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  • Writer's picturebucky

"Ban, Healthy, Summer" (2022)

๐š‹๐šŠ๐š—, ๐š‘๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š•๐š๐š‘๐šข, ๐šœ๐šž๐š–๐š–๐šŽ๐š›;

It had started like it did every summer - a hosepipe ban. A healthy preventative measure to help with drought, to stop frivolous pool parties and lazy gardening. It'd been in place for six weeks, when, in the middle of July, the ban was surreptitiously lifted.

With an oppressive heat bearing down on the shoulders of the public, they were plenty grateful. Paddling pools returned brimming, sprinklers spraying great arcs of twinkling life over thirsty gardens and screeching children alike. It was bliss - the welcome return of a refreshing, cooling balm for the sweaty summer days.

But Cove noticed... the water was ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.

It didn't smell the same, or look the same, or taste the same. It wasn't anything as apparent as chemical meddling, and the slight difference in it's appearance wasn't anything Cove could put into words... it was just... ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.

Cove had pointed it out to his mother, his sister, his aunt. He'd poured a cup of it for his uncle, swilled the imposter in front of his eyes, he'd even shown the next-door neighbour... But not a single person understood. No-one could see the ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ.

Cove stopped drinking it. He stopped washing in it, touching it, looking at it. When his family took an impromptu trip to the beach, Cove was horrified to learn that the sea had been replaced too. The fraudulent waves crashed against the beach and threatened Cove's toes in hungry, foaming ripples.

Even on the car ride back, scowling out at the untrustworthy surroundings beyond the tinted windows, the jovial tittering of his family members aggravated him. Torn from his thoughts by boorish laughing, Cove turned to cast a frustrated glance at the seemingly endless giggling coming from inside the vehicle.

It was then, surrounded by four contorted, cackling faces, that Cove realised... ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™ž๐™™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ข ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™™๐™ž๐™›๐™›๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ค.

Originally written and shared as part of Verbuary 2022:

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