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Corona: An Autobiography

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

The power of the coronavirus, told from a cell’s point of view.

I was born in darkness. A shadow in a world of shadows. Drifting in the void, suspended in an amniotic universe, questioning, waiting for meaning. Patience. Soon.

A sign. Pulses radiating from my core to the edges of my being. Cryptic code pulsing with feverish intensity. I thrum with impatience to learn the master plan. On the cusp. Soon.

The code hums. Letters form words but meaning is elusive. In the gray shadow world alien forms float by, mysterious and meaningless. I am alone and waiting.

No, not alone. There. Robed in color, a creature glorious in its spherical perfection. And the crowns. Oh, such pillars of power and majesty! A thrill of recognition. We are kin. My own crowns tremble in anticipation as my beautiful twin approaches. A binding? No. The distance widens between us. My radiant coronas have a greater purpose.

A disturbance in the murky sea sets me spinning as an army approaches, each soldier’s arms raised in a V of anticipated victory. Pointing their arms at my crowns—my beautiful coronas powerless against the onslaught—they relay their battle plan: Lock, block, neutralize. They attack. I must not cower or they will claim my coronas as trophies. I dodge and twist, but still they come. Retreat is the only option, but too late. They are almost upon me.

Still I retreat until I hit a barrier. Trapped. Nowhere to hide. I will perish never knowing the glory that was my due. My crowns press roughly against the impenetrable wall. You are ours, shout the enemy warriors on the brink of victory. Then the miracle. One of my crowns locks into the wall, and there is a softening beneath me. I thrust my crowns into the barrier, and the membrane gradually yields to my power, and yes, it opens as I penetrate its flesh. And yes! I’m inside.

Inside this new world my code unscrambles, and I parse the syntax of my destiny: Invade, conquer, usurp, multiply. The imperative propels me through the viscous landscape toward a place of substance—the core—the center where the power lies, where twisted coils gyrate—delicate—gossamer—floating—commanding all within their realm. The coils unfurl, emerging one by one from the core. Messengers, shouting orders to their workers. I hide among them camouflaged.

Speaking their language, I issue my orders, but they don’t hear me. Louder. “I give the orders. I wear the crowns. I want.” Shrieking now. “Must have.” The messengers’ voices dim. “More, more,” I shout. They yield. Capitulation complete. I am the master architect, and this is my destiny. To command my slaves to make children in my own image. And all around me are born my babies. Hundreds, millions. I am the creator of multitudes. The world is filled with their cries. They push against the walls that confine them, yearning to be free, yelling their commands, which are my commands. The battlements give way, and we explode into the vastness. E pluribus unum. Ex uno pluria. Past the Y-soldiers who are powerless against us. This world belongs to us, now. And we will conquer other worlds until the universe is ours.

And hear this: We will never die.

Published in the Pandemic Project, an anthology written by the members of the Bucks County Writers Workshop during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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