He had fallen farther than he had anticipated. Cursing himself, cursing the world, and cursing his eyes, Aidan slowly picked himself up. He felt the dark brown mud slowly sliding down his chest matting down his once-purple shirt, and heard the blue river run its course beside him. He listened to the birds, and the bugs, and how the air stirred the leaves of bush, tree, and the grass. The world around him was lush with greens and blues, and a little white tinting the sky.
He saw none of it. Aidan was blind; and after a moment to shake off his startlement, quietly thanked Above for allowing him to have even gotten this far ─ mud or not. He searched with his hands in the mud for his staff ─ a true staff, with heavy, hard black-painted wood over a metal insert. In what felt like a previous lifetime, he had carried it around as an almost status symbol; a blind man with an expensive staff ─ not a cane, or a stick. A staff that he had been trained for. Now, it was his lifeline. Without it, his stumbling would have gotten him killed by now, and without it he would have been robbed several times over by bandits.
He found the staff with his left hand, and with a small grin of satisfaction drew it to him and rose. Then he began walking again, like he would in past days. Days before the superflu. Aidan had noticed the flu long before the news, or the general populace. He had heard it: the coughing, the sneezing. He had felt the heat of fever rising off the bodies of people who realized too late just how badly that fever would strike. He had even felt it in him, for a time. The flu laid itself into the bones of the diseased, and like a great anchor, drew the diseased down into a sleep so deep that they dissolved into their dreams.
Aidan had woken up, with death filling his nostrils. A dead sister, a dead city, and the promise of starvation and disease to follow had driven Aidan out, into the country to look for a new life.
He wiped his free hand on his pant leg, and then drew his extra pair of black glasses out of their case in his pocket. He had felt the first pair snap at the center when he fell. Then he began to walk again, feeling with his cane and his other senses to find his way through the dark world.