♫ … gira, il mondo gira / nello spazio senza fine / con gli amori appena nati … ♫
I switch stations, I turn off the radio. The world stopped for real. The reclusion goes on and the lab, a necessary tool to practice the art of chemistry, is further and further away.
I often go back to the lab on the dream train and the glassware comes to life magically: Erlenmeyer flasks, burettes, and Vigreux columns aren’t just simple pieces of Pyrex glass, they are part of a fantastic orchestra, singers of a celestial choir that follow the notes of dancing electrons and singing protons! It’s extremely weird but I feel at home.
Even this night I validated my ticket and got onboard to get to the lab but something went wrong … everything started with soft howls: wind usually sounds like that so I didn’t worry too much about it; but the noises got more intense and my cabin started swinging from one side to the other up to the final moment: the roof opened and the blizzard furiously took everything away, me too.
I woke up swimming in a dank lake, its water was brownish and free of any hint of life. By the way, that strange water had a familiar odor, which flashed me back under an olive tree where my grandma, every time I fell off my bike, used to medicate my bruised knees. Here it was: Iodine! A lake made out of iodine solution, why?
Meanwhile, it started raining and I had a second to catch my breath and continue with my immersion. This new “water” was strange, too; I faltered, believing what I thought, but it obviously was bleach. I recognized that underground pool stench. Too strong, too alive. But why was bleach raining down from the sky?
This was only the tip of the iceberg. The rain became a flood and ink-black clouds started to emerge out of the iodine solution. Bigger and bigger, more voracious and more voracious. They started wrapping me up and automatically I started crying. I really wanted those dark nimbi to have given me a chance to live, but nothing: The situation got worse because more clouds formed and added to the past ones. This time they were metallic, and they grew up from the surface. I began thinking of my last moments of life, floating in a cauldron full of iodine and smothered by a rain of sodium hypochlorite. Such an awkward end! I indulged in this thought, imagining my death announcement published in the newspaper next week.
But as in all the best tales, almost better, the Light fought the Dark: Unbelievingly, those malicious formations began to disappear. Those spots sank to the bottom to become hills, and then nothing. Finally, I could view the bottom of the haunted cauldron that hosted me and it was sparkling, bright, almost hypnotic: I stared at it too much so as not to lose the meaning of what I saw, and I didn’t realize I was back home, lying on my bed, ready to wake up and start a new day.
I showered, had breakfast, got dressed, and immediately left my house, otherwise I would get to work too late. While I’m walking, I feel the smell of rain coming from the soil: it has the aftertaste of who pulled it off.
I’m Angelo, 12 years old, and I live in Castellana Grotte, a little town in Apulia (BA), Italy. Along with my brother Giovanni, 20 years old, I’m learning so much about chemistry and after an experiment, I got a flash to write a story. Giovanni helped me with words, images, and especially English (not my piece of cake) and then we sent it to the 1000xChemistry challenge, then the surprise: 2nd place!
Angelo Pellegrino from Bari won second prize in the 2nd 1000xChemistry competition with this essay.