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Ryan is a writer, editor, and web strategist, living and working in Ottawa, Canada, who graduated with a BA in English and Politics from Trent University in 2002. He enjoys writing fiction, writing poetry, running, and going on long nature walks. Ryan previously published, Events Quarterly, an online magazine which showcased short stories, poetry, articles, interviews, and digital art work from writers and artists around the world. Some of the more notable interviews included Tiffany Thiessen (Saved by the Bell), Steve Alten (NY Times Best Selling Author), and Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies). He has worked on social media campaigns, email marketing, and many web sites and online campaigns.


Trigger Warning

July 11, 2025

“Hey beautiful, come give me a kiss.”

Sara jumps up on me, almost knocking me over, and she starts licking my face. I pet her head softly then we continue walking through the forest. I’ve prepared for this moment.

I have several large rainwater tanks, and I can use the water to cook, clean, and drink. I’ve purchased a very expensive filtration system and even a machine that extracts water from the air. I’ve cleared a field near the cabin where I’ll grow corn, soy, vegetables, and chia seeds. Considering what has been happening, I won’t be farming any animals. The clearing will also be used to collect solar power, which can be stored in one of several large storage batteries. These won’t last forever, but I have a wood stove for the colder months, so I’ll make it through.

I have canning jars, and grains that will last several years, canned food, and of course, food for Sara. I’ll be lonely when Sara dies, but right now, this is how I’ll survive. I have a hunting rifle in case I need it. I’ll build a greenhouse in time to plant for early autumn.

If others like me want to live here, we can clear more land, build more cabins, and collect more water. I have a radio, and a few different communication devices to try to keep up to date on what’s happening in the outside world. This is the beginning of a new world.

February 10, 2025

“Look, many scientists are saying that global warming isn’t a threat to our planet. The planet will adapt like it always has,” says Thomas Clark, the puffy faced host of a news show on the Wolf Network.

“That’s right Thomas, and as we all now know, the real news is out. Global warming is a hoax. 31,000 scientists say there is no convincing evidence that humans are causing global warming,” argues Matt Romano, another guy with a puffy face. I’m not really sure what his credentials are, but he seems to speak with an undeserved confidence.

I laugh out loud.

Thomas, Matt, and Michael (an actual climate scientist) look at me. I just smile and nod, not saying anything.

Michael, screws up his face a little bit, raising an eyebrow and frowning, shakes his head and says: “those were engineers and chemists, and that was years and years ago. Those people don’t know anything about climate. They just signed a nonsense petition, which was never verified.”

Matt’s puffy face turns a little red, and he pipes up: “Do you really believe that global warming nonsense? Have you been brainwashed by the elitist academic cult?”

Thomas looks at me, and says: “Sam, you haven’t said much. I understand that your position on global warming is that it won’t destroy the planet. Should we destroy our economy to save the planet?”

“I don’t think climate change is likely to destroy the planet. I’m also not a climate scientist though. I work with probability. Most humans live near the ocean though, and if the earth warms enough, the extreme weather and flooding will cause most of us to die. With the earth at a fraction of its population, economies and distribution will fail and most of the survivors will end up dying from war, famine, and disease. At that point, humanity won’t affect the temperature of the earth because there won’t be enough of them. The issue is not climate change though, it’s the weird and unnatural way we live. The entire planet is basically an animal farm. It’s the reason that Matt and you, Thomas, have puffy faces, too much consumption of animal products. Humans don’t need that much to thrive. It’s causing water supply shortages, lowering human life spans, causing an increase in desertification, responsible for most pandemics, leading to food shortages, and of course causing climate change. If we all followed the one, two, three rule, the world would be fine. Eat meat once a week, dairy twice a week, and eggs three times a week. If we all did that, nobody would have to be a vegan, the world would continue to survive, and we wouldn’t need to be having this conversation,” I retort.

Everyone’s jaw drops. They all believe the conversation is about oil, but we use massive amounts of oil carting around animals, and carting around the food to feed those animals.

Puffy faced Matt looks even angrier now when he says: “so you think if I stop eating meat, the planet is somehow saved?”

“Again Matt, you obviously eat too much meat. It shows in your inflamed face. One person won’t save the planet, but we all can. I don’t think climate change will get us first though. I think it’s more likely to be a pandemic or maybe even two pandemics. Either way, when massive amounts of people die, human caused climate change will not be much of an issue. Farming animals will kill most humans,” I say.

