Prompt Short Story: Evolution

04/07, 4th AF

I woke up this morning after a dream about the time before the fall. Goddess, it was so real. Waking up felt like losing everything all over again. My inner therapist tells me I should write down dreams, thoughts, that stuff, so I figure now’s a good time to start. Let’s pretend you, dear reader who doesn’t exist, are an archaeologist from way in the future, and you want to know what happened. Well, let me tell you a little about it.

The world was slowly dying. Between late stage capitalism, selfish assholes, and the easily manipulated gullible (who then turned into the selfish assholes), we were killing everything. The air sucked, we melted the ice caps,  the weather patterns alone were enough to kill hundreds of thousands every year. But hey it was cool, cos the 1% that had all the money just shrugged and plugged money into keeping themselves safe (sarcasm still exists, right?). They established a moon colony and moved themselves and their  “staff” (more like slaves at this point) in. The rest of us got left behind. But we were plebs, so fuck us, right? If we wanted to survive we shoulda just not been so damned poor.

About 8 years ago, the extinctions began in earnest. It was like Mother Earth just went “fuck it”, hit the reboot button, and everything started shutting down. Before we knew it we were knee deep in dead-fucking-everything. Mammals, fish, lizards, insects, birds, you couldn’t throw a rock without it bouncing over a dozen corpses.

Seriously, like, everything was dying, except the humans. We wondered about that at first, then the rumours started. Photos, video, internet posts – was this another conspiracy theory or was it real? Turned out to be real. Humans weren’t dying. We were changing.

Scientifically, what I understand is that junk DNA – all those bits that never came to fruition, all the evolutionary paths that we didn’t go down – suddenly they started taking over. Imagine almost overnight going from brown hair and brown eyes, to pale blonde and blue eyed, because that recessive gene suddenly became dominant. It was that, but so much more fucking painful and scary. Because our entire bodies were forced to change. Within days someone would change from your standard human, into something totally new – it’d still be them, but maybe now they had talons and feathers and a beak. Or fur and all sharp teeth and eyes that could see in the dark. Or scales and a tail and a snout.I saw one guy I knew suffocate, cos we didn’t realise quick enough that he was changing into a fish thing and needed dumping in the water cos his fucking gills just grew in!

And the pain. I don’t know how to describe it. Like, your entire body was teething. Bones breaking, fusing, growing. Every bit of your skin feeling like it’s being nonstop stabbed by needles cos it’s moulting, or sprouting fur or feathers. Everything would change shape and purpose and it’d be days of nonstop agony.  Shit, just the transformations alone were enough to kill millions. Heart attacks, strokes, falls, suffocation like the fish guy, even starvation cos they didn’t know how to hunt – or didn’t want to. Suicides. So many fucking suicides, for a while it felt like sheer fucking despair would be the thing that finished the human race off.

But then, that was the thing wasn’t it? Were we still the human race? Scientists started coming up with names I still can’t spell or pronounce, for the new amalgamations – homo-whateverus and all that. I’m pretty sure that was mostly to try and persuade us all that we’re still some form of human, and I guess we are at that, we’re just not sapiens anymore.So the world fell. Or rose? I guess it’s all in how you look at it. If nothing else it convinced everyone to do something about what we’d done to our home. First we rebuilt on higher land. Architectural marvels appeared, connecting us to each other, giving us vertical farms and hydroponic power. We ate homegrown everything – even meat for the carnivores, proper synthesised meat, no more cattle farming. We began marking a new calendar – AF for After the Fall (yeah I know, boring name, but that’s scientists for you) – and we gave the finger to the rich bastards on the moon – they know not to come down here if they wanna keep their bits intact. To explain how this all happened and worked needs a better person than me – a smarter one. Besides, sitting in the position I need to type on my tablet hurts my nutrient hump after a while.

But here’s what I think. I think Mother decided that the only way we’d see and feel and realise what we were doing, and what we needed to do to fix it, was to turn us into the very things we were hurting.

Well, Mother, it worked. Some days I thank you and some days I curse you, but I can’t ever deny that it did the trick.

Hey, whaddya know, I actually feel better after writing this. I think maybe I’ll do it again. Maybe some tales from before the fall. Maybe some tales from after. I got plenty of both.

But I gotta get to work now.

You know, before all this, I worked three jobs. Bagging groceries in the day, waiting tables at night, then I sold nudes for extra cash when I wasn’t doing either of those. Honestly the last one was the best, weirdly the folk buying my body were more respectful than the customers in either the store or the restaurant. Go figure. And nobody could hold that job hostage like those fuckers did – lateness through no fault of your own or for emergencies, standing up for yourself, getting sick – everything got you a write-up and a pay dock, and then a firing, cos hey, they got a waiting list a mile long of other suckers desperate for a job to pay rent or eat.

I’m not sure anyone wants to see me naked anymore – physical attraction all got a little weird,  what with all the changes – but I only have one job now. 3 days a week I do upkeep on one of the hydroponics stations. We all get a basic money allowance, and we work for more if we want it – and 99% of us do even if it’s just because we want to contribute to this version of society. It works. We get what we need, and we get healthcare and shit, and then we make everything run ok. No more working to death just to live.

Alright, definitely gotta go to work. Dear future archaeologist. I hope your world is a good one and we didn’t fuck it up again. Peace out for now.

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Everything was dying, except tbe humans. HollowaysHideaway.com

Prompt Short Story: Duty

“The coordinates are wrong! Taking fire.”

“Shit! Beta team! Check in! Beta team!”

There was no response, just a hollow emptiness where even a quiet set of comms should have given a small hiss of white noise to show they remained active.

Bailey swore loudly. It was a setup and she’d fallen for it like the noob she was. She pulled off her headset, momentarily ignoring the cries from Alpha and Gamma teams, and took a long drink, from the nutrient tube that ran into her pod.

Fresh out of a promotion to Field Team Leader and her first mission was a shitshow. This wouldn’t stand. She couldn’t let it. Those were her people, and some of them had their real bodies on the line out there.

She activated her field ‘droid, smashing it out of its box and nodding to the salutes from the humans on Alpha team as she began issuing orders and moving forward with them: 3 warm bodies, 3 drones, and now her.

Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Duty”