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for I had a little bird

8/12/2021 c1 VirReturnsFromMinbar
Short but good.
10/10/2020 c1 7TheRogue704
Wow, this was so dark, I love taking a look at what Faith is doing though, and your wording is like poetry. It truly brings me to empathize with her
9/8/2020 c1 idwhatv
All too real now, but cathartic, thanks
9/6/2020 c1 10Excel Aunt
You link current times of COVID19 panic to the Spanish Flu and even back to the black plague with the "Ring A Round the Rosy" quotes. 'We all fall down' indeed.

You do a great job of showing the helplessness Faith has for this situation. He desire to help yet at the same time to being reduced to only managing bodies. She sorts out the living, the just dead, the bodies for the next batch. At no point does she consider her own life as she cares for others in this She just wishes for it all to end.

Much like we wish today for it to end, although, Spanish Flu and Plague probably were a more serious situation. The drastic tolls of deaths pushed herd immunity for these diseases forward. I wonder-just wonder if what we're doing with COVid19 really helps the result of the pandemic. Not an expert in this at all, but if you can't stop a bird from flying away. It will escape its cage.
4/23/2020 c1 Wow
I am in awe...
This was such a moving story,every line was flawless reflecting the feeling of emptyness and hopelessness you get when you can't stop the suffering in front of all forgot that the Spanish flu happened right after WW1 and dear Faith was on the frontlines.
God send all the strength to those who are on the frontlines now...
4/13/2020 c1 AnneShirley
I can't say I loved this, because you cannot love such bleakness and sheer nihilism of tone, but this is so necessary. Because a hundred years ago, they were as hopeless, as overwhelmed and yet as resilient as we are now, and if we are to recall all the reminders of the physical battles that were fought with guns and bayonets, it's equally important to remember this one, particularly now when we seem to be fighting it over again.

And Faith is just the one to do it, to tell this story - she's intrepid in all iterations, with a passion for healing that is so poignantly evident here, but I'm particularly reminded of your Twist of Fate version, who was willing to give up everything to work with Doctors Without Borders during Ebola. On first reading this I was struck by the short, choppy sections, but later on, it seemed right. There's not much you can say about this fear, but then again, not enough. I'd often wondered, like many Anne fans, why LMM didn't mention the Spanish flu, even in passing, in Rilla of Ingleside, but I realise now that she, like all of us, was short of words to describe the magnitude of the horror and the tragedy. That you have found them is, in itself, admirable. Maybe we didn't need this story now, but it's all too necessary.

Unlike the other wartime nurse you've introduced us to, Rilla in Dark Clouds, who searched until the last for the humanity in every patient she treated, and found it, Faith here struggles and eventually gives up - the description of the "nameless, faceless man" shows that she has lost. In fact, we do not even know who her patients are - soldiers or civilians. Perhaps that's a testament to the dehumanising power of the virus itself - the way a tiny strand of RNA, endlessly reduplicating, can bring humanity to its knees. You show that particularly poignantly in the image of the cart with the bodies on it - if they're alive, they're not much better than if they are dead.

And my goodness, the lack of medical supplies just brings home the disaster. There are no hazmat suits, PPEs, or even ventilators. Patients drown in their beds and take others down with them, to the abyss Faith only dreams about as of now. Particularly the nurses - I haven't forgotten Rilla's bout of the flu in Dark Clouds, and how attenuated she was so long after. Here in India, a hospital in Mumbai has been declared closed after three doctors and numerous nurses tested positive for Covid - it's awe-inspiring and heartbreaking, the sacrifice that medical professionals make.

And that's why I'm on shaky territory as to whether Faith makes it out of this one - perhaps I'm just thinking of the apocalypse, like the rest of the world, but her dreams of the abyss definitely suggest that, like Walter did in canon, she could be having premonitions of her own death. The line "she's never been one to give in without a fight", followed by "And yet still, they die," definitely suggest that the 'they' encompasses and yet could be more than the patients; it could even include Faith herself.

To sum up, I'm hoping that someday this story will just be what its timeframe suggests - historical fiction. Not a frightening reminder of what we face today, a hundred years on. I hope you are well! x
4/13/2020 c1 32Feux follet
I don't think it is that we doesn't need it. It's more the reverse. Some won't want to hear/read it, but we desperately need it, because we are facing the same situation, and need to know that we are not alone, that it will end, one way or another. Thank you for sharing this story!

