"I was retired six years when the rumors started to go around about the outbreak in Africa. Sickness and violence were nothing new, of course, but friends of mine on the international beat were running and scared. The natives were bailing out of West Africa in masses, an exodus like no one had ever seen before. They weren't just leaving-they acted as if they wouldn't ever go back again. They'd seen refugees before, whole families were carrying the old, the young, the sick and wounded, on handcarts piled with farming tools and cooking pots-all their worldly possessions. But this time those refugees had to fight for space on the roads with panicked herds of wild animals and long convoys of military trucks and tanks. Even the warlords and their soldiers, the corrupt politicians and the relief workers were running. People walked if the couldn't run, crawled if they couldn't walk--always moving east and north, trying to escape what was coming.A friend of mine fought his way through a mob to look for the truth in Cameroon and Ghana. He would end up in a mental asylum. The messages he left on my answering machine was just plain spooky-he went on for nearly five minutes babbling about zombies and evil wizards and living darkness, Poor Arthur. Even I thought he had lost his mind, but he was a better reporter and a better friend than I ever knew. He tried to give me the scoop of a lifetime. Damn shame I didn't listen."
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