a year in stories::thirty four

I once heard someone say that science fiction is predictive. This story probably deserves to be fleshed out more, which I’ll do on the rewrite, probably, but I think it works as is.

Look up geoengineering.

Things we never said

 

I didn’t say I told you so when the earth died screaming. No one did.

Maybe someone did. Some asshole at the edge of some ocean turned too acidic to enter telling his grandkids that he knew this would happen right before he dives in and sort of melts away as his family screams and cries. But probably no one would do such a thing. Or maybe whole nations of them did.

Men probably. We’re dramatic that way. Everything’s about finality and getting the last act in before the curtains close.

But we keep on living on. Trying to survive in the world we murdered.

The sun doesn’t shine the way it used to. Not since we sent sulfur into the upper atmosphere to shield us from the sun and its heat. It was meant to slow down or maybe stop global warming. That’s what they said anyway. The Great Powers. They didn’t ask us, the rest of the world, when they filled the atmosphere with the death of the planet.

Oddly enough, the sunrises and sunsets never looked so beautiful. The blue of the sky was a hazed blue but the sun turned gorgeous. Oranges and greens and purples and somehow new shades of black that never yet existed here. The only thing I don’t miss about the old world is the sun. Strange to say that now but I believe it’s true.

I remember the day they launched disaster into the sky. A rocket aimed at nothing racing away from the world we stood on and when it disappeared from our sight so far away and then even farther and farther until we were all staring into the sun waiting for something to happen. And then it exploded into a dark net that slowly wrapped around the atmosphere.

A shield.

Everyone knew it would work but we also knew it might be impossible to take it back down.

Like all the words I said to you. All the ones I can’t anymore.

When the monsoons didn’t come things got out of control. I guess most of us didn’t know that we needed that water or Southeast would become a desolate wasteland from a neverending drought. I remember your cracked lips. And since the sunshield didn’t stop carbon emissions the ocean just got more and more acidic. They tried to reverse it by seeding iron and kicking up plankton growth to suck it out of the atmosphere but the rate at which that worked was negligible with the increased use of fossil fuels.

People believed what was told them: the world was saved. Why not continue life as we had?

None of us in Southeast did. But the Great Powers didn’t care about us. They weaponised the climate and all we lost was everything.

You were so thin and frail. Your hair and teeth falling out.

All those distended stomachs of all those children. You tried to help though you rotted where you couldn’t sleep.

Then we little powers turned on the Great ones and the bombs began dropping. With the drought and starvation and the blight of the water, they retaliated as a last desperate show of force in a dying world. Of course, the Great Powers responded and much of the world disappeared.

You were gone by then. You never saw all of this. You died. A long time ago.

But I carried you through. I thought maybe there’d be hope in this new technology. If we could revive the world, why not you? If we could give all of us a new life, why not you?

Why not you?

We laid our hope on a sinking ship.

Even though so many knew this would happen. They predicted it. But the promise was so strong. So shining and bright.

And you were so deathly.

You never got to see your child born, but you never saw him born dead either.

I watched you die, and then the world died, and now we’re just wandering on a desert that was once the ocean, the hazed black light of the sun scarring the sky.

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