Almost all of the fish were dead and floating in the corner of the tank where the pump sucked water in. Their bodies covered in sores. Only one was alive, and it was gasping and swimming in a slow circle at the bottom of the tank. Strange black worms that looked like thin threads were poking out of its gills every time it opened its mouth to pump more water across them.
“Oh. Shit.” I took out my phone and called Kiki. I got a busy signal. She must be chatting with Jason. “Damn it.” I hung up, took a pic of the fishes and texted her, then waited for a reply.
As I stood there, the poor little bluegill shuddered and sank to the bottom of the tank, where the body started inflating rapidly.
“What the hell?”
I stared as the fish’s scales lifted straight up off its body like an obscene porcupine, and its body bloated up and up and up, like someone had attached a balloon pump to it, and then, it just, exploded.
I jumped back.
Water splashed onto the floor. The tank water became even cloudier, and I could barely make out hundreds of black and white worms squirming about it. I saw a few of them start to burrow into the frayed chunks of fish flesh that had landed next to the side of the tank.
“That can’t be good.”
Shaking my head, I called Frankie. His phone rang for what felt like forever before he answered.
“Yes Becca?” he shouted.
“Frankie, we have a serious problem over here.”
INFECTION: CADDIS INITIATIVE PHASE ONE to be released by Bloody Whisper Books in summer of 2017