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Disaster – Bio- Terrorism
Location – Golf Course
Helpful Item – Scissors
Disability – No Medicine
The vines peeked over the sills of Meadow Haven Golf Course’s club house and wound their way toward the shingled roof.
“What do you think it is,” Megan asked. She stood before the picture window and watched the rapid growth while trying to ignore the creepy feeling that her body was being scrutinized.
“Maybe some scientist seeded the clouds with Miracle Grow. That powdery, green rain got on everything.” Carl leaned on the counter and dragged his sweaty hands across the glass case as he let his gaze roam Megan’s backside. “I’ll have to scrub the stuff off my car. How much would it take for you to do that wearing a white t-shirt?”
Megan cringed. “The treasury hasn’t made enough yet.” She turned to face the leering young man. “You drive the Hummer, right?”
Carl licked his lips and nodded.
“You’ll have to find it first before you can wash it.” She motioned with her thumb toward the lot before pulling her sweater tighter around her shoulders. “Looks like the weeds are hungry.”
With perfect timing, glass popped and metal twisted as the runaway foliage crushed a vehicle that had been parked illegally in the handicapped spot. Carl jumped the counter and pressed his face against the window, his nose smashed like a four year old’s looking into a toy store.
“Aw, man!” He banged on the pane with his fists. “Somebody’s gonna have to pay for that.”
“I’m sure your daddy will be able to afford the repairs.” Megan slid behind the counter and tapped her fingertips on the greasy glass.
Carl’s shoulders tensed. Megan counted several breaths before she saw him relax. Spinning in a precision move she was sure he’d learned from his stint in military school, he turned. A sneer spread across his face.
“And why do you say that?” he asked, taking a single step toward her.
Megan shrugged and dropped to retrieve the glass cleaner and a wad of paper towels from the lower cabinet. When she stood, Carl was pressed against the opposite side of the counter, his eyebrows pulled together in a scowl. Megan flinched and sprayed a stream of vinegar scented cleaner on the handprints. She mopped the towels through the spatter of particles, accomplishing little more than spreading the grime into circular smears.
“I asked you a question,” Carl shouted, grabbing her wrist. “Why do you think my father would pay for my car?”
Megan twisted free and pulled open a drawer. She grabbed a pair of scissors and spun, the blades nicking her skin as she pointed them toward Carl’s approaching form.
“Because he paid for…your get out of jail free card when you…put Mandy in a coma.” Megan wheezed through her own snarl.
What passed for a smile in a back alley spread across Carl’s face. He took a single step toward Megan. She backed away from him and skittered around the counter.
“The cops didn’t have any evidence to link me to that.”
“You asked her out…that morning. She told me, and she’d called me…when you picked her up.”
He took another step forward, his lips pulled together in a thin line. He stared wide doe eyes at her.
“I never made it to her house.” Carl tilted his head and mewled. “My car wouldn’t start.”
Megan glanced over her shoulder as the room darkened. The vegetation shaded the windows like blinds. She caught a glimpse of Carl’s flattened ride before the green leaves blocked the entire scene.
“Liar,” she hissed and threw herself into the front door. She pressed with all her weight as the overgrown branches blocked her way. “Stay away…from me.”
Carl strode across the room. As he reached for her, the door gave way and Megan stumbled onto the moss-padded sidewalk.
“Come back here,” Carl called as he sprinted to the door.
Megan kicked at the winding vines and ran, only turning when she heard Carl scream. Threads of honeysuckle wound around his wrists and ankles and lifted him into the air. He shrieked twice before an arm popped loose. His body flopped like a ragdoll when the creepers dropped him to the ground. She didn’t know if he was dead or just unconscious. A strand of thorny rosebush coiled through his blood and into his hair. Megan bolted toward the course.
The manicured lawn had grown to her waist. Tendrils of long grass tickled her ankles and thighs as she lurched through them. She dove into one of the larger sand traps. In the relative safety of the hazard, she tried to comprehend her surroundings. The rough that ringed the course had become a jungle. The trees had grown to resemble the Redwoods Megan remembered from her trip to California. The vines that hung from them could have supported Tarzan and his whole family without complaint. A few dandelions at the edge of the lawn dwarfed several overturned golf carts as the mountain laurel’s massive blossoms crushed the canopies.
The grass continued to stretch toward the ever-diminishing sunlight. Several blades braved the sand bunker and touched Megan’s knee. She wheezed, opened the scissors, and snipped. The stems recoiled, neon green oozed from the wounds as their amputated ends browned in the sand. Megan retreated to the center of her oasis and dropped to her knees. Distant screams echoed through the lush woodlands that had been city streets that morning. A stray wind murmured through the dense leaves.
Megan rasped in a breath of air and patted her shorts’ pockets. Her inhaler had been in her purse under the counter. She stood and peered over the waves of tall grass. What she could see of the clubhouse reminded her of the old paper route and the abandoned houses that had been swallowed by Kudzu years before she was born. A tendril of lawn brushed her ear. Her inhalation burned in her lungs.
“Get away,” she coughed. She snapped the scissors closed around the shaft of green. The wounded shoot pulled back into the thickening wall of meadow.
A pop sounded overhead. A flash of orange glow lit up the postage stamp patch of sky left in her line of sight. A deepening green fog sifted through the air around her. The plant life twitched like a waking baby. Vines and branches seemed to inhale the hazy mist. Megan’s chest tightened.
She gasped and toppled to the sand. Her hands dug through lintless pockets. All hope for an overlooked inhaler died. Pulling her knees up to her chest, she rested her head on them and tried to focus on her breathing.
A slender arm of foliage caressed her neck. Megan hiccupped a gasp and shot to her feet. She clamped the clippers around the slithering frond and squeezed. She sawed with the little shears until the ragged remains retreated. A dot-to-dot pattern bloomed in front of her. She watched as the black spots morphed into a Rorschach configuration. Rubbing her eyes with the heels of her hands, she blinked most of the spots away, but her clouded vision remained.
Sinking onto the sand, Megan tried to catch her breath as she felt two more weeds stroke her legs. She crushed both of the invaders with the dulling, metallic blades and rolled on her side. The edge of the hazard seemed to be holding back most of the plant life.
Her neck tingled as though she were being watched. She turned her head. An endless wall of vegetal arms waited. She swatted at the encroaching shoots with one hand and clutched her chest with the other. As she gasped to fill her lungs, a vine wound around her ankle. She heard the foliage whispering before the blotchy patch of sky went dark.
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