Deadly Toxic Cloud Escapes Chemical Refinery, Kills Area Man

"You can't go out there."

"Don't be ridiculous, Harriet."

"You heard what the radio—"

"You can stay inside if you want." He tapped on the window pane. "Look, see, there's the Magruders' dog, and he's fine. The radio's in on it, Harriet."


"I'm going."

"At least wear the mask."

He'd bought it at a surplus store during a survivalist phase, before he understood the real danger. "There's nothing in the air, Harriet." He looked at her, read the expression on her face. "Fine, I'll wear the mask." 

Masked, Brent threw open the door and strode out with confidence; Harriet quickly closed the door behind him. The street was empty, but he could feel the eyes on him from front windows.

Let's put on a show. He ostentatiously bent down to smell a flower, took a deep breath. He immediately felt nauseous. Wait, do the cartridges on these masks expire?


  1. I enjoyed your take on the prompt, it made me smile.
    Why is it we never think to check the batteries!

    1. It's actually a chemical cartridge, containing (iirc) carbon that filters toxins/gas. And they definitely expire. :)

  2. Whoops. Rookie mistake! Good story, David!