In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it. My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations. It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!
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By Alex Seise
“Philbert, fetch me the onomasticon, will you?” The gray-haired man with wrinkles on his cheeks deep as sea trenches murmured. He stared into a microscope, the glow from its belly warm and bright. The ancient man’s bony fingers twisted and turned the knobs and lenses, trying desperately to bring into focus the elusive parasite trapped between two thin slabs of glass.
“Philbert? The book, the one with the names and taxonomies, please! Hurry!” His voice grew louder with impatience. This was more than a simple science experiment; this was a chance to eliminate the microscopic killer that had destroyed nine out of ten citizens in the small town. The remaining few were quarantined within its limits, separated from the outside world by heavily armed militiamen and tall concrete barriers.
Even with so many dead, supplies would eventually dwindle. The single small general store in town carried few non-perishable goods, most which had been picked over days ago.
“PHILBERT?!” The old man begrudgingly pushed his stool from the bench, the steel legs grinding loudly against the floor tiles, and slowly limped toward the deep closet in the back of the room. He wondered what was taking his young assistant so long to grab a single tome from the shelf.
The man stepped toward the dark supply closet and fumbled with the light switch. The bulb refused to ignite, so he slipped his cellular phone from his pocket and used its blue glow to scan for Philbert. It was inefficient, but serviceable.
Along the furthest wall of the closet, the old man saw his protégé staring back at him, eyes wide with fear. His glasses were missing. Over his mouth, a spiny tentacle clenched tightly, keeping him from uttering any noises. And behind him lurked a tremendous shape, over seven feet tall and pulsating organically.
It spoke softly with a metallic tone in its voice.
“DR. OPPENHEIMER. WE HAVE ARRIVED. THE PHAGE HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOYED. YOUR TOWN IS NOW OURS. YOU WILL HELP US. FAILURE WILL RESULT IN YOUR COLLEAGUE’S EXPIRATION. DO YOU CONSENT?”