Chapter 1 The Man Who Spit Acid
I couldn’t help but itch. Maybe it was from all the work we had done in the water. Sometimes the salt would stay on your skin and cause you to itch for days unless you washed it off. Or perhaps I had obtained a rash? Whatever it was, I couldn’t stop itching.
This was just a small discomfort of my day though. It really wasn’t a big deal, I would just continue going to work. My work requires that I would leave the safety of the walls during the day to work on maintaining the nets within the fenced in ocean.
These nets were extremely fine and durable (to an extent). They would be lowered into the water and a rail would drag them along the coast. They would help capture small organisms that would float through the fence. Mainly it was the Jelly that we were concerned with. Highly toxic and nearly invisible. They were a health hazard to the workers in The Water Plant.
The heat was my main discomfort. If it weren’t for the ocean, the heat would surely be my undoing.
I fiddled with the contraption, the fence between my legs as if I were balanced between two worlds. my toes just barely grazed the water’s surface. I was excited because one of my Uppers had given me their gloves. This would mean far less blisters to form on my fingers. Which brought a smile to my bloody chapped lips.
I carefully oiled the small machine and made sure that the metal wasn’t corroding to the point of malfunction. I grabbed the notebook that strung around my neck and wrote down information regarding the condition of the machine.
A shape sticking to the fence caught my eye. Tiny Stars, on the wild side of the fence. Their colors were bright turquoise and I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the creatures. If anything it was a bit haunting to see them. It was well known that they were in The Great Die Out a few hundred years ago.
I left them alone with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to properly care for them. Plus it was frowned upon to unnecessarily disturb any creatures.
I gently tugged on the net, testing to see if it was taut enough. Satisfied, I crawled into my small kayak where I proceeded to check along the net. Making sure that there weren’t any holes developing. The sloshing of the cold water and the sound of waves far off made this one of my favorite parts of my day.
I scratched my neck absentmindedly as I looked out to sea before I went back to checking the net. Once at shore. I pulled my Kayak out of the water and started up the machine that would slowly drag the net to the other side of the shore. I would go help out in the salt fields for a few hours, have lunch, then come back to scrape out any junk that gets stuck on the net.
As the net travels to the other side of the shore. The fence shutters close themselves so that fresh water doesn’t catch any creatures back in. After that we drain the water where it gets filtered.
The process is long.
I made my to the salt fields. I was taking my time (which is usually frowned upon). I am the sole caretaker of the Filter though, so most assumed that I was busy with upkeep. I stuffed my gloves in my pocket. I didn’t want to get them unnecessarily grimy.
I could barely feel the warmth from the sand on my calloused feet. But I enjoyed the sand in between my toes. I longed to be able to leave the boundaries of our fences. I could already imagine the wild and far off lands I would encounter. However, that would be a death wish on my part.
I smiled at the workers who were scooping up salt and starting the process of sorting out the impurities.
I waved at a girl who I had thought was cute. She seemed to be in her early teens, so it was nice to be around my age group. My grin widened when she smiled and waved back at me. I scratched my arms as I walked up to kneel beside a pile of salt. I started to pick the debris out of it.
Despite my frequent glances she remained focused on her job for the remainder of the warm evening. I couldn't bring myself to dampen my mood.