Thomas looks confused and says: “all humans aren’t going to die. We’ll continue on. We always do. There have been viruses and global weather changes in the past, and look we’re still here.”

I nod and say: “Sure. Humanity will survive, but we’ll be dead. People that we love will die. For those who survive, the most likely outcome is that everyone they know will die, and for those who don’t die, they will suffer. The alternative is just to eat animal products less often, and the reward is a habitable planet, less chance of heart attack, diabetes, and cancer. Oh, and the puffy face will deflate as well. Thomas, you’re a somewhat handsome man, unlike Matt, so you’ll look a whole lot better.”

March 1, 2025

I’m sitting down with a good friend and climate scientist at a coffee shop. We meet every few months to catch up, talk about life, politics, and whatever.

Judy takes a sip of her cappuccino and says: “I saw you on Wolf.”

“Ah. Yeah, that was weird. I’m not sure why I went on there.”

“You had some great points, but I think you lost with the pandemic talk. The meat argument needed to be heard, but we’ve had a lot of pandemics, and I think we’ve fixed it now. We find them, isolate people, close borders, and vaccinate. They don’t even turn into pandemics anymore. We don’t usually see more than three or four countries affected. It’s a good system,” she argues.

“Are new viruses constantly travelling around, mutating and spreading to tens of thousands of people really a good system? We have a super spreader that’s going around now. It’s considered ten times easier to spread than the pandemics of 2020 or 1918.”

“Yeah, but we have systems in place, and it’s not even a pandemic. It’s just a bird flu. It’s only in North America. People overseas are calling it the American virus. We can stop this like the rest of them. It will be fine.”

It was fun debating with Judy and catching up with her. On the car ride home, I turn on the radio.

The man on the radio says: “there have been 3 reported cases of rabies in New York City in the last 3 months.”

That’s very strange. The average is 0, or at least it was.

April 2, 2025

I find myself at a meeting table with the world’s top doctors, virologists, and a few Presidents and Prime Ministers.

A man I don’t recognize begins speaking: “Thanks for coming everyone. As you all know there have been rabies outbreaks in Mexico City, New York City, and Toronto. It’s been a long time since any of these places have seen even one case of rabies, but we are now getting a case a month, and we are seeing a huge increase in animal rabies as well.”

A virologist, whose name tag reads ‘Jimmy’ says: “Sam, this is why we’ve asked you here. We’re trying to figure out the likely origin of the rabies. We know that it’s not airborne, but a lot of people are getting it.”

“Um, thanks Jimmy. I’m flattered to be here. I don’t know much about viruses, but I can tell you that however many cases you’ve found of rabies, there could be 100 times the amount you think there are, which means you don’t know if the virus is airborne or not.”

A US General, whose name tag reads, ‘General Howser’ speaks up: “What’s this based on? You don’t know anything about viruses, and you’re saying that we’ve missed 99 cases out of 100. The last known case of human rabies in New York City was in 1947 son. Are you saying there were 99 other people who had rabies in New York City at the time?”

Everyone was looking at me. I felt like I was the entertainment. “First of all General, I am not your son, and no there were not 99 other cases of rabies in New York City in 1947. There was one, and we know this because more didn’t show up later. Back then rabies was on the decline. Now it is clearly on the rise. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it can take a very long time for rabies symptoms to take hold, which means you would only know if a person got rabies if they were bit by a rabid animal or if they had symptoms. This allows for the 100 times possibility that you are missing 99 cases. We’ve seen this with other viruses in the past. You’re catching up.”

A chinese doctor who calls herself Wendy points at me and gives me a thumbs up. “Yeah, that’s right. Rabies can take up to a year for symptoms to kick in. We think it might be spreading in an airborne way because of the American virus. The American virus is causing a lot of sneezing and coughing, and it is indeed airborne, which is likely to make rabies have the same aerosol effect in those affected. We suspect the rabies virus transferred from a rodent to a pig and onto an unsuspecting farmer who got bitten then got the American virus. We have about 30,000 cases of the American virus now, so we need to stop it fast, but we also need a good understanding of how many people have rabies.”

I shake my head no a little. “When did the first known case of rabies happen?”

Jimmy looks up quizzically, then says: “just a couple of months after this latest bird flu, so maybe one month ago.”

“So, what do you think kid?” General Howser asks.

