect my friends, family and neighbours.

I am standing up for my children and grandchildren. For their freedom. For their right to breathe. I won’t be masked.

Jean Murray xxx

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