The screen flicked on an off as another report came into the head offices of KAZTV news; chief editor Keven Drimmond took one brief glance at the image and realised the impact of what he saw, “Get me Carol, Hazel!” he called to his secretary, Hazel Owens and in that instant, Hazel witnessed a look on her boss’s face she had not seen since the great scare of ‘85’ when the last plague struck.
She didn’t want to ask and feared the reply, but she had to know, “Is this as bad as the scare of 85?” she asked timidly.
Hard-nosed and bull-headed he may be, but Drimmond had made his name on honesty in a world of lies and make-believe, “No, Hazel, this is far worse than we imagined may happen back in ‘85’, this is the day we prayed would never arrive but realised the day may come.”
“What did happen in ‘85’? I heard stories but never got to the truth, people tended to change the subject when I mentioned the story.”
Keven took a breath as he tried to remember those days; how a rookie reporter and a washed-out cameraman took the last helicopter to a lake and witnessed the terror which had lay hidden under millions of gallons of water emerge from the depths, “This was my first job as a reporter, Hazel, the chief sent me and Hank out to a lake which was drying up in the drought; the story was not intended to be more than a page five four-line filler about the water shortage, and yet...” The pause caused by the memories of something he had kept hidden from everybody made Drimmond shiver, he got his breath back and continued, “Hank flew me over Lake Pittoch to view the drop in the water level, what we viewed was the re-emergence of a hidden village which had been under water for as long as records show, ‘85’ was the worst drought in recorded history, levels in all lakes fell too emergency level and we had to ferry water in from outside, stand pipes and rationing became the norm and people turned to crime to get a glass of water.”
Hazel was amazed that people had been forced to such things for something she took for granted, “WOW, I never realised it got to those lengths.”
“The drought was the beginning, as the lakes dried out more of these villages became visible; they had been hidden in dips in the hills, out of sight-out of mind appeared to be the order of the day. The only trouble being, the people forgot that because you deny the existence of a problem, that does not deny the existence of the problem and the creatures lived out of sight all this time, coming out in the shadows of the night and hiding once the light came up.”
Hazel shuffled the books she carried as she said, “How did they survive under water?”
Drimmmond leant back in his chair and replied, “Our best guess is genetic mutation allowed them to grow gills which meant they became amphibians.”
Hazel asked with a tremor in her voice, “What happened once the villages were exposed?”
Drimmond sat in the chair and lowered his head as he thought, after a pause, he continued, “We were forced to evacuate all the villages near to the lakes to high ground and heli-evac the people to far off locations, then we drove the creatures back by fire bombing the area; the bombings had been designed to buy time but with the drought a fire bombing became a fire storm driven by dry winds and hot air and in the end, these monster got driven back to the villages and as a final release, there was a thunder storm for a week and the lakes filled again; until now.”