Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Ezekiel Water
By Loren T. Lowery
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My name is Joshua Adams, and I know you will think me insane after reading this. But I beg you to believe me. I am writing this from a cave just north of what was once my hometown of Edenville along the Colorado River in Arizona.
This note will be sealed in a plastic drinking bottle of Ezekiel Water and; if I’m still alive in the next two hours, tossed into the Colorado a mile from here. If you find and read this, I pray that you take heed before it is too late.
It started three weeks ago; just after a shipment of the Ezekiel Water arrived at the pharmacy I owned in town.
Shortly after the delivery, things began to change – no one connecting the two events until later. People were being transformed, renewed. To witness my customers regain their vitality was joyous. It defied explanation…but all of that was suddenly about to change.
These same people unexpectedly began to die horrible deaths. Looking back, during the epidemic, I realized, too late, they all shared a common link; all had purchased Ezekiel Water from my pharmacy.
Their bodies were brought to the morgue to wait for the Medical Examiner. Afterwards, her face ashen, she said she’d never seen anything like these deaths. Their whole insides had been liquefied as if it had been injected with some kind of spider venom. She was going to call the CDC in Atlanta, but never got that far.
On her way to her office, looking tired, she was given an Ezekiel Water. Hours later, she was placed in the morgue next to the other bodies. The tie between the water and the events in our community, however, was still too fresh and too odd to even be considered.
Desperate, we called out for help, but suddenly all radio and electronic communications were blocked. Overnight, batteries from our vehicles, transmitters and even watches were drained. We were under siege.
Not all of us drank bottled water, some of still preferred tap water – pure, simple, cheap. And, now this proved to be to be providential.
Those few us remaining, remembered back a year before that first shipment of water. There had been a strange orange light over the Ezekiel Mountains to the west accompanied by an odd whistling noise and then a quick, dry wind.
It lasted only moments, and at the time, most of us chalked it up to the setting sun and some kind of new aero-space equipment being tested over to the proving grounds in the Ezekiel Valley some 50 miles distant. We could never have been more wrong. Now we know it was a radiation meltdown, polluting Ezekiel’s Water source and mutating what ever it met.
More citizens died, we were overwhelmed and bodies were now just left where they fell. Pilgrimages were formed to leave town to get help. They would need water and to assist, I volunteered cases of Ezekiel Water from my store.
The nightmare worsened. At night, when all light had been drawn from the sky, a sound, familiar but indefinable, would, in a rhythmic hairy cadence, swoosh its way across the desert surrounding our town. It made sleep impossible.
It was in one of those black, starlit hours as I lay awake and watched from my bedroom window, that I first saw them. Scuttling across the barren landscape that butted the Ezekiel Mountains, dozens of eight-legged, spider-like creatures, skittering into our town, searching for the bodies of our dead.
Ten foot creatures pausing only moments to drop their fangs, impale the flesh and open their maws to draw the soup of their victims. Needing a larger food source, they had learned what the water did to us and now we had become their prey.
At first, it seemed the creatures feared daylight, only coming out at night. But, as the days progressed, they seemed to grow bolder. A mid-day escape up the mountains above the Colorado River to this cave became my only hope. Before leaving, I called out for others to join me, but whether from fear or deaf ears, I am now here, alone, writing this.
Why has it happened? I don’t know. Radiation mutants are the stuff of science fiction - that is what I’d always believed. But now, at this moment, in this cave, I am penning this note by the light of thousands of orange pulsating spider sacs surrounding me.
May God have mercy on our souls.
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