I made my escape as the apes' brutal reprisal against the pigs sent swine squealing into the night and the scent of bacon drifting across campus.
But first, some context.
Jack Kirby moved from Marvel Comics to DC in the early 1970s, and received a free hand to do pretty much anything he wanted. While his New Gods made the most significant and lasting changes to the fictional universe inhabited by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, his best-selling contribution was Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Set in a post-apocalyptic earth inhabited by sentient animals and bestial humans, it drew both on the success of Planet of the Apes (for which Marvel had the comic-book rights) and Kirby's own, "The Last Enemy," a story from a 1957 issue of Alarming Tales.
All of this leads to a dream from early this morning, the first dream I can recall that expressly relates to the current pandemic.
The dream took me to a city much like the one I actually live in, though not quite the same. It clearly was experiencing the pandemic, with fewer people and cars on the streets, and everyone keeping polite distance. But I also inhabited another version of that city, either in the future or an alternate universe. That universe recalled rather strongly Kamandi's. The storyline-- it was one of those dreams-- was, however, the product of my own dreaming brain, with echoes of 12 Monkeys.
A wizard had hired me to act, Bilbo-like, as a thief. I had to locate and take important relics from the past, required for some reason. Fortunately, I had the ability to shift between realities. I could walk to the target location in our reality (maintaining social distance, of course), and then shift into the Kamandi-esque one once I was near the required object. It never occurred to me to ask why a wizard would require me to steal things. Couldn't he get them himself? Of course, they are subtle and quick to anger.
Apparently, an ongoing conflict existed between gorillas and swine. I gathered that, in the recent past, the pigs had committed unimaginable wartime atrocities. I had to enter the porcine command centre, located in an old, partially overgrown dormitory that resembled uncannily the one I inhabited for the first two years of my undergraduate degree.
The apes were shadowy. The pigs were graphically realistic, disturbing creatures, tusked and despite their anthropomorphic posture, based more on feral hogs than the more familiar, neotenous breeds. They were genuinely the stuff of nightmares. The night I entered the building, the apes scaled it to the largely empty upper floors. Anthropomorphic pigs, apparently, do not like to live too high off the grounds. Although they had to battle a few upper-level sentries, they quickly exacted their terrible revenge for whatever atrocities the swine had committed in the past. They poured gas or alcohol, something flammable, at any rate, down the sides and into the pipes and set it on fire before, somehow, getting out of the building. I'm actually not certain how they escaped the conflagration themselves, but dreams are like that.
Presumably, I escaped using the dimensional shift method. I found myself walking down the contemporary, still largely empty campus, carrying my find, which looked rather like an old board-game with wooden pieces. I rather hope, in retrospect, I didn't go through it all just so my employer could have a collectible or sell one on eBay.
I eventually found my way to my next target, apparently just across campus, a place inhabited by anthropomorphic bovines. I recall little of these, beyond catching, in darkness, an upright minotaur with the head of a Texas longhorn.
I have no idea what this means, but feel like it should become a short story or a videogame.
The news upon waking this morning reports that infection by asymptomatic carriers may be playing a greater role in spreading this pandemic than was previously believed, though no source gives conclusive evidence. The province of Ontario plans to release their projections relating to the spread of the novel coronavirus, though these models will obviously be tentative and subject to significant change. For now, the Canadian government has no specific plans to formally release whatever models they might be using.
Johns Hopkins University estimates, as of today, we have more than a million cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The estimated global death toll approaches 60,000.