Toxicity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A strange green drop grows and grows, where it comes from no one knows.

Submitted: October 19, 2016

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Submitted: October 19, 2016

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Toxicity

 

It began as a tiny drop – just one, no more. Nobody would have noticed it on the ground surrounded by all the greenery, the grass, the weeds. Even when it first started to take effect it would have still gone unnoticed. It was like a cigarette burn on the forest floor – negligible.

 

The drip itself was green; a light, bright acid green which actually was pretty appropriate. It burnt deep and it burnt hard. As it burnt so it seemed to feed, becoming a bigger drip, then bigger still. After a day it’s size had increased tenfold but still it would not have been noticed.

 

The animals in the forest seemed to sense something though, moving from the immediate area. Perhaps their extraordinary sense of smell picked up the faint aroma of burning. The birds were not bothered, safe as they were above ground.

Or at least that was how it seemed.

 

Within two days the drip had become the size of a small puddle. The bigger it got the faster it grew, becoming capable of consuming so much more each second. There was an almost audible sizzle as it pulsated, bubbled on itself and stretched out it’s reach. Not only was it devouring grass and surface soil now but digging deeper, searching for more and more nutrients. Worms, insects of all kinds started to withdraw but too late for many of them. It’s diet was becoming more nutritious, speeding up its growth, making it stronger.

 

Thorns, nettles, weeds of all kinds began to blacken, to smoke and shrivel. The scent of smouldering rot was becoming increasingly pungent as more and more things were added into the acidic stew that the drip had now become. The puddle has now become a small pond which is beginning to reach out to the surrounding bushes and trees. And ever deeper into the ground it is sinking.

 

The roots of the trees, of the plants, are sucking this putrid mix up with the moisture in the soil. As it enters their roots it begins to feed on them, from the inside out. The leaves on the bushes blacken and fall. The branches crack, break, with no goodness left inside them. They are nothing more than empty husks. The leaves fall from the trees, covered in black spots that point to poisoning. Trees that were healthy just a few weeks ago now have the appearance of being dead, lifeless.

The entire area around the pond has become nothing more than a wasteland.

 

It would have gone entirely unnoticed if it had not been for an expedition sent in to monitor an unusual wildlife migration. The reports had been pouring in, of rodents, rabbits, foxes, deer all fleeing the area in large numbers. And then there were the reports of birds, flocks of them flying away and not seen to be returning.

 

The members of the expedition, all experienced field scientists, had never seen anything like it. The large pool was viscous, bubbling and popping; the heat of it felt before it could be seen. It was hard to breathe. There was a toxic feel to the very air, like a misty venom ready to reach its tendrils into lungs and start feeding again. A withdrawal from the area was decided upon, until breathing apparatus was available.

 

Two days later they returned and the scientists could see, without using any form of measuring device, that the affected area had again increased. The liquid that they tried to collect was too acidic – it just melted or consumed the very containers it was put into. The readings that they were getting from the ground close to the pond was like nothing that had ever before seen before, as was the reading from the air.

 

When one of the oxygen cylinders began to melt, and the scientist began a rapid deterioration in health, the expedition departed. The scientist who’s breathing equipment had been breached never made it back to the laboratory. The toxicity in his bloodstream was off all ever recorded scales. It made no sense at all.

 

Emergency meetings were held, with high profile scientists from around the world being called upon to come up with a solution. Different substances were suggested that might be added to the seething pool to neutralise it, but there was a problem in how it would be added. The forest cover, even dead, prevented helicopters or planes from spraying it. Hazmat suits were proving to be unreliable protection. The pond tended to spit out whatever was added to it, along with its own unique composition.

 

Digging a trench and filling it with concrete was put forward as a suggestion. How could it be achieved though? It would have to be carried out on such a vast scale and nobody had yet been able to determine the depth of the contamination. As deep as they dug, the toxicity ran deeper.

 

In the forest, high up in the trees and well away from the contaminated area, a strange creature sat and stared around itself. It was small, unusually beautiful and it was all alone. No other creature wanted to be near it; they all seemed scared, threatened by it’s existence. It sniffled, sneezed, and on the forest floor another acrid green drop fell. And this time it landed not so very far from a river.......

 

 

 


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