There was a crack in the porcelain but it was so perfectly broken that to an uninformed eye you would not notice. Only when you touched it, when you tried to hold it, would it fall apart. Only then you could see where it had been broken. You just might not know why, and sometimes the why was answered when it already was too late to be fixed.
The mug sat in the middle of the room on a white pillar. An artifact they called them now. This classification was given when you touched something of an object and it killed you or you almost died.
The newspapers had headlined like, OBJECTS AT LARGE or HOW YOUR TEAPOT COULD KILL YOU. It hadn’t happened to Alisha but her arms grew stiff with every talk of news.
She had a classmate, Paul, who picked up a jar of apricot jam and just died. The rumors say their body breaks and crumbles rapidly starting from the point of contact, and that it spreads through the whole body.
In the early days, when it was all whispers, Alisha’s dad had joked that he ought to send his old classmate an old bike handle. That was before we knew the rumors were true and more and more kept dying. Scientists had the objects locked in glass cases where they studied them for hours, none could decipher the cause.
All we knew was that once you touched it, you could be dead. In the case of one of the Fredrick boys, when his mother touched the object that killed him, she was fine. A secondary touch was deemed safe but that was not advised. Or at least that’s what they said in this museum. Don not touch was printed in almost every language but cat.
I looked at the mug on the pillar, placed in a glass case, and wondered at the title, artifact 54Dr7. It was when I titled my head that I noticed the latch on the glass edge sticking out ever so slightly.
Keep your hands to yourself, I thought, but they weren’t my words, they were my mother’s. I heard the security man’s walkie-talkie speak. He turned to tell a student to move further back from the protective rope. I never knew why they made this into a museum. Mum said it was to answer people’s questions. That didn’t make sense to me either.
I used the edge of my fingernail to clip the latch further open. I reached in and touched the porcelain surface. It was smooth. In a second it broke apart as it’s cracked were pressed on. I felt sorry but relieved, and then everything started to happen really fast.
My heart pounded in my throat, my fingertips felt numb and dry, I heard someone shout, the marble floor collided with my face, cold shivers ran down my spine, my dad’s face, a push, I took a breath.
June 22, 4055, THE SECOND TOUCH KILLS: SECOND RULING AMENDED.
And the why; why did this happen? Why was it broken? Why was my daughter dead? In a world full of new technology breakthroughs, these questions were still was left unanswered.
~ Written by Stephanie Kentepozidis