Skins

The 4 Riders of the Apocalypse

We had been cut off from the world, sealed behind yellow tape…

Story by Caterina Clerici
Photo © Luca Babini

Photo Collage © Luca Babini

I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering. I thought I had left the window open, as it was one of these warm early autumn nights, this silly autumn with no colors on the leaves, no rain, no sun. But I hadn’t. I could feel the fever though – and started coughing. It was almost as if I could see myself already bleeding inside. I felt trapped and got dressed all of a sudden, but only then realized I actually couldn’t leave the apartment buildings. No one from the 11th precinct could. We had been cut off from the world, sealed behind yellow tape*

Instead of making my way to the front door I turned towards the window and stood staring in the dark. Innocent rays of light were leaking from the half moon and I could feel there was a weird energy in the air, almost electric, and a firm breeze like the one blowing before the hurricane comes. It’s not hurricane season, I heard myself mumbling out loud. And it was true. It had never been hurricane season at this time of the year before – but that also had changed a couple of years back. The ocean had risen and we had already seen its fierce hatred towards us. But we were unprepared, we didn’t see how that was only a symptom of something bigger going on, underneath the surface of the earth, we still refused to acknowledge nothing would ever be the same after that. And the city was destroyed**

Cold winds were now blowing on my face through a crack in the plexiglass. I thought about how many people were still homeless since the tragedy. Then I thought about how many of them were already homeless before nature started revolting against us, punishing us because we hadn’t made any efforts to understand what it was trying to tell us. Or maybe because we had never really listened to each other and that’s why now we had to resort to the quarantine. I felt a warm drip from my nose and automatically swiped it away with my hand, like a kid who has just been caught with a running nose and no handkerchief. But it was blood***

A flashlight blinded me and I thought I saw a dark figure, a black hood immediately evanescing from sight and into the moonlight, ducking behind one of the garbage bins unlawfully occupying the driveway of the apartment complex. I could have sworn the metallic contours of a rifle were gleaming on his back. After the storm took away half of the coast, people started arming themselves and looting. Then when looting could not be excused anymore, they tried to cover it up with an ideology. Nature had turned against us and people could only have faith in themselves – but one against the other. Some of us were refusing to take up arms and that’s when we were forced into hiding – or quarantine, as we later found out. And we might be infected but we at least we’re free. That’s what I thought until I heard voices and a gunshot. I knelt on the floor right below the window, trying not to move, as flashlights pointing into the apartment from outside were examining my posters on the walls. The nose hadn’t stopped bleeding but I barely noticed, lost in the realization that the electricity I felt in the air last night wasn’t announcing a hurricane, but a war****

Thank God then I woke up. This time for real.

notes:
*4665 reported human cases of Ebola. 2431 reported deaths among human cases of Ebola so far, according to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention.

** The record ice loss in 2012, a direct consequence of climate change, caused the warming up of the Arctic Ocean that reportedly worsened the destructive potential of Superstorm Sandy.

***A year after Sandy, 22,000 people were still reported to be homeless in New York City boroughs as a consequence of Superstorm Sandy. In Haiti, the hurricane displaced 200,000. The country’s Gross National Income per capita is about half of Nicaragua’s, the second poorest country in the Americas (after Haiti, of course) and 78% of the people live under the US$2 a day poverty line, according to the World Bank. NYC is the second richest city in the world after Tokyo based on their GDP in 2013. But half of New Yorkers live near the poverty line (“CEO Poverty Measure 2005-2012, an Annual Report from the Office of the Mayor”)

****The headquarters of Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town of Kobane were captured by Islamic State jihadists on Friday, October 10. If Kobane falls to them, the United Nations fear thousands will be massacred. And Turkey will be closer.

 

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Icarus Blake: Editor in Chief
Lora Wiley: Managing Editor
Teo J. Babini: Senior Editor
Greta Pininfarina: Fashion Director
Miko Sala: Art Director
Tiffany Credle: Senior Publishing Editor
Luigi Scarcella: Graphic Illustrator
Nancy Cooper: Finance Supervisor
ePublished by Kodezero NYC
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Contributors to this issue:

Caterina Clerici/The 4 Riders of the Apocalypse/Killah Hills 10304: No Ebola in Little Liberia
Caterina is a Milanese independent journalist who landed in New York via London. She writes/photographs/records AND reads about diaspora communities, social issues, Tuareg music, mental illness, Liberia, and sometimes the joys of living in Brooklyn, of course.
caterina.clerici@gmail.com

Thor Benson /I Already Love to Hate you, Los Angeles/It’s Time to Give up on Everything
Thor Benson is a traveling writer currently based in Portland, Oregon. Benson has been featured in literary journals across the country, including: Black Heart Magazine, Empirical Magazine, The Conium Review, FictionBrigade, and more. He is also a freelance journalist for publications like Vice Magazine, Examiner.com, and DailyKos. Benson can be found at a run-down whiskey bar.
thorbenson@gmail.com

Joe Sonnenblick/We are losing sight in Ferguson
Joe Sonnenblick is an actor and writer, has studied under the tutelage of New York’s dope fiends, pushers, vagrants and women. Thanks to coffee and pot.
jsonnenblick@gmail.com

Christopher McKenney/Weird in the Woods
A conceptual photographer from Pennsylvania specializing in horror surrealist photography. Christopher is a internationally published artist and is featured on countless blogs across the web.
chrismckenneyphoto@gmail.com

Isabel Chiara/Isabel Chiara is Inside

Isabel Chiara is a freelance illustrator and designer based in Spain. She holds a degree from The Art Institute Sevilla in Illustration and Graphic Design.
isabelchiara@hotmail.com

Gregg Segal/7 Days of Garbage
Gregg Segal studied photography and film at California Institute of the Arts. After detouring through film and an MFA from New York University in dramatic writing, Segal returned to photography with a writer’s sense of theme and irony. His photography has been recognized with awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, PDN and the Society of Publication Designers. Segal’s portraiture is regularly featured in Time, Fortune, Wired, and ESPN. Segal won the Jury’s choice award at the Tokyo International Photography Festival in 2013. Recent solo exhibits include None of the Above at Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, OR) and State of the Union at The O. Winston Link Museum (Roanoke, VA).
http://www.greggsegal.com

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