The Water Can Kill You

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

It was four years ago this month that the horror began. She began to smell a foul odor when she turned the water on in her dirty apartment on Flint’s east side. Her two small children began to show red rashes on their faces.

In September city officials warned her to begin boiling water before using it. E-coli and coliform bacteria were found in the city’s water supply. Those were new words to Rhonda. They soon became part of her daily vocabulary.

In October, the city’s largest employer, General Motors, stopped using Flint’s water because it corroded engine parts. At times Rhonda thought the state was more concerned about GM’s water than they were for the residents of the city.

By January 2015, residents were being told that the water contained high levels of byproducts from water-disinfectant chemicals—chemicals known to cause kidney, liver and nervous system damage.

Today Rhonda sometimes waits for four hours to get two free cases of water at a time. But mostly she buys water — five cases on Monday, five more cases on Thursday — so she and her kids can cook and bathe and brush their teeth like any other ­American family.

 

The Death of a Gatherer

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction. The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based on the picture prompt.

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Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

He had visited the Kubo-yan many times. Every visit produced excellent results. Back then Gatherers were considered to be dreams of deranged minds .

A sudden noise shattered his daydreaming. A hunting bird took flight. They rarely appeared here, preferring the dry desert where lizards were the prey that wetted their appetite. The locals considered it bad luck to see them outside of the rainy season.

He slipped into the compound without anyone noticing. He would wait here until well after dark.

Nothing could distract him now. The object of his mission lay straight ahead. A Dreamer who’s life was about to be over. The Gatherer would make it a painless death. He settled in a crouch on his hands and toes and peered at his victim. The slight smell of perfume reached his nose. She slept alone.

Too late he heard the sound of padded feet against the stone. He felt something cold and sharp strike his shoulder. He glanced down and saw his left arm on the shiny tile. His intended victim turned and smiled. The smile of the devil was the last thing he saw in this life.

The Cruelest Month. 29 Bells.

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit Susan Spaulding

“This ship was made to withstand this type of weather!” Captain McSorley exclaimed. He based his belief because the ship had made over forty voyages in its seventeen years of service taking ore pellets from Superior Wisconsin to the steel mills near Detroit.

First mate Pulcer wasn’t so sure. He had a bad feeling when they left the port at Superior Wisconsin. Leaving this late he knew they could encounter some bad weather. Some of the other 27 crew members shared his belief.

Two days out his nightmare was beginning  to become a reality.

Dawn came and the ship’s cook said “Boy’s it’s too bad out there to feed you mates. Captain reports winds of 35-50 knots and waves 3 meters high.”

Pulcer decided to join the Captain on the bridge. He knew that the captain had chosen the route that took advantage of the protection offered by the lake’s north shore in order to avoid the worst effects of the storm.

“Reduce speed,” said the captain.

“Do respect sir, but with full speed we can reach the safety of Whitefish Bay.”

“Negative First Mate, reduce speed.”

Every year a bell tools 29 times at the Mariners’ Church of Detroit.

 

 

 

 

What in The Hell Were We Thinking

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge.

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© Eric Wicklund

He did the math in his head. It was just over 60 years ago that he carrier her over the threshold in an overpriced semi-clean motel in San Mateo, California.

Then their respective careers took off resulting in them being transferred numerous times. After retiring they spent a good part of each year traveling abroad.  A dozen years ago they had travelled to China. She was past 70 then and still feisty and lovely in her own way.

Now her memory is failing. Her once beautiful dark hair is now nothing but white wisps. She can’t walk, and can’t stand up without help. Every little move can result in another fall and the possibility of more broken bones. She sleeps most of the day. Now she seems halfway gone mentally.

Modern medicine has kept her alive despite the fact she has expressed her desire to die. She is surrounded by teams of  doctors and nurses, medical students, respiratory therapists and countless other health care providers. She is too weak, and too meek to protest.

My fear is someday we will look back and say: “What in the hell were we thinking?”

George Smiley

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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© John Robinson

“That’s the building. The one straight ahead. I worked there for many years before I retired. It held secrets that could destroy many careers.”

“The old MI5 building, Sir?” said the reporter.

“Yes, many a clandestine operation were headquartered there.”

“It’s a clinic now Sir. Easy access to the building now. I bet there was a lot of security in your time there, right Sir?”

“Actually, there was hardly any security when I worked there. It was just “Hello George” when I entered. When I returned from my trips it was always something like, “Welcome back, George.”

“No x-ray machines, Sir?”

“No, nothing of the sort really.”

“You keep busy in your retirement Sir? Do a lot of reading and that sort of thing.”

“Yes, reading for sure. I do find the time to even write a bit.”

“Here you are Sir. Have a good visit. If you decide to write a little bit you be sure and let me know. Ok mate?”

Irma

This post is written for Sunday Photo Fiction.

Note:

I live 85 miles northwest of Orland, Florida. Irma is taking dead aim at us. Being inland we do not have to worry about storm surge, but winds will be a major concern. We are taking all precautions.

In his mind, he could not picture what this area would look like if their predictions came through. It was so peaceful now.

“Wind gust up to 135 miles per hour, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. Residents are ordered to leave the area immediately. Not tomorrow, not in a couple of hours, but NOW”, the governor’s statement blasted from the television.

He had already made up his mind to stay. He was too old he told himself to just up and move. To where he asked himself? No family reached out with welcome arms offering refuge.

The only highway into the island was now shut off by the State Police. The passing police cruiser warned that if he stayed they would not be able to rescue him.

*****            *****     *****

“This is Troy Bridges, television 5 news reporting. One of the victims of recent hurricane Irma was found in front of his television today. Apparently, he made no attempt to leave the area. Efforts are underway to contact family members.”

 

Death Remembered

This post is written for Sunday Photo Fiction.

Helen could smell death before she entered the strange contraption. Little did she realize that it would be her own death.

It was an oder she recalled vividly. The call had come from a neighbor of her fathers. His windows were closed and he had not been seen for two days. Even at the age of eighty-five her father had been an active senior. His daily walks were a common occurence in the neighborhood.

It was Mrs. Cullen who called. “It’s your father. We haven’t seen him for two days. I called the police. You had better come.”

A policemen exited her father’s front door as she arrived. She pushed back against him as he tried to block her entrance. Then the putrid smell almost brought her to her knees. She knew she would never be able to purge that smell from her memory.

The door closed. The ride started to spin. She realized as the smell enveloped her that it was the smell of her death. The looks on the other occupants confirmed that they too smelled their pending death.