From the Vault – Noah’s Mountain Fresh

This is a sci-fi short story that I wrote for a creative writing class in my junior year of high school. Despite the lack of scientific accuracy, I’m impressed by the teenage Lindsay’s ability to infuse some emotional impact into this brief piece. Enjoy!

It wasn’t the sort of day for rain.  I opened my umbrella and stepped out into the street.  There were no cars out this morning, nothing stirred.  I checked my watch; it was 5:20.  That was very early in the morning and nobody was out.  I deftly leapt over a puddle slowly running along the curb.  The streets themselves were free for travel, but floods were frequent around these parts. 

Actually, floods were pretty common around most places I had been to.  I decided that when the floods got really high I’d just stay upstairs at the hotel.  My room is really nice.  I’ve spent a lot of time there.  Once I can remember that I stayed in there for a very long time.  I got pretty hungry, and just about lived on the vending machine down the hall and the bottled water machine next to it.  Luckily, I always saved my loose change at the end of each day.  I don’t really save my change as much these days, but I get along fine anyway. 

I checked my watch again.  It was now 5:45.  I realized I had better hurry up.  I ran the rest of the way to the grocery store.  The open sign was up in the window and I smiled.  I loved places that were always open.  So inviting, so friendly to everyone.  I left my umbrella at the door and walked inside.  I picked up one of those little hand baskets and began to idly place items into it. 

When I got to the deli I found a large puddle in the middle of the floor.  I shook my head and smiled.  There were always so many messes these days.  The beach towels were a couple of isles back, and it only took a couple to soak into the puddle.  I passed one of the store’s stock-boys as I left the deli. 

I called to him, “Don’t worry, I got the clean-up down at the deli.” 

But he made no reply.  I went to the beverage isle and moved to the bottled water.  I took three of the gallon jugs.  I chose the Mountain Fresh brand.  After I had my Mountain Fresh, my Pop Tarts, and my Ritz crackers I stepped up to the express counter.  I knew the cashier behind the register, her tag read Lucy. 

“Hiya Lucy, its me again.” 

Lucy didn’t reply, but I was used to that.  Lucy was the quiet type.  I noticed her eyeing my Mountain Fresh water. 

“Ah yes, water.  One of the greatest things in the world huh?  Yup.  I suppose that water is probably the most important thing to life.  I mean, life started in water.  You can live without food for days, but water is essential.  But then again, water can also be dangerous.” 

Here I gave Lucy a wink. 

“I bet you know what I mean.  Floods, storms, tidal waves…  even avalanches are water!  And think, when God wanted to destroy all the evil in the world, what did he use?  Pure water, that’s what.  Washed the whole planet clean.  Effective huh?  But then God promised he wouldn’t flood the world again.  You know, I always wondered, if God thought the world was bad enough again, how’d he clean it?  I mean, to get something clean you use water right?  But without a flood, how’d you do it?” 

I smiled, and leaned in closer to Lucy. 

“I’ll tell you how.  Make that pure water, not so pure.  Make what’s so essential to life, inadequate.  Totally unreliable.  Do that, and life just… falls away.  And the beauty is, God doesn’t even have to do the dirty work.  Man’s already messed up the world’s water pretty bad.  All he’d have to do is watch.  Watch, while people keep drinking the same bad water, and keep getting worse and worse, until one day out of the blue… Smite!” 

I laughed. 

“Sorry, I guess I got a little carried away.  Well, see you later Lucy.” 

I finished putting my groceries in a paper sack and turned to go.  I stepped over Lucy and went back out to the street.  I picked up my umbrella, only to find the fabric eaten away in a fizzing puddle. 

I turned and walked back into the store, calling out: “Lucy!  Put a new umbrella on that bill too!”

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