A gasp from the doorway between the kitchen to the living room caused me to stop my search. “When did you come in?” asked Mom. She stood there blinking in disbelief.
“Only a few minutes ago,” I said.
“Are you going somewhere? I don’t remember you talking about going on a trip.”
“It’s Alex’s backpack. We were out today and he forgot it in the SUV. It spilled and so I brought it in here to repack it.”
“Well, invite him over for dinner and you can give it back tonight.”
“He’s at the hospital being checked out. I’ll give it to him when he’s released.”
“Oh, dear. Is he going to be okay?” she asked. I nodded, not wanting to explain. “What’s this?” she asked while tugging on a thread near the bottom of the pack.
Rip. Thunk. Thud. A piece of fabric on the bottom gave way. A notebook, papers, and a folder scattered on the floor.
The heaviest of the contents was a thin loose-leaf notebook with pages hanging out. An orange folder wrapped in a thin shirt fell out. Flyers like those Alex had been handing out at the greenhouse slid out. Other sheets looked like they were from conspiracy theory sites with headlines such as ‘Alien Trees from Outer Space’ and ‘Is the Earth Being Terraformed.’
Still others looked scholarly with the name Kevlar Trees in the title. Most of what those papers contained was beyond my comprehension. They spoke of contamination in the water table. Some had the words graphene and long chemical names highlighted in multiple places. A headline on one asked ‘Can GMO Plants Clean the Environment.’ Yet another asked ‘Has Pollution Created a Darwin Effect in Plant Life.’
A particularly shocking one claimed the trees likely grew from GMO seeds dispersed by wildlife such as migratory birds. The author was alarm because seeds from GMO farms are nearly impossible to contain.
“I’ll get my sewing box. I’ll have this fixed up as good as new,” Mom called over her shoulder as she shuffled into the living room.
As I looked at one of the more scholarly papers, I noticed a photo captioned with the name of Dr. Cora Nelson. The photo was of the woman who had been the greenhouse with Alex. That day at the greenhouse she seemed angry and a bit unstable. The last thing I want to do is get involved up with her, but felt that I needed to let her know Alex was in trouble and in the hospital. I tapped out an email to the address below her picture and hit send.