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Pink Mist -- FWG Flash Fiction for 9/23/2023

I missed last week (and maybe the week before?). Anyway, here's this week's entry based on this prompt:

Pink Mist

Dan stopped the car. “It almost looks…I don’t know…pretty.”

Alice snorted. “It’d be beautiful if it wasn’t deadly. You’d better be ready to get us out of here.”

“It only advances about a foot an hour,” Dan said, but he put the car in reverse, anyway. He looked up through the windshield at the tree-lined road. “I never saw it climb the trees like that, though.”

Alice started typing on her tablet, then held the camera up to the window. “Yeah. We need to report that.”

A sudden breeze blew the Pink Mist closer. Dan inched the car backwards. “You almost done? I don’t like that—”

Before he could finish, a stronger breeze shook the branches of the pine trees, shedding the pink methylobacterium. The adjacent trees and undergrowth took on a ghostly tinge.

“It’s airborne,” Dan whispered.

“Hence the term ‘Pink Mist.’” Alice said, though she remained engrossed in her data collection.

Dan’s knee started bouncing nervously. “I’m getting us out of here.” He spun the wheel, executing a ‘K’ turn on the two-lane road. “Oh, crap!”

The wind whipped down the lane, engulfing the SUV in pink death. Dan put the car in gear, but Alice yelled, “Stop! We’re already contaminated. We’ll spread the stuff faster than the wind does.”

“Look at the road, though. It doesn’t stick to anything inorganic.”

Alice frowned, thinking hard. “I don’t know—Oh no!” Flecks of pink began to appear on the vinyl dash and seats. “We’re screwed.”

When Dan didn’t respond, she looked over. His eyes were wide with horror as the air from the dash vent carried the bacteria up his arm.

“It burns,” he whispered.

“Yeah,” Alice responded as she held her sample collector to the pink splotch on her thigh. “At least we got some good data.”

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