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Fiction

In the Air

There was something in the air lately. After the nuclear meltdown two months ago, there was a sickness that filled the air. The ones closer to the reactor had died within days, and all of the smaller communities on the outskirts of the city had followed in the next few weeks. The results had been devasting; entire companies had been wiped out and resources were now becoming scarce.

Beth and her partner lived 300 kilometers northeast of the disaster, and had been ordered to isolate themselves and not go out at all. The poison was in the air. Beth and Carin didn’t worry though, they owned a small farm in the middle of nowhere and because of the dust and chemicals used in farming, an air purifying system and a complex water filtration system had fortunately had been built into the design of the house.

They were safe.

They’d both come from the city and many of their friends still there had become ill and died as a result of the catastrophe. The symptoms had been the same, a cough, sore throat, mild headache, and extreme weakness. Some went into a coma before they died. After losing so many close friends, they had no desire to go out themselves, so they stayed inside and ventured out only for minutes at a time, twice a day, and always with a face mask on. When they fed the animals, they quickly returned inside. They had no clue how this was going to affect their livestock.  

Time would tell.

The past few weeks, the number of deaths fell steadily, and there hadn’t been any deaths for the past two nights. They had decided to stay inside for at least another week, to sure. Other than less socializing, not much had changed in their lives. They read and they watched television, worked on the computer, kept track of finances, and followed the news very closely. Doing nothing was exhausting, it seemed.

Now, it seemed as if this was over. They’d give it a few days, or maybe a week to be safe, before going outside. None of the animals had become sick or died, so obviously the radiation didn’t reach this far away. They were been safe.

Then Beth began to cough.

Creative Commons License
This poem by Suzette Seveny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.