Fear the Water

“The greener future is now! Scientists have created bacteria capable of consuming the many man-made contaminants in the ocean.”

Sarah gingerly folded the old newspaper in her lap. She remembered when that headline took a trip around the world. At least in the scientific community. The change was a tidal wave of worldwide environmental movement and government-enacted cleanups. China was the first to implement the CWW policy, boasting of crystal clear, almost completely pollutant-free water in only 3 years. Not to be outdone, many followed suit. It was groundbreaking. Inspiring. Countries working together, truly together, for cleaner water.

In less than a decade, the worlds’ many bodies of water were finally “clean”. Who would have thought…

“Remember that time… the camping trip we took to Rosy Lake?” Sarah asked. She walked over to the kitchen, taking in the smell of roasted vegetables coming from the oven. It was a hot day, but nothing improved her mood quite like roasted vegetable soup. Comforting, like home.

“You mean with Caleb?” asked Ethan. Ethan, in Sarah’s opinion, was an outdoors man. A yes man. And many other types of man. But more than anything, Ethan was her man. He understood her like he understood the many intricacies of cooking. Instinctual, natural.

“Yes, the old man. It was right after…” Sarah remembered that event. She doubted anyone could forget. She certainly couldn’t. Even know, her nightmares were proof of just how embedded in her mind it was. It felt like her brain had dedicated a couple of neuronal structures just to replay the images every time she slept.

Ethan looked at her. He saw the fog that started in her eyes spread over the rest of her face. It faded her smile and tightened her jaw.

“Patient Zero?” he asked.

“Nobody knew what it mean then. Nobody—“

“There was nothing. Nothing at all. We knew nothing. How could we have done—“ Ethan said then he sighed. He knew once she started, she wouldn’t stop. It was best to let it happen and deal with the aftermath.

Sarah immediately understood the expression on his face.

“I am sorry. I can’t help it. I keep seeing his face. Every time I…” she shook her head. Trying, vainly, to vanish the images. The face frozen in pain and fear. The blood in the water, and ultimately, the blood in her hands.

The blood in everyone’s hands.

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