by Brianna G. Harte
Image credit: “Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil.” CNN.
Previously on “Sinking Into Deep Waters” a dabble in horror: Last night, hazy images of thousands seemed to crowd onto his own lawn, all pointing at the dark sky above. “The Earth demands you change your ways. She cries. We die or move from our homes. You cannot ignore it. You cannot any longer.
“What do you want with me?” Richard asked, imagining himself slowly drowning in a mass of ghostly hands. He took a careful step backward.
“Your help,” a little girl with straight, choppy hair reaching to the middle of her back scarcely whispered. Her eyes, he realized, held not thirst for revenge. Instead, a soft look peered up at him, glimmering with hope as they faded in and out of view.
“What?” His voice was scarcely a whisper.
An old man stood out from the crowd. His stark white beard and hair stood out from his tanned skin. Wrinkles on his forehead and near his eyes comforted Richard’s heart in more ways than his mind could understand. “You have power, yes? Of course you do or the Earth would not have troubled our newly separated souls to bring us to you. Young man,” he began. “The world around you changes. You must be realizing that.”
Richard puffed his chest and instinctively placed his hands at his hips. “No one believes that stuff. All the climate scientists can’t even agree! They’re just making it all up so my company goes out of business!”
“A few of your competitors believe otherwise,” a shadowy formed woman gently stated. Richard searched the crowd of shifting faces for her, but could not. “They have soothed the Earth and they shall rest peacefully when they leave this land in the future. But you must be part of the solution for disasters like our to stop.”
“Have your company change like the others,” the old man pleaded. “Our numbers grow the longer you delay.”
Richard’s face turned bright red as muscles tensed. “Get off my lawn! Right now! Or I’ll . . .” He couldn’t finish his thought. There were no threats he could place on ghosts. Ghosts. The word shook his soul as much as the realization that he just spoke to them – the dead.
The figures before him in their dampened attire began to fade from view, the glimmers in their transparent eyes dimming all too quickly. Not once did their melancholy glares waver. These disappeared last, unnerving Richard more than if the vanishment was even.
“They’re not real,” he told himself. “Just figments of my imagination.”
As he returned indoors, the sunlight faded, leaving his eyes to readjust. His house captured little light, blocking out most of the natural world with curtains hugging the window frames. Returning to the comfort of sleep proved difficult. The nightmares worried him. They always felt real, causing him, a grown man of fifty, to squirm in his sleep. Now that these ghosts, whether figments of imagination or not, had shown before him, the relief from the day’s’ stress could not reach him. As soon as his eyelids closed for more than a moment, drownings and droughts, blizzards and heat waves, filled his mind. Waking did not leave him alone either. Eyes unseen seemed to watch him.
The following morning, donning a sharp black suit with a shallow blue button up shirt peeking out from behind, he approached the Vice President of his company. Sleep deprivation weighed him down, causing his usually confident strides to deteriorate into weak walks with feet dragging across the tiled floor.
“Good morning, Richard!” the Vice President exclaimed, despite him too appearing less jovial than usual. “Ready to get the final stage of the project underway? Once we get the new pipes all mapped out and designed, it will be all over. The CEO is considering bonuses for the managers of the company if this pulls off!”
Richard tried to show enthusiasm, but the dark circles under his eyes brought down any energy he thought remained. The most he managed was a smile and a nod.
As he turned away, he noticed two young men covered in blood stood in the corner, their bodies only partially visible in the bright lights streaming across the office. Burn marks ran up their arms, up to their white t-shirts. Blood streams came from the skull of one and chest of another, but their faces were not contorted in pain. At least, no longer. They stared into Richard’s eyes and glared at the Vice President, taken aback by the words said.
“Don’t let this happen. What of the cost of lives this project has? More oil, more problems. Does the weight of your wallet outweigh the deaths from oil wars?” Their words held no egoism, no selfish desires.
“Richard?” the Vice President asked. “Is your team ready?”
Juhasz, Antonia. “Why the war in Iraq was fought for big oil.” CNN, April 13, 2013.
Copyright © 2015 Brianna G Harte. All rights reserved.