by Vashti Q. Vega
A gunshot is heard. Men in white lab coats and face masks run into a young girl’s bedroom. On the twin bed, dressed in pink, lies a pre-teen girl and a thirty-something-year-old woman. Both females are deceased due to gunfire wounds to the head.
“We’re too late,” says one of the men in lab coats.
“Well, maybe it is for the best,” says his partner. “There is nothing we could have done to reverse the effects of the chemical agent.”
“It’s a shame what happened in this town.”
“Yes, but how could we know Solution K would have this effect on them?”
“No, we had no way of knowing that the solution we prepared to cause infertility in the men and women of this town would turn into a powerful, hallucinogenic, mind-altering drug when combined with their water.”
“We’ll have to look into the town’s filtering system before we try this again in the next small town.”
“I agree, but let’s not allow this small speed bump to deter our cause.”
“Doctors,” interrupts a young man, “you asked for bottled water?” The men nod and each takes a bottle. The young assistant leaves.
“Of course it won’t deter us. Our cause to save the planet by ending overpopulation goes beyond a few casualties.”
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call five hundred people a few casualties, but such things happen in the name of science.”
“Absolutely.” The scientist gulps down his bottled water. Suddenly, he sputters. His eyes widen. “Thi-this water was bottled right here in this town!”
The other scientist fumbles with the bottle, trying to see the manufacturer’s name.
“How could this small town have a bottled water company?” Wide-eyed and hands trembling, the scientist stares at the lettering on the bottle. He reads, “‘We take pride in our fresh, clean mountain water and we use the highest quality water filtration systems.’ They bottled this water four days ago.” He drops the bottle, and it crashes to the ground.
“No!” yells his partner. “We put Solution K in the water supply seven days ago!”
“Maybe it won’t affect us in the same way as the townspeople.” His voice wavers and his body trembles at the thought of having ingested the solution that caused all the townspeople to go mad and kill themselves. The other scientist stares at him, unnervingly silent. Suddenly, the first scientist recoils.
“Stay away from me!” he yells. “Don’t come near me. You will never take me alive!”
“What is the matter with you?” The second scientist takes a step back. “Oh, no.” His face slackens as realization hits. His partner continues shouting, “You’ll never take me alive, Nazi!” He grabs a lamp and charges.
The scientist wrestles with his crazed partner and seizes the lamp from him. The madman bites him on the shoulder. The scientist beats his partner on the head and shoulder repeatedly until the madman finally unclenches his teeth and falls to the ground dead.
The scientist falls back against the wall. He slides down the wall, landing in a crumpled mess on the floor. He holds his head in his hands and stares at his partner’s limp body, whose blood meanders toward him. Rivers fall from his eyes. His body shakes and convulses.
His eyes do not reflect what his mind sees.
The flames of hell surround him, while demons dance around and torment him with pain.