For eons the bat and the virus lived in harmony deep in the jungles of Brazil.
For eons the world of the virus lived harmlessly without infringing on the world of mankind.
There had been a few times when a fisherman would stray into a cave to escape storm clouds and get bitten. The way the damned stuff worked, the victim was suddenly too sick to make it out of the jungle. Months later they would be found with their skull on a makeshift pillow and their bony fingers clutching a fishing rod.
The world of man is nothing if not intrusive. Always seeking new lands, more resources and greater wealth mankind and the virus were on an inevitable collision course.
It started as a clear cutting the native trees and replacing them with genetically altered fast growing evergreen trees. In the course of a few dozen days on the human calender, a biosphere billions of years in the making was completely destroyed.
The moths that lived in the layered canopy of the jungle had no where safe to hide from predators. The bats that ate those moths had to move to find a new food source.
One bat, after gorging itself on insects, went to look for shelter and found a huge metal cave. So large that the people couldn't see so tiny a creature.
The ship, anchored in a nameless bay where it shouldn't be, taking on a cargo that it shouldn't be carrying weighed anchor with a tiny stowaway.
The bat could hardly believe its good fortune. The metallic monstrosity was covered in lights that attracted all manner of insects.
As the days passed, the air changed. The insects were different and the tiny bat shivered in the cold night air. Once again it was time for the bat to find a new home. The ship stopped at a busy port and the bat flew on to a vast new land.
This new land was hard on the bat. The nights were cold and the insect population was much different. One night half frozen and half starved, the bat landed near a big, warm fuzzy creature. The bat snuggled against the rabbit but the rabbit wanted nothing to do with the freaky little bat. The rabbit tried to kick the bat. The bat bite the rabbit and flew away into the night.
Once the virus found itself in the rabbit's blood stream, it began to amplify and reproduce- millions and billions of viral particles filled the rabbits blood stream. There was a minute change to the virus as it passed from the bat to the rabbit. Less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the viruses DNA but it was a major mutation. The virus had successfully crossed the species barrier.
Within a few hours the rabbit became lethargic and began running a fever.
When dawn arrived, the little girl who loved the rabbit arrived on her appointed rounds. She fed the rabbit, watered him and picked him up. The rabbit was completely tame but she could tell that he wasn't feeling well. She put him down in his cage, gently stroked him and went inside.
"Mummy. I think Mr. Hoppy has a fever. We should take him to the vet."
Her mother said, "If Mr. Hoppy isn't better by the time you get home from school, call Dr. Jamison." The girls mother knew that her attention span was over taxed as it was and she wouldn't remember. Besides, better that damned smelly rabbit died than shelling out a few hundred bucks to the vet.
The mother dropped her child off at school and went to work at the airport.
Both were dead before the day was over.
A week later twenty-five thousand were dead.
In a month a quarter million had perished.
By six months the worst of it was over. At just short of 100 million cases and 60 million deaths, the mystery virus vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared.
Waiting and watching for next time.