Why It’s Scary: Rabies is a horribly real disease, and just about everything in this book could actually happen in real life. I was bitten without provocation by a (non-rabid) dog many years ago, so there’s also the added horror of knowing how unpredictable some animals can be.
Why It’s Scary: The link above will direct you to a free pdf of this tale. It started off so gently that I had no idea what was coming, but the ending made me shudder. I actively look for the good in everyone and assume the best of their intentions, but some can be persuaded to do terrible things under certain circumstances.
Why It’s Scary: These characters entered area X knowing that communication with the outside world would be severed and that the rules of physics and biology in that area were wildly unpredictable at best. I would be terrified to explore a place like that, but it did make for a fantastic book and film.
Why It’s Scary: Not only is everything in this book entirely possible, similar things have happened to other school/mass shooters before. There’s something about realistic stories that makes them a thousand times more frightening.
It was 3 Celsius (37 Fahrenheit) but felt like 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) on this month’s visit. Once again, this temperature was warmer than we’d usually expect for this time of the year thanks to climate change. Typical January temperatures here generally remain below freezing all month long even before windchill is factored in. The somewhat sunny sky on this visit was also a bit out of the ordinary.
If you do decide to visit Toronto in January, pack warm clothing that you can easily wear as multiple layers and bring a pair of slip-resistant boots along with the usual hat, gloves, scarf, and a warm winter coat. Frostbite is a real risk here on much chillier days than this one, and it can happen quickly on the coldest days.
The weather was decent at the park this time. We really got lucky this year.
There is beauty to be found at the park now when everything is dead or dormant if you have a poetic mind. For example, such blue skies are a rare, precious gift in January!
The running and walking trail is once again unusable. This was one of the driest sections, and even it was muddy and filled with patches of slowly-melting ice.
This is a more accurate representation of the state of the trail in general. It’s icy, slippery, and muddy in the few places where the ice has begun to melt. Even people who don’t have any mobility issues must take care when walking on it. Running on it is nearly impossible now. The few joggers I noticed had switched to running on the sidewalks instead.
Some days are much snowier and slipperier than this one was! It’s common to see layers of snow and ice on all surfaces now. We were lucky to have mostly dry sidewalks on this particular day.
The snow is gorgeous when it sparkles in the winter sunlight in those moments, but anyone could easily slip and fall on the ice that is often hidden beneath all of that enticing snow.
There are other dangers in January park visits as well. We saw dozens of other visitors this time due to the nice weather, but this area can be isolated on colder, wetter days. Speaking as a woman here, I wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting the park alone then. This is a very safe area of the city in general, but it’s far enough away from busier streets that finding help could be a little tricky if I slipped on the ice and got injured or if a stranger tried to harm me.
Do keep these things in mind and be cautious if you’re ever in southern Ontario in the dead of winter and decide to visit any of our lovely parks. The chances of anyone getting hurt are low, but it’s always best to be prepared.
In happier news, the squirrels were running around doing cheerful rodent things on this warm winter day.
And I wonder if this hunk of melting snow was once a snow person?
There certainly would have been enough snow for that before it started melting.
This scene is virtually identical to the one from last month.
This one also seems to be the same as it was last month. It’s interesting to see leaves, brown and dead as they may be, in the middle of winter.
Another big change from our last visit had to do with how many layers I needed to be comfortable outside. I wore everything recommended at the beginning of this post other than the boots. I run a little cold in general, but boots would have been a bit much for the dry sidewalks I knew I’d be sticking to for the most part. People whose bodies run hot and who love winter might have been able to do without the scarf and gloves on this particular day if they don’t linger too long.
Face masks aren’t mandatory outdoors in Toronto, but they do help keep you a little warmer when that icy cold wind blows. I also find it easier to keep my mask on than to fiddle with it before going indoors again. The Covid-19 numbers have skyrocketed here this winter, so that’s yet another reason to be cautious and leave the mask on until I’m safe at home again.
Here is our tree friend who lost half of its branches in a storm from last winter.
Here is our tree friend who lost a third of its branches in a storm from last winter. This part of the park has many massive trees in it and therefore seems to hold onto snow a little better than other sections.
It’s still too soon to say how either of them are faring this winter. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Finally, here is what the walkway looks like on a warm January day when most of the ice has had a chance to melt. The evergreen trees that provides such nice shade in the summer can keep this area slippery for quite a while after big winter storms, but it was pretty walkable when I visited this time.