What struck me is the way you wrote about Faith, looking desperately to find something to hang on, but loosing every landmark, one by one : The hour, day or night, ... Faith have always been the strong one, the one who would laugh even when the situation was horrible, and the fact that she is too exhausted and distressed to even cry is meaningful, but so utterly right here. You did an amazing work!

The tone is hard, and you can feel the chaos around her, the fact that even reality doesn't make sens anymore. As you said, it's drowning, but while the patients are drowning because of the flu, the ones who help are drowning because they are left helpless to face the situation, and however hard they try, it's hard to hope for a light at the end of the tunnel, because it is like being glued, tangled in the situation that doesn't end, or so it seems.

I don't know if it will makes sense, but the words you used are the right ones. The tone you used is the right one. Thank you again, for everything. It was definitely needed!
4/12/2020 c1 1Massive HTTYD Fan
Nobody wants this story right now, but I’m not so sure that we don’t need it. 100 years on from every milestone in WW1, there have been people commemorating it. The world in ToF is going through some of those right now. But 100 years from the beginnings of the Spanish Flu, very few people would even have thought about it. 100 days ago, nobody imagined that the world would so soon be looking at statistics from the Spanish Flu and considered that it would be used as a comparison for another pandemic that has, quite literally, made the entire world judder to an almost complete standstill. People are looking at how many people were affected and how many deaths were caused by Spanish Flu, and they’re realising that this wasn’t just something that tagged on after WW1, it was something that had just as much of an impact on the world.

The contrast this story paints to our current situation is absolutely terrifying. It’s not *quite* as bad, but at the same time, we’re still having shortages of space in hospitals, not enough equipment, not enough doctors and nurses, and even with all the medical advances in the century since Faith had to deal with patients drowning in their own lungs, doctors are still completely unable to save some patients from an almost identical fate. And beyond trying to prevent it spreading, the only thing we can do is continue our lives and have faith that the world’s not going to go to pieces any more than it already has.

What I really wanted to say is that I absolutely love how well you’ve written this. The absolute chaos coupled with a deadening routine, how everything is new but at the same it’s the exact same thing over and over… the absolute despair and how Faith started off believing that this must end eventually, that because they’ve already been through so much and because the war ended this dreadful flu must also end, but then she just gives up believing in any of it… It’s painful, but it’s also extremely beautifully written.
4/12/2020 c1 18Alinyaalethia
I stand by what I said about how sometimes the dark/bleak can be just as cathartic as sweetness and light. Sometimes the only way out is *through* and you show that beautifully with Faith. There are some lovely sentences here. The opening one is particularly potent; She wants them to stop dying. But a game of ring-a-ring-a-roses no one wanted to play stands out too. It links us back to the title and this wonderful, dark inversion of children’s games. There’s something fantastically macabre about it and I love it. Of course I love it.

You write the unrelenting horror really beautifully. We all know that weird elision of time far too well by now, and much as it hurts to see it in Faith it hits home, too. We’ve all been there now, in our way. And the lack of beds - what gets me about this refrain is what a knife edge Faith lives on. You can feel her flirting with the edge of hysteria the more the bodies might be alive and the patients might be bodies. It’s just as muddled up as the time or the days of the week. And the idea that she has the space, or that she could triage them being so alien and exotic is heartbreaking.

I love too the bit about drowning, how we don’t think that would be the cause because they’re all snug in bed, but no, turns out you don’t need water to drown, that’s how topsy-turvy the world now is. Beautifully, lovingly done. Timely, and gorgeously written.
4/12/2020 c1 Andrea1984
Was für eine traurige Geschichte.

Herzliche Grüße
Andrea
4/12/2020 c1 12MrsVonTrapp
It's seems natural for you, kslchen, so steeped in your historical knowledge, to give us this bleak parable of Before to highlight Now. Mere years ago - mere months ago - the Spanish Flu was a terrible bookend at the end of a terrible war, and no one thought they'd see the like of either again. And yet, here we are.

We are all trying to make sense of this horrific time any way we can, and your story is valid and visceral - searing, even, and deservedly. It is an effective and affecting lens through which to explore and reflect and to process. Poor Faith can only process through her senses, here, and what hazy thoughts permeate her wretchedness and exhaustion. The fellow feeling with all the wonderful current frontline troops around the world - the truly heroic doctors, nurses and medical staff - is potent and appreciated. They, and Faith, have seen horrors they will never quite be able to unsee, and indeed no training would ever prepare you for that. For who can prepare for such an intangible enemy?

