The song ‘Purple Haze’ has an entirely different meaning here….
Danny didn’t notice while her skin was growing back, nor during her recovery from the operation she insisted on to make certain her outside matched her inside.
Intensive care and many post-op wards were in the hospital shelter as a matter of standard protocol.
It was when she was getting the hormone implant, when the team came and hurried her back down into the shelter, that she realized something was very wrong with this particular haze season.
The doctors and nurses in the shelter, all female, all bedecked with necklaces made of garlic cloves, told her there was nothing to worry about. Everything was fine.
Danny understood. They didn’t want panic in the patients. Besides, the last time They broke into a shelter, it hadn’t been finished. All the same, she couldn’t help but notice the orderlies patrolling the vents with their LadyFlames™.
She got the information she needed from an old matriarch in for her hip.
“The first time in thirty years,” she said. “The purple haze.”
She said it as if Danny should know what it meant, but history lessons for boys and girls were as segregated as sex ed. Danny thanked the old lady and went back to her pile of schoolbooks. Specifically, the history book with the pink cover and the woman in leather and goggles with a LadyFlame™ on the front.
She found what she wanted by the index.
Most feared of the haze outbreaks are when the blood-feeding insects turn blue in a mating/feeding frenzy. The result of a purple-seeming cloud is a warning sign for all to seek shelter and stay out of Their way.
The rest was about dates and attempts to decipher the cycles of the insects, but, apart from 'every summer’, information was scarce.
Danny was starting to get annoyed by lack of information. Men didn’t want to seek out and analyze the haze. It wasn’t their business. And women… couldn’t.
She’d have to do something about it.