They come in the night.
They always do.
You wake, blinking against glare. Sunlight shouts off the white plastic shroud which encases your neighbours’ house.
You stand at the window, your fingers splayed on the glass like a gecko’s translucent pads. Your gaze traces the line of the temporary fencing to the front barrier, where a pale blue banner is attached to the metal mesh.
You can’t read it from your window, but you know what it says. You have seen dozens like it, scattered across the suburbs. The government insignia is white, and so are the words – Viral Response Taskforce.
First the plastic. Then the droning whine of the generator as it pumps in the decontaminants. Later, the demolition team will scrape the site bare, leaving a gap in the street like a missing tooth.
There’s no sign of the neighbours.
There never is.
*Another Tiny Treasure I wrote for Noted Festival. This one won’t have the same resonance away from Canberra, which currently has lots of houses like this – although it’s the Asbestos Response Taskforce at work, removing the houses which were insulated by “Mr Fluffy”. Creepiest name ever…