She emerged from the shop just in time to see her young son playing on the pavement directly in the path of a grey, gaunt man who strode along like an automated derelict.
Her heart quailed.
Then she leapt forward, grabbed her son by the arm and pulled him from harm’s way…
The man strode by without turning his head. As his back moved away from her, she hissed at it, ‘Be gone! You ought to be ashamed!’
The grey man’s stride continued, unfaltering as clockwork, but to himself he muttered, ‘Ashamed? Ashamed?’
His face contorted into a grimace, ‘Covid! Outcast! Unclean!’
– Count Jack Black (apologies, Stephen Donaldson)