Author: Chris Grebe
Armida was no longer thinking completely clearly, of this she was certain.
The Carmine Reaction. That’s what they were going to call it. She was sure of that too, somehow, sure as she was that she hadn’t stopped for a restroom for about two hundred miles, would have to stop soon; sure that she shouldn’t be so sure, because she wasn’t thinking completely clearly.
The Carmine Reaction. She’d left the draft paper in her motel in Navasota. Before she picked up the device.
She couldn’t even afford a Best Western, but soon she would be famous. Her papa would be proud. Would have been. Armida smiled and kept her speed down. Five over. Not attracting any attention—not yet, not anytime before tonight, and no more after.
She didn’t like attention. Hadn’t gotten much at school, nor at the lab when she started. She was never one for Antics as a grown human. She laughed at herself, antics, her father’s word, always made Armida think of something ants would drink. Papa would accuse her of getting up to Antics, swing her in his arms and she would laugh, a little girl with nothing but playtime. More Antics!
No Antics now. The diarrhea stopped earlier in the day, but she knew it would be back, would be worse.
The world has stopped spinning. The highway lights slide past her windshield, the sliver of silky moon above and the world has stopped spinning.
She thought of the radiation from the thing in the way back of her little Subaru, eating her silently and invisibly, a school of carnivorous gamma fish with sharp sharp teeth.
It wasn’t fatal yet but would be soon. No more Antics at all then.
TOYOTA CENTER 2
The sign flashed in her headlights and was gone.
Almost there. Houston had been good for her, for her family. Not as good for the ones kept in the TOYOTA CENTER. Armida was not a patriot. Not an anarchist. Not a socialist. Not a single tweet betrayed her interest in politics because she had none.
She wondered how long to deploy the thing, after she got the cages open. After she set the ones in the cages free.
One more Antics Papa.
The diarrhea was lurking, but it wouldn’t be much longer now. Armida rolled her window down, and let the wind through her hair, until she slowed to take the exit.