(This is a generalized survey. Sure, every story is different, but generally, what do you think of when you recall, oh, The Hobbit? Stranger in a Strange Land? The Shining? Tailor, Tinker, Soldier, Spy? Snow Crash? American Gods? Old Man’s War? etc.)
Rabies, HIV, Hepatitis, Tetanus can all be spread through bites, animal or human. There are of course insect bites that will give you all kinds of diseases: yellow fever, dengue fever, Lyme disease, plague, malaria, etc. But I’ll focus on Rabies, for now.
The discovery of the cause of rabies didn’t occur until the early 1800’s and didn’t get a vaccine until Louis Pasteur figured things out later that century.
I have to wonder about the disease, Lyssavirus (named after Lyssa, the Greek goddess of insanity and rage) and its symptoms, in one variant, madness and an odd psychological fear called hydrophobia.
So, you, a carrier, bite someone and your victim becomes infected, insane with madness, and cringes from the sight of some mundane substance. Sound familiar?
(Seems that Lyssa and Lycaon, the Greek king who was cursed by Zeus to become the first werewolf, could have made the perfect couple.)
Hey, Bram Stoker, did you read about rabies in the London libraries around the 1890’s? Two legends, vampires and werewolves, both being vectored by saliva (viral infection) passed during a bite. Hmm, a curious coincidence.
Five subway trains had stopped, disgorged and consumed meals of commuters and tourists then eased their silent weight into the westbound tunnel, vanishing like wraiths. Sounds of the sixth train echoed its arrival. However, the blast of warm air, pushed in front, went unnoticed. Mr. Derby Lough sat tucked in his herringbone coat and gloves, now and then hovering a hand over the cardboard box sitting next to him on the bench. The size and weight of a hearty loaf of bread—the kind with seeds that his wife said was ‘so much more healthy’—the box had his name and address printed in the corner, even though he’d had to pick it up in person. His hand hovered again. It came close, but never touched its surface.
“Hey, wasn’t you in that same spot, lease two hours ago?”
Mr. Lough placed his hand in his lap and tilted his head up…
I was going to put this off, but it’s time for another discussion of mechanics. If only for me.
I complain a lot about scene-setting. And paragraph construction. What I’d like to do is what we did back in freaking high school. Dissect a passage of literature to discover its mechanics. Most people I engage with these days have no idea what I’m talking about. “Show Don’t Tell” with stilted, unimaginative call and response dialog is the main topic of discussion. Or compositional cut-and-paste sectionality. That’s a made-up word, sectionality. I figure it’s okay because the other day I watched a video where a hotshot DJ demoed a piece of software. He used a made-up word for a feature that’s been around longer than he’s been alive. If someone more literate, or even one working off phonics, went looking for that feature? They would never find it. Never mind. I…