Where were you when the first one happened? I remember where I was. The sky was bright, sunny, and abnormally blue. My mother was inside, trying to push my brother out of the house for school. “You’re going to be late!”
The tar-black clouds rolled in shortly after, while my brother and I were packing our stuff into the car. We stopped and looked up at them. Everyone stopped and looked up at them.
Once the sky was completely darkened, the clouds started to rain. We stayed in our trance, staring at the now pouring sky, hardly able to see past our noses. About 30 seconds into the downpour, people began to drop. We didn’t notice, though, until our mother fell. The rain caused a numbing effect, and neither of us could do much to help her- all we could do was watch as she slowly stopped breathing.
The government called it “The Cleanse.” A happy nickname for a reoccuring event in which they pour a chemical from the skies that ended the lives of anyone with a particular genetic mutation. Luckily, my brother and I were adopted, so we didn’t share the genetics of our mother or father- both of whom were taken.
The fallout to this first cleanse was terrifying. Babies without parents, spouses, children, so many dead. It was estimated that around 9% of the population dropped- but that the cleanses would continue until that were satisfied by the complete neutralization of this mutation. News reports that followed explained that the mutation altered the brain and made these people more aggressive and confrontational. They stated that these people were 70% more likely than those without the mutation to randomly snap and commit a rape or murder at least once in their lifetime. They said 45% of child predators had this mutation in common.
People who were unlucky enough to have been inside during the initial cleanse refused to leave their homes for fear that another one would fall while they were vulnerable. Underground apps were developed, attempting to warn susceptible people of a coming cleanse storm. Successful ones offered a 10 minute window for the user to find shelter. This worked for a brief amount of time before the creators of the app were found and arrested. Copycat apps came out, but viruses were released within a few of them that messed with the warnings, resulting in many deaths. None were trusted after that.
Some uncleansed people did snap, eventually. One man, who’s entire family had been inside during the storm, refused to let anyone leave the house for over a month. The fear of losing them to the rain eventually drove him mad and he killed them all himself. He claimed it was out of mercy. Shortly after his arrest, he was handcuffed to a pole outside during a cleanse. He succumbed to the rains and became the perfect advertisement for what the cleanse was attempting to protect us from.
The numbers satisfied many of the citizens, who allowed these rains to continue. Some would force loved ones to stand in the rains, as proof that they were safe. Cleansed mothers would birth their babies in the rain as proof that their genetics were clean of this mutation. Seeking any kind of shelter aggressively during a cleanse storm was heavily frowned upon and, for minorities, became grounds for officers to question someone and even request that they stand in the rain for a period of time to satisfy their suspicions.
The storms continued for 6 months, and stopped just as quickly as they’d started. This was 10 years ago. Recently, a leak was released stating that the storms would be coming back- this time with a new targeted mutation.