An epidemic of daunting proportion had taken over. It all started a few weeks back when a murky greenish-brown hue was overcast on everything around them, a miasma of despair, if you will. Though they looked skyward through wary eyes, the dwellers didn’t make much of it initially. But, it was the accompanying sickness a few days later, that jolted everyone out of their oblivion. And, what a sickness it was!
It’s not something you’d forget in a hurry, the sight of, spilled guts, coloured a nauseating black. Vacant dead eyes that seemed to have had no peace even after being surrendered to death. A mouth wide open still screaming the last echoes of a silent cry.
One knew one was in trouble when they couldn’t hold anything in the stomach for a day or two, everything they ate, came rebelling back. And, then they noticed the blood, which was difficult to distinguish in the beginning but became more and more pronounced accompanied with a searing pain that made them scream for the sweet release of death. And scream, they did. Everywhere one went, they could hear the heart-wrenching wailing of someone begging for the misery to end. Till that last contrived breath, the pain was a demanding mistress melting each organ to an irreparable tangled mass of muscle and bone.
The pile of dead bodies increased tenfold in a matter of days since their skies were overcast with the strange hue. And, because the bodies remained untouched, the ominous piles grew in staggering numbers. Something about these bodies was unnatural, the acrid toxic stench they gave put off even the hungriest of scavengers. Thanks to no help in decomposition, you only saw death and decay all around.
To make matters even worse, some got affected by an odd torture device that either slowed down their mobility or got their appendages twisted in the most grotesque form. At first glance, this elastic, foreign object looked too flimsy to do any kind of damage but unfortunately for these poor souls, it meant a slow, agonizing demise. Each breath labored with skins rubbed raw, oozing with pus and blood. Too weak to eat, too hungry not to try. Albeit painful, at least with the sickness, you got a swift death.
The sickness didn’t spare anyone, young or old, everyone was equally punished for no fault of their own. As much as some of them tried to escape, death couldn’t be hoodwinked. Their carefree home had turned against them, there was no place left that was safe. Every single one, with every solemn pair of eyes met, silently screamed only one thing – We have to get out of here. But, where would they go? How far could they possibly swim to find fresh water, a safe environment to thrive again? Is there any place left, where the humans hadn’t dumped their toxicity yet?