Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego, Krakow, Poland | ©
Łukasz Pompa Google Maps
We were scientists, once. Then came the vanishings.
Epidemiologists called it a virus. They claimed some airborne illness afflicted the vanished on a sub-cellular level, causing their cells to spontaneously self-cannibalize. Physicists were split. Some insisted the vanished had slipped into an alternate dimension, while others talked of a warp in the space-time continuum. Psychologists tried to convince everyone it was mass hallucination, and said all we needed was a little therapy.
But me, I was an anthropologist, and I’ve grown to think there is an expiration date on reality. For a time, we worshipped gods of earth and climate, so at their mercy we were. Then we had the gods of laws and kindness—to get along as community grew. Once global, we worshipped science, believing every happening bound by reason.
And what we worship now, I cannot say. I just know I am a scientist no more.
This little bit of strangeness has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.
Pretty strange, I know. Partially inspired by The Leftovers, partially inspired by a fevered dream from The Cold From Hell. For the past ten days I have been getting my ass kicked by a non-fictional virus. Instead of making me disappear, it just makes me want to. I’m finally beginning to feel human today–food sounds good and I slept through the night without choking on my own snot. It’s good to be alive.
Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout, Big Sky, Montana | © Matthew Kennedy, Google Maps
The ranger smirked at the sight of her store-fresh backpack and then eyed her tennis shoes. “You want me to check back mid-week?”
No distractions. That had been the point of this whole week. No kids, no husband—no interruptions. “I’ll be fine.”
She lugged the five-gallon water jug up the fire tower stairs as the ranger rumbled away on his AWD. She didn’t notice the leak until morning. By then, five days’ worth of water had spilled across plank floor.
That was four days ago. Her parched lips cracked as her mouth tightened in a grimace. How long could a person go without water, anyway?
She thought of Tilly, sticky fingers tugging at her sleeve: Tell me a story.
She thought of Robert, popping in her office for the hundredth time: Would you like a cup of tea?
What she wouldn’t give for such sweet distraction now.
This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. Click here to read more stories inspired by the prompt.
If you’re looking for a prompt to challenge or inspire you, please join me on What Pegman Saw.