This is a continuation of my not too distant future postapocalyptic sci-fi story. Make sure to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first
From the point of view of the mother, we watch the place where the boy and girl were standing only seconds ago. There's nothing to be seen but a thick mist. She slowly feels her knees giving away underneath her. A tear creeps out of her left eye and is soon sucked up by the mask's machinery, to be stored and later used in the cooling device.
I am not even given the chance to cry over my son's death!
she thinks, which makes her even sadder. She feels like crying more but swallows her tears, to at least keep them to herself.
And who knows, things might not be as bad as she imagines? There's still hope. Who says the cloud is poisonous? Not all clouds are unnatural, right? There's still those formed by water evaporating from natural sources. This might have been such a cloud.
The mist seems to thin out a little. She still can't see much. Part of her feels like turning her back to the situation and run away. Her heart starts thumping heavily, fear rises up through her body and towards her throat, like waterdamp in a boiling kettle, looking for an inevitable escape through a tight opening.
She starts to become aware of two figures in the mist. They lie down on the ground in front of the fence, in a position that seems to have been a final hug. The bodies aren't moving.
It's a serene, but at the same time morbid scene, that reminds the boy's mother of pictures she has seen of Pompeii, showing people trapped in the lava and volcanic ash of the Vesuvius, as if frozen in time. There's no volcanoes here though, nor is there ash or lava.
She remembers that many people who died after volcanic eruptions, didn't die of the heat or because they were buried underneath the volcanoes ash, lava or stones. In fact, it was often the poisonous gasses that killed them off. Those people usually had no gasmasks though, nor were they wearing any protective clothing. Most lived in times where protective clothing didn't even exist and if it did, they where usually too poor to afford any. Besides that, it wasn't easy to predict volcanic eruptions. When it happened, it was usually already too late to do much at all.
With all these thoughts haunting her mind, she almost forgets about the reality in front of her.
How could her son be so stupid! He had everything he needed to prevent this from happening. How many times had she told him to never take off his mask or protective clothing outdoor?
Her sadness changes into anger, which makes her feel slightly better. But being angry instead of sad makes her feel guilty in turn. A scream of frustration escapes her mouth, a sound so loud that it would have scared off the T-Rex in the original Jurassic Park movie.
TO BE CONTINUED
Image source - a photo taken by me on a hike on one of the hundreds of ( sleeping ) volcanoes of El Hierro, Canary Islands, September 2016.