Morris Shockey could taste the hot sticky asphalt wedged between his crushed teeth that had punctured his tongue and had now settled into his sagging cheek, a bloody, gravelly swill. The roaring crowd was silenced. The acrid haze of the fireworks hung low as Morris’s burning eyes swept over his personal devastation. He stared back at the towering eighteenth big rig through the waves of dizziness. His jump attempt had failed and he had come up a half rig short. Even with the carburetor modifications that added a full 25 horsepower, and increased his sprint speed to 160 mph, he had needed 5 mph more. His blurry vision caught the flashing lights of the approaching rescue vehicles as he listened to the eerie wail of the sirens as they warbled their ghostly song that signals impending doom.
He glanced at the faces in the crowd and then turned his eyes to the night sky as the medics stood over him shouting his name and barking instructions frantically into their radios. His mind floated. He could see the gurney and watched from overhead as they placed him on it, then draped him with a bright yellow sheet. He watched the crowd file out of the stadium in stunned, solemn silence. His vision followed the ambulance into the darkness towards the soft orange glow of the city lights over the horizon into the quiet night.
The silence of the void was broken delicately, incrementally, by something he had never sensed. Not a sound exactly, a pulsing, tingling feeling that surrounded him, gently choral. It was a soft chant-like, orchestral hum, murmuring, like a heartbeat underwater, teasing the inner ear, enveloping him within the sanctity of a silk cocoon. He could sense the light now, warm, inviting, pure white. It was dim at first then grew in intensity as the murmur turned to a throb. The throb morphed into voices, a billion voices screamed his name over and over as he entered the brilliant white fog.
The fog slowly dissipated making way for a vast empty white expanse. He could sense the presence of other cocoons, billions of them. The soft murmur had returned and he floated aimlessly, without purpose, among the others.
Zorakk stared through his microscope into the brightly lit Petri dish. The cocoon shaped bacteria continued to multiply unchecked. None of the antibiotics were working. He had warned his colleagues of this probability. Now everyone on planet Zondra was in danger, very, serious, danger. It no longer mattered whether the Cryyssians and the Mooozzlens could reconcile their differences. Ever since the Sacred Fountains of the Eaden Gardens had been violated and the cocoons released, petty differences had become just so much script on their tombstones.
Working together against this tiny common foe had produced no encouraging results. The virulence of the bacteria was unprecedented and it’s original source undiscovered. Clearly the fountains could not be genesis of this disaster. There had to be another explanation. True, there had been celestial warnings about the removal of the fruit of the Epple tree. Now the death toll continued to mount, with the entire population facing a horrible extinction within days.
Zorakk could feel his limbs getting weak. The next symptom would be blindness, then total loss of hearing. He took the opportunity to gaze into the heavens one last time as his vision clouded over with a dark film. The fools! The Epples were of no use to the people of Zondra yet everyone desired them, an uncontrolled desire that has led us straight into oblivion. He wondered aloud how Ghod could be so cruel, but his cries fell on deaf ears. All around him his colleagues lay dying.
He felt the cocoons coursing through his veins, quietly shutting off each vital organ until reaching his heart, stopping it cold.
His mind drifted, calm unafraid.
The silence of the void was broken delicately, incrementally, by something he had never sensed. Not a sound exactly, a pulsing, tingling feeling that surrounded him, gently choral. It was a soft chant-like, orchestral hum, murmuring, like a heartbeat underwater, teasing the inner ear, enveloping him within the sanctity of a silk cocoon.
Copyright 2010 Patrick A. Granfors