A Blog by the Author Michael Campling
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The next chapter of my latest sci-fi work in progress.
In case you missed it, part 1 is here, where all is made clear (I hope). I'm sharing the first parts of this story as I write it so you can follow along and ask questions or make comments, so please do comment below – I read every comment.
This story is set in the world of Colony B – you don't have to have read any of those stories, but it will help if you have because they do follow on from each other. If you're interested, there's a link below the story.
The Rift Valley
Siobhan staggered through the banks of ferns, the soft ground giving way underfoot. A pain lanced through her stomach, and she gasped, stumbling to a halt and pressing her hands against her belly. It’s the bug, she thought. It finally got me.
The illness had been spreading through the settlers in the rift valley like wildfire, and no one knew what caused it. It wasn’t the grunge; the dreaded symbiont still hadn’t managed to invade their secluded homeland. The illness didn't even seem to relate to any pathogen that they could detect. Boiling water and food was of no value in preventing the spread of the sickness, and although they’d been as careful with their hygiene as their rudimentary huts would allow, every day brought a new victim.
Siobhan had been lucky so far, but today, as she’d gathered berries in the creeper patch, the cramps had begun. She’d tried to ignore the discomfort, carrying on working for as long as she could, but then the symptoms had begun in earnest, and she’d headed for home.
Sweat prickled her brow although she could’ve sworn she was freezing. Her vision blurred, her mind was fogged with pain, and waves of nausea swept through her. She needed to get back to her hut, to lie down and rest, to drink water and hope for the best.
But when she looked ahead, blinking to clear her vision, she saw only a muddle of muted colors, patches of light and dark. Was the illness going to rob her of her vision?
“No,” she whispered. “I must…must get home.” It was her only hope, and biting her lip to prevent herself from whimpering, she took one step forward, and then another. Was that dark shape the outline of a hut? No, it had vanished, slipped away into the looming shadows. And then she realized what was happening. read more…