Such horrifying images here beautifully explored; the time-slippage of day to night, or even between days of the week; the men "drowning" in their beds, for those who even have them; the "taste" of death and the "smell" of hopelessness; the internal corrections she tries to make between "bodies" and "people". "The laugh in her throat that tastes of bitterness and bile" was marvellous. I especially appreciated your wordplay on the "faceless" and "fateless" man, and the lack of "choice and a chance". The same utterly terrible decisions are being make now, of course; whom to treat? For Faith, ever of action, having nothing positive to do is doubly disheartening - no one to sew up, and no way to soothe. She is merely a helpless gatekeeper between the dying and the dead. No wonder she fears herself, now, never to be pulled out of the "abyss."

Timely, terrible to contemplate, but utterly terrific writing. I admire you tremendously for taking a leap with this. I hope we can all in time, as 100 years ago, look back and shake our heads in horrified wonder. Until then we only have Faith as our guide, and keep going x
4/11/2020 c1 37oz diva
Well I guess I can understand where this comes from and the reason you wrote it. Some of us need to ignore it and some of us need to process it in depth.

You really bring to light the utter despair Faith (a terribly ironic name under the circumstances) feels at her utter hopelessness. I feel too that the situation then was worse than it is now, though it sounds pretty dire now too. At least we have respirators and some drugs even though they don't always work. Back then they had nothing at their disposal. So in a way I find this a tale of hope rather than despair.

That doesn't help Faith in the moment though. The fact that she's lost the passage of time is effective, had it just gotten dark or was the sun about to rise, and did it matter anyway. Her inability to sleep was poignant. The line about the French was interesting, how did they treat their patients? What did they have at their disposal that Faith does not.

I very much get the feeling that she is on her own here, apart from sundry porters and of course dying patients. She's on her own walking around the dead, just trying to make them live and really not managing.

Tragically sad, but terribly moving. Thank you. Next time someone says it's just a flu I'll direct them to this story.
4/11/2020 c1 YodaChick
Very poignant and timely. Who would have thought with advances in medicine, the world has been brought to its knees again 102 years after the Spanish Flu. And I hear stories from family in Italy and friends in NYC where people are dying seeking help, dying alone with no loved ones to comfort them and being buried in mass plague graves. It's very unfair inoccent people are dying. I only pray this ends soon. I'm doing what I can to flatten the curve as we are all front line soldiers. Our doctors and nurses should be our very last line.
4/11/2020 c1 14elizasky
This is lovely. I'm not sure about nobody needing this story now, but then again, I find myself re-reading all of my smallpox and cholera books at the moment. I think some people want escape and others want to immerse in order to process. It's clear that LMM did not want to immerse herself in the details of the flu epidemic, so she wrote herself a world where it didn't exist, but still provided space for her to express hope that all the world's suffering would ultimately be made meaningful. That left VAD Faith out in the cold for the back half of that book and left the task to you.

My favorite part of this is the dilation of time that you describe. "Death in installments" is a beautiful, concise little phrase. That feeling of being unmoored in weeks and days that don't really mean much anymore was perfect. I also notice the stark difference between your Dark Clouds Rilla, who called people by the small details that marked their individual humanity, and Faith in this state of utter extremity who isn't even sure whether people have faces. It makes sense that she would feel herself on more solid ground if she had something concrete to fight.

I wonder where you are imagining this chronology-wise, just in terms of ROI's "Word from Jem." This Faith can't process anything beyond immediate necessities, so she can't really process anything so abstract as Jem not being dead — in this nightmare state, it seems like that would just seem like another absurdity, rather than as good news. Throwing Faith into the thick of the epidemic puts the focus on her own trauma and how the war will have changed her as well. If she even gets home. RoI leaves us in daffodil time 1919, with Faith still nursing in England during the third flu peak (with TBAQ as shaky canon on which to peg her safety).

Thanks for sharing this one. It was a pleasure to read, even if everything else is a mess. I hope you and yours are well. We're all getting by alright here.
4/11/2020 c1 47Tinalouise88
Who would have thought 102 years later, the forgotten/disregarded Spanish flu that LMM wrote out of the book to not exist? Would come back in another form, that we would be facing today.

Have Faith, it jumped out at me in my head, before I even read it.

It dark, deary, but the spark the keeps her going is still there. There will be an end, there has to be.
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