Thank you all for taking these virtual walks with me over the last eleven months! You’ve now seen the park during every month of the year.
We will visit it one final time this spring when I check in on how those two damaged trees survived this winter after being so terribly damaged last winter.
As COVID-19 continues to dominate news coverage and social media feeds, it’s no surprise that the pandemic has also started affecting people’s sleep routines. Many people are reporting vivid, sometimes stressful dreams…
When I first read that article last month, I didn’t think it applied to me.
My sleeping and dreaming habits have remained more or less the same since this pandemic began.
As always, the dreams I remember are vivid and exciting. The dream version of me often does things that real-life Lydia would never dare to. I’ve heard this is something that’s more common for us introverts, although I don’t know how true that is.
Then my brain decided to kick into overdrive. I should note that I’ve dreamt about various versions of this mansion for at least a decade now. The exact layout of the rooms change, but it always looks Victorian, is filled with heavy, wooden furniture, has poor lighting, and has more floors than I can generally manage to explore before I wake up. Oh, and it’s always haunted, and not by friendly ghosts.
On the rare occasions I make it all the way up to the attic, some pretty exciting stuff happens there involving me getting into long intellectual discussions with various deities and mythological beings. But this dream was typical in that it ended long before I thought to walk up all of those flights.
In the dream, my spouse and I decided to take a long weekend trip to visit this mansion. There were only a few other folks who had booked rooms, so we thought we could adhere to the physical distancing requirements well while still having a nice change of scenery.
The mansion was as beautiful, dark, and Victorian as ever. There was an old-fashioned library in it this time, and I ached to read all of the books. The problem was that the ghosts made their presence known long before I finished exploring the house, much less settled down to read for a while.
We’re never happy to see each other. Normally, the dream ends with me racing upstairs to find the attic before they catch me since that’s the one place in the mansion they don’t seem to be allowed to go.
This time, I realized there was a second safe place to run to: the bedroom my spouse and I had been given for the weekend.
He and I ran to it, slammed the door shut, and locked it with the ghost on our tails.
What made this dream unique was that the lock and door kept her out. She could ask us nicely to open it and let her enter, but she could do nothing else without an open door and invitation. We were safe, albeit trapped in a much smaller space than we’d been expecting to enjoy for the weekend.
Now if that isn’t a quarantine dream, I don’t know what is! Yes, she was definitely a ghost and not a vampire. I wish the story had continued so I knew what happened next.
What vivid things have you all been dreaming about this spring?
Title: Patient Zero: Post-Apocalyptic Short Stories (Project Renova #0.5)
Author: Terry Tyler
Publication Date: 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Length: 120 pages
Source: I received a free copy from Terry
Rating: 4 Stars
The year is 2024. A mysterious virus rages around the UK. Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control. Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.
1. Jared: The Spare Vial Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…
2. Flora: Princess Snowflake The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.
3. Jeff: The Prepper What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?
4. Karen: Atonement She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.
5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.
6. Ruby: Money To Burn Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.
7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…
8. Evie: Patient Zero Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.
9. Martin: This Life Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.
Content warning: death. This will otherwise be a spoiler-free post.
It’s impossible to get away from an invisible foe that has spread everywhere.
Normally, I pick about three short stories in an anthology and do mini-review for all of them. This time I decided to shake things up since everything in this collection has the same setting. The characters change, but the effects of the Kerivoula Lanosa (bat fever) virus are felt by everyone in this world.
The character development was well done across the board. Each character had a limited amount of time to show the audience who he or she was due to how everything was formatted, so I was impressed by how well I got to know everyone. Their unique personalities shone through no matter how many or how few pages they had to share their experiences. While I can’t say that I’d necessarily want to be buddies with everyone in this universe, I did want to learn more about all of them. They were all genuinely interesting folks, and that’s something I always love discovering in a book.
While I didn’t expect to have every question of mine answered neatly, especially since I haven’t read the rest of this series yet, I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to the final story. Martin: This Life had a tone that was nothing like anything else I’d read earlier. It also introduced a plot twist that had not been so much as hinted at in any of the other stories. In fact, it seemed to change the genre classification entirely. I was intrigued by this surprise, but I also wish it had been explained a little better.
With that being said, I still enjoyed this collection and would recommend it to new and longterm fans of Ms. Tyler’s work alike. It left me with so many questions about what happened next in this universe that I can’t wait to read everything else about these characters and the plague they tried to survive.
This anthology is part of the Project Renova series, but it can be read as a standalone work.