June 6, 2019– As mentioned a week or so ago, we had a photo writing-prompt challenge for the chance to have your story featured on our blog; congratulations to Tonya C. for her story! Check out what she’s written below:
Isobel hummed as she surveyed ground zero and scanned the field full of yellow bio-hazard barrels left to rot for countless years. Twisted, human-made, poisonous flowers oozed their diseased contents into the ground; smoke billowed up in thick, dark clouds from the incinerator chimneys and sent shivers down her spine. Isobel knew they were burning bodies. The army claimed everything was contained in the quarantined zone. Those who were outside of the zone felt safe but were unaware that the borders continued to slowly increase outward.
Hot and uncomfortable in the heavy white hazmat suit, she reached a gloved hand down and gently patted the black Labrador that stood beside her; he pressed against her a moment before he resumed a high alert stance. She saw his eyes track movement in the distance. She whispered, “Steady Ranger,” and prevented the dog from darting off and drawing the soldiers’ attention.
Months earlier, inside the facility, Isobel worked on finding an antidote to the virus. Her husband and son had been dragged in by the military who were desperate to know why some people were immune to the deadly virus. They rounded up people from inside of the quarantined zone where doctors treated them like lab rats; they performed tests, took endless tubes of blood, and deprived them of food and sleep to force them to cooperate. Those that refused to cooperate were taken outside and shot and their bodies were thrown into the incinerator.
Isobel was cut off from the outside world; she had no idea that her husband and son were inside the facility and by the time she found out, it was too late. An alarm sounded when suddenly her husband burst into her office. In his panic to escape, he slammed her against the wall but stopped when he heard her cry out in pain and fear. He turned to face her and whispered, “It’s the well. I tried to save him!” Soldiers burst through the door with their guns drawn. She screamed as they opened fire on the man she loved. Shots rang in her ears and in the madness, she realized her husband had told her that the virus originated in the town well and that her son was in the building. She searched for him until she finally found him in a heap of discarded, decaying children. His lifeless, milky eyes stared blankly up at her. She knew that she must have revenge. She bottled up her grief and rage that burned brightly in her chest. Today was the day it would be released.
Ranger gave a low whimper as the light flashed in the distance. It signalled a message from the others. The well water had been deposited into the army base cistern with the codes Isobel had slipped them. In less than a week all in the base would be dead.
The virus had leeched from the barrels into the town water supply over many years. Like the others who grew up drinking from the local well, Isobel was immune to the virus. As darkness fell, she slipped out from the unneeded protection. Finally free, she and Ranger jogged into the bush to join the group.