Jim’s mother was asking him if he was ready for school.
He came out of his bedroom, his uniform all neat and tidy and stood before his mum.
She adjusted his tie and then helped him put on his face mask. He’d grown used to the new mask she made him wear. He was used to it, the way it enclosed around his face, and he was pleased that he could breathe easily through it.
The mask was necessary these days as the virus threat was well and truly a part of their lives. Everyday, there were reports of virus mutation, and the wearing of masks was mandatory.
Jim, stood still as his mother made sure the mask was fitting snugly. The new mutations could get into not only one’s mouth and eyes, but evidence was growing of the virus infiltrating the body through the ears.
Jim looked out at his mother through the mask, a clear plastic-like covering over his face, the mask fitting neatly under his chin in which a filter had been fitted to allow him to breathe easily.
This was life nowadays; his mother often told him of the days of her youth when masks were not something anyone bothered with, viruses were about but not life-threatening as they were now.
So, it was off to school, a place in the centre of the town where the students met in front of computer screens, the teachers in some remote location, and it was difficult to tell where they actually were.
Today was a special day as the Principal in Chief was to address the students. The big central screen would be revealed, and they would sit to attention while the Principal in Chief addressed them. Jim found it boring most days and anticipated falling asleep at some stage.
Knowing what the day had in store for him, he set off. His street was a short distance from the school, and he walked along passing abandoned houses, their occupants long dead from the virus, the yards showing neglect as the population had dwindled considerably in the past year as a particularly virulent strain of the virus had taken hold.
Jim and his parents had been vaccinated and so were relatively safe from the virus, but there was no telling when a new mutation might appear, and so Jim was required to wear the mask as a safeguard, as was every other kid in his school.
It was a way of life; Jim knew no other, it was how things were.
The shops in the main street were also decimated, boarded up, falling down only the general store remained selling all that was required. Choice had long disappeared.
Jim turned into the main gate of the school, his mate Bill waiting for him, and they walked into the classroom discussing their latest video game achievements.