Caleb wondered what the glowing lights were that suffused the moss on the stone wall surrounding his cottage. His wife, Jackie, told him to stay clear, for he had no idea whether the light was dangerous. But, Caleb just laughed at her, remarking on her many anxieties that kept her from enjoying life to the fullest.
So, he stepped closer, and feeling no change in his body, bent over and touched the light. It felt like mercury, that slightly slippery texture, but no pain was associated with it. He liked how beautiful it was, iridescent in purples and yellows so vibrant that he was nearly rendered sightless for a moment.
With a sneer, he said to Jackie, “Told you so, old girl! No problem!” Then, he went into the house to rest his tired body, having just mowed the lawn. After about three hours, he awoke with a bad pain in his mouth. When the pain became excruciating, he tried to open his mouth to see if he could feel the trouble, but it hurt too much.
He then tried to rise from the sofa, but he couldn’t get his body to cooperate. This was so unusual for Caleb, who had a dancer’s body, long, lithe, and flexible, from years of dancing in the local dancers’ guild productions. In spite of the pain, he called for Jackie.
Just before she entered the room, she saw the glow emanating from his mouth, and she backed up to the phone and dialed the medical services. When she explained about Caleb’s condition and the light that precipitated it, the dispatcher requested a hazardous materials team to accompany the emergency medical technicians.
After much discussion, it was decided to place Caleb in quarantine at home, to protect other patients from becoming victims of the contamination. The medics diagnosed a lingular contusion of the tongue caused by exposure to uranium and radon. What Caleb had thought were regular stones for his wall were really old stones from a nuclear testing site sold illegally at the local home projects center.
Needless to say, Jackie slept somewhere else, leaving Caleb with the two nurses dressed from head to toe in what looked like spacesuits. This was one time Caleb did not complain about her anxieties, realizing that maybe being afraid sometimes was the wisest thing.
Fictional story written for the Three Things Challenge #19 from Paula Light from Light Motifs II: uranium, moss, dancer. Fandango prompt is Victim. Ragtag prompt is Lingular. Word of the Day is Team. Your Daily Prompt is Guild.
Regina, enjoyed your story. It reminded me of the old fable, curiosity killed the cat,
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