In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.
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They’ve buried seven bodies since the incident in July.
I can’t even bring myself to imagine how that has affected seven families. They’ve lost their income providers. They worked at the company branch because it paid the best wages. Big wages for big risks.
And clearly it was a big risk.
The scientists had extra precautions. They were more valuable to the company. More expensive to train so they looked after them. They lived on the site. It was convenient, that was all. The townspeople did all the other jobs; deliveries, cleaning, transport and security.
The first death was a security guard. Stabbed trying to stop someone breaking in the company said. That was probably their first clue that the company was different. A ram raid; where they drove the car through the security gate... that might have been predictable, but a person sneaking up and cutting someone’s throat? That was different. Or maybe the person was breaking out and took some stuff with them? But why?
And then the second death. A delivery van was hit by a truck. The driver was killed. Broken neck. It was categorised as an automobile accident. It was only later that people thought that maybe it wasn’t an accident. The van rolled and it was such a mess that it was hard to work out if anything was missing. But after the earlier robbery, people wondered. The company was generous with compensation. It wasn’t their fault but they paid up, and people were pleased by that.
The third was a suicide. She was a secretary. But she started to get anxious. And then she started to get a little bit over the top. She talked of conspiracies and secrets and government spies. She waved badly photocopied letters at people. Nobody believed her and as they refused to listen, she got more frantic about trying to talk to them. The company laid her off, and paid for therapy for her but no one was surprised when she was found hung in her home. A few people asked how a woman with her wrists bruised from being tied, managed to hang herself. The ropes were missing and the coroner recorded death by her own hand.
The fourth was a baby born with hideous deformities. Both parents worked there. Tragic, people whispered. And then they whispered some more. They started counting. Four deaths.
I worked at the library and I started to see more people searching the archives. More people looking for answers in alternative places. We all started to wait for the next death.
Then came the accident at the lab. That was number five. The company admitted to one death but some people whispered that they had seen more bodies than that. A young teen was skating nearby and he told everyone that he had seen a truckload of bodies; all wrapped in blue plastic bags. I heard him telling his friend at the library, as I was stacking books in the next aisle. He also said the people who touched the bodies were dressed in full containment gear. His friend scoffed at him and said that it didn’t matter what he said, nobody would trust him, but I believed him. Pity I couldn’t tell him before he disappeared. He didn’t count as a death because nobody really cared about him going missing and there was no corpse to be found.
I started trying to find out who owned the company. Who were the directors? Who did I write to if I wanted to tell them what was happening? Maybe they didn’t know? I did a few company searches and they just kept leading to other companies.
The sixth death was a delivery guy, a courier who dropped one of the small refrigerated containers that the product was shipped in. The container inside looked unbroken and he just picked it up and put it back on the carved space it was designed to fit into. He didn’t tell anyone about the accident as he didn’t think of it as an accident. He died within three days; covered in lesions that looked like the plague. Or at least how I imagined the plague looked. He talked to me and I sent the photos to a friend I knew who was a journalist and he spoke to his editor about it and they started an investigation of their own.
Crossing the road, two days later, I heard the motor revving and I saw the car accelerating towards me. I had time to think the seventh death is me before the car mowed me down.
They’ve buried seven bodies since the incident in July but maybe I told enough people to get the truth out.
© AM Gray 2014