Those Who Have Left Us

by Allen Stroud

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Two textual fragments, both dated 2025.

FRAGMENT 1 (NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT)

The Spanish Government has announced a new outbreak of the deadly Samudr or Pandora virus, just days after a recent emergence of the disease, which killed eight-four people, was declared over.

Four new cases of the virus were confirmed in Valencia. The Spanish health ministry issued a statement on on Wednesday confirming the suspect case, though there was no indication they were linked to the country's previous - and third - outbreak in Toledo last month.

"Although we did not expect to face a another epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system," Ministry spokesman Ramon Pérez said. "Any individuals in Valencia or the surrounding region who feel ill are urged to check the list of symptoms posted on the Government website and, if they remain concerned to contact their local hospital or doctor."

In response to the confirmation, the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to extend epidemic support funding to Spain for another two weeks. "We keep these matters under constant review," said WHO spokeswoman Doctor Sarah Larsson.

Spanish officials have not confirmed the particular strain of the Samudr/Pandora virus causing the outbreak but Perez stated it could be the Kargil (Samudr) strain or the Alaskan strain originating out of Moose Creek.

“If it is the Kargil variation, we may not have any vaccine options," he told Reuters at a press conference in Madrid.

FRAGMENT 2 (LETTER)

Mrs. Lomas:

I hope you don't mind me writing, but I would like to share with you my thoughts about your son's last sickness, and all the little things that might mean so much to a mother far away.

Niles Lomas was brought to this hospital on the 4th of April with the early symptoms of what they are calling Samudr or Pandora. This quickly soon developed into a very serious illness and he was placed in isolation for his own protection. Your son was brave and cheerful throughout, until he could no longer speak and began drift in and out of consciousness.

After three days he seemed better and began to eat. He enjoyed some fruit that I brought him and told me about you, saying he did not want you to worry about his being sick, but I told him I thought we ought to let you know, and he said all right.

That night he went through a relapse. We have seen this with other patients infected with Samudr. He became very weak, lost breath and we could not revive him. Everything was done to make him comfortable and I think he suffered very little, if any pain.

The Chaplain saw him several times and had just left him when he breathed his last on April 9th, at 4:30 in the morning.

He was laid to rest in the little cemetery behind the hospital. I know you would have wanted to attend the service, but with all the quarantines and risks of infection, I'm afraid we can't allow that. Precautions have to be taken with the remains of all victims, but we do try to preserve the dignity of those who have left us. Your son sleeps under a simple white wooden cross alongside others we have lost in the last few weeks. His grave number is 65, plot 8. His plastic identification tag is on the cross, and a similar one is around his neck, both bearing his serial number, 4087929A.

It is my thought that in this time of terrible loss, you would want to know your son made a connection with me. I liked him and I think we could have been friends in other circumstances. He was a lovely young man.

Sincerely,

Doctor Louise Saddler - World Health Organisation International Mission

Allen Stroudfragment