A sci-fi film: The world’s oxygen is slowly moving north and south, away from the equator. At first, a strange epidemic of breathlessness was noticed in Ecuador and Kenya and other tropical countries. Suspicions were aired. The Chinese, Russians, and Americans were variously accused of hoarding air, or saving the planet from overpopulation by suffocating people in poor, nondeveloping countries.
Millions fled north and south from the equatorial zones, if they could; but oceans kept many of them where they were, gasping for breath and dying, or precariously in small boats, trying to head nearer the poles as they rode out each new storm.
Temperate-zone countries – some of them, anyway – tried to help but their scientists didn’t know how to stop this slow suffocation of the world’s people and animals, as the oxygen-free zone expanded, reached Houston, Charleston, … reached theaters where The Breath-Taking Thriller was playing, where we breathlessly await the film’s climax, for someone to save us, as our breathing becomes more and more desperate.
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