“I’m not a child, and I think if you can stop the spread of the bird flu right now, you’ll have at least 30,000 cases of rabies to deal with in the next year.” I offer.

Wendy says: “No, I think you don’t understand rabies. It doesn’t spread easily. We’ve only found 100 cases so far.”

I grab my forehead and say: “That means there are at least 1000 people who have it, but up to 10,000. Each of those people could have got the bird flu as well, and they could each spread it to 10 people. So, containment now means a worse case scenario of 100,000 infections of rabies, and a best case scenario of 1000. This is an international emergency. You don’t know how rabies will mutate. If it becomes airborne on it’s own, that could mean the end of humanity.”

Wendy again says: “No.” Following that up with: “Rabies doesn’t become airborne. It’s not that type of virus.”

“Well, if I were all of you, I would worry about the worst case scenario and worst possible virus outcomes. Viruses can mutate into anything. Wouldn’t you rather be the people who overacted to people dying than the folks who didn’t do enough?”

The American President and Canadian Prime Minister each shook my hand, while the New Zealand Prime Minister walked me out, saying: “I think you’re right Sam. We need to act now. We don’t know what a wild virus could become,” she patted me on the shoulder, I suspect to avoid the hand shake.

June 30, 2025

I’m listening to a news broadcast on my phone. “We have now confirmed 30,000 cases of rabies in Canada alone. The US has 600,000, and Mexico has 128,000. There are known cases in Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Due to New Zealand’s early travel ban in and out of the country, they have no known cases of rabies, but they are having massive supply chain issues. There are reports of low food supply, but the Prime Minister refuses to let any ships in and out, and she is heavily funding green house plant based farm at home initiatives that look very promising.”

The officials I met with didn’t do much in April or May beyond normal protocol for viruses these days. Rabies mutated so much that it now spreads without biting. Officials say it isn’t a truly airborne virus, but it spreads through droplets, and by the time you realize you have it, you will face certain death. There is no cure for symptomatic rabies.

The broadcast continues: “People are fighting to death in the streets of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, and many more places. There are nation wide curfews in all three countries. Please stay off the streets. Remember, this virus makes people angry. They might harm or kill you. If the police or military see someone acting in an aggressive manner, they are allowed to shoot. Stay home, and shelter in place.”

My phone rings.


“Hey Sam, it’s Judy. My family, um, we were all together for Easter.”


“Sam, they’re all dead now. They won’t even take rabies victims at the hospitals anymore. They won’t test us. It’s total isolation and death. I called to say goodbye.”

“What? Judy no. You don’t know that you have it.”

“I’ve been vomiting. My throat is swollen, and I’m tired and confused. I don’t want to be out on the streets fighting people in anger. I don’t want to be like the rest of the rabid humans beating each other in the streets. I’ve appreciated our friendship over the years Sam, but I have to say goodbye now.”

“Judy, Judy – are you still there?”

The broadcast continues playing.

I’ve been trying to get a hold of my family for days, but nobody is in contact with me.

July 10, 2025

It’s hot out, and the zombies (that’s what people call rabies victims now) are afraid of water. They aren’t dead, and they don’t bite. They are stupid though, and they will fight you, yell at you, and sometimes try to kill you. Their fear of water makes me think this is the perfect time to leave the city. The zombies will be dropping dead from dehydration, and the ones that are living will be much slower. The streets are eerily empty of cars and normal activity, just the zombies wandering around, fighting, spitting, and yelling. They spit a lot.

I grab my dog, Sara. My wife got Sara for me a couple of years back when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She named her after herself so that I wouldn’t miss her when she died. We hop in the car and travel out to my cabin in the woods. The cabin I’ve been preparing for months now.

There is no way to stop the spread of the virus. It’s too difficult to track who has it, and it stays dormant for way too long. There are too many variants to try to fix this problem. Some of the population will survive. Humanity will have to start over.

May 15, 2026

It’s been a tough year, but Sara and I have made it through. I had continued to clear more land, but as time went on, humans were spreading the virus to their dogs, dogs to raccoons, raccoons to skunks, and skunks to groundhogs. The rabies virus is now everywhere. After clearing a bunch of land, I burned down a ton of forest that surrounded my land. I had to kill off the wildlife that was near me in order to survive, but I’m not sure that it was worth it. I’ll keep going as long as Sara is with me, but beyond that, I just don’t know.

“Come here Sara. Give me a kiss.”

Sara just stands in the corner of the cabin growling at me and showing her teeth.

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