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It's Not the End of the World
by Aaron Rowley

"You think they're going to notice?" Dr. Schwartzwald's voice was muffled by his gas mask.

"That we released a gas that's going to turn their lungs to sludge?" I said.


"Yeah, I think they're gonna notice."

"Damn, I was afraid of that."

As if they heard us, a group of middle aged men in suits ran up to the plexiglass window. They started to scream at us and pound on the window. We couldn't hear what they were saying, we just watched their mouths move miming their panic. Their pounding on the window sounded to us like a hollow, erratic thumping. Blood began to drip from their mouths and noses. They got a wild, crazed look in their eyes. Their toupees began to slide off. They were desperate to get into the room. I was glad that the window was three layers thick and the door could only be opened from inside. One of the men coughed and sprayed blood across the window blurring our view of the men in suits.

"Harris is going to have my ass for this," Schwartzwald said.

"I think that's Harris." I said nodding my head toward the window.

"Really?" Schwartzwald craned his neck as if that would help him make out the faces of the silhouettes pounding on the window.

I shrugged.

Schwartzwald raised his short, round body onto his toes as he tried to peer through the blood soaked glass. Schwartzwald's white hair stuck out erratically where it was shoved out of place by the bands holding his gas mask on. The top of his head was completely bald. It reflected a disturbing amount of light.

Schwartzwald sighed. His gloved hands rested on the table behind him. Petri dishes were scattered across the table top. The florescent lights were especially blinding, the walls were a stark, bright white.

I shuffled my feet and glass from the shattered test tubes crunched under my boots. I stretched my hands. My hands were damp from the sweat trapped under the latex.

"So...what're we gonna do?" I asked.

"I don't know."

"How long is it going to take the gas to clear out?"

Schwartzwald shrugged and rubbed his head with the back of his wrist. "Three, four months maybe."

"You're kidding, right?"

Schwartzwald shook his head.

"So...what're we gonna do?" I asked.

Schwartzwald shrugged.

I sighed. "How much gas is out there?"

Schwartzwald shrugged. He looked down at the floor and muttered to himself as he counted. "4...4 and a half liters."

I did the math in my head. Depending on how long it took the gas to get out of the building and which way the winds were blowing, that was enough to kill everyone from here to Canada.

I exhaled slowly. The thumping on the window had stopped.

"So I guess test tube bowling was a bad idea..." I said slowly.

"Yeah, looks like it." Schwartzwald said.

I sighed. "Too bad. I was this close to a perfect game."

Schwartzwald snorted, "You were going to choke. You always do."

I laughed. Schwartzwald laughed.

After a while, we stopped. It got quiet.

"So...what're we gonna do?" I asked.

"I dunno. Wanna play 20 questions?"

I shrugged. "Okay."