TW : Existential dread , blood , death
"I'm here, darling."
It was supposed to be an ordinary day in Summer. A day that children at my age went to the beach, ate ice cream, and played with their friends. It was supposed to be a day that the sun is glaring with heat, making your back soaked with perspiration. Your legs would have been exhausted from running all day long with your folks, but you could have always rested, and had a nice, delectable dinner on an elegant, shiny wooden table with all your family members, talking about what we had done in the day and what we would do the next morrows. Or you could have sat at the balcony all day, watching the world passing by. You might have seen a flock of birds gliding through the clear blue sky. You could have felt the zephyr of the summer whispering the song of nature into your ears. You could have been relaxed, smiled, or even laughed.
It was just…that day was not the day it was supposed to be.
It was the 1st of March 2062. Due to the massive growth of the population and irreversible climate crisis in the world, humans had been facing more and more natural catastrophes: destructive floods, regular level-5 hurricanes, droughts, famines, dreadful quickly mutated diseases, you name it. Usually, the top developed countries wouldn’t be so fragile when the catastrophes come. They might regard them as normal phenomena. Why? They had resources. They had the world’s attention because when they fell it meant that everyone would fall after them. But most importantly, they were rich. They could always afford the medicines, quick post-disaster preparations, and maintain their “market”. Well, some might say that it was just the way it was. Rich countries got better things. Poor countries got what they could afford. But where do you think that wealth and those resources came from? Us. Our resources were drained by the government-backed multinational companies whose interest were not anywhere near the well-being of the people, but wealth. That was all they loved. In our country, Potenus, we almost had nothing left. No resources. No decent technologies. No stable systems. No. Nothing. We had never realised that it was a silent death penalty. We just thought as most people thought. “It just the way it was.” Thus, when it began, for us, it meant death.
I was reading in my bedroom when it happened. It was a windy day, much windier than it was supposed to be. I shifted my attention to the weather outside. It was the heaviest and scariest storm I'd ever encountered. The palm trees in my garden shook violently as if the hands of the devil were trying to deracinate them physically. Still, I could barely see anything out there. The wall of rain blurred everything like a liquid veil of milk. I placed a hand on a freezing window. It shuddered from the power of the gale and the rain. The thunder roared like a colossal beast who had awakened from an eonian hibernation, ready to feed itself on the feast of destruction. It felt as if the world was going to end — as if the whole planet was going to be washed away. I couldn't bear it. Suddenly, my mum burst into my room.
"Lilith, you need to watch this," she said grimly. Her face soaked with worry. It intensified my fear and anxiety. She seldom had that kind of expression. Cheerful as anyone could ever be, my mum was the one in the family that brought us together in the time of desperation. She is the hope of our family, of me.
We went to the living room where my mother was. The room was damp with the moisture and the mould growing inside the wallpaper and on the ceiling. It had a unique scent that could drive you nauseous if you hadn't gotten used to it. I had. We had. We had been living there since I was born. Although we weren't really affected much from it, others were. It was a bit sad and was one of the reasons why I didn't have many friends. It drove people away, like an angry dog in the garden, but worse. I once brought my friends home for the first time. They were ones of the best and closest friends I ever had. Alas, as you could predict, they didn't quite like my house. In the next day, I realised that the best friends of mine were no more. They were afraid to hang out with me, afraid to be friends with a girl in a stinky house. Our lives spilt since then, and we had never spoken to one another again. I used to ask my mum whether we could move to a new home, where it was airier and had no repellent miasma. Having had to work for 2 jobs to make ends meet, she answered what I deeply expected: 'Darling, I know it would be great if we have a new home, and I really want you to live in a better atmosphere, but I'm afraid we couldn't afford it.'
On the outdated telly, shown the breaking news. It was frequent lately, once every month.
'... the storm will cover all area of Potenus. It is classified as a level-6 Hurricane, biggest that we've ever faced. It is possible that all the electricity, communication, and water will be unavailable. We require all citizens to stay in the building, keep away from the windows, brace the doors, and stay tuned for further reports of the situation. May you be safe, and may God bles—' Suddenly, the signal was cut off. Stunned, I stared at it for a couple of seconds.
"Come on, sweetheart, pack your things. We will get in the bunker. I'll go seal the door. Athena, could you please grab the bag we packed and help her?" said my mother. She was a great leader in the time like this, always knew what to do. My mum rushed into the kitchen in which we kept our emergency bag. It contains food and important equipment. "Darling, you go get your things. I'll go after you," said my mum.
Confused, I slowly climbed up the stair. The wall beside me trembled by the might of the hurricane. It made me think of the last hurricane. Although it hadn't been this strong, it terrified me. I still remembered it. The helplessness of ours. The overwhelmingness of it. It was like we were a colony of ants whose anthill was devastated by a shower from a garden hose. No matter where you ran, you couldn't escape the relatively gigantic drops of water. Every drop felt like a meteor of liquid within death lurked. One ant who was submerged by the fallen fluid might utter their last wish to their comrade: 'Go safe the eggs hence! Leave me behind thee!'. After that, they might be suffocated from the thickness of the droplet which prevented air from penetrating. Then their tiny little life got transferred to the unknown place after death. Unknown of their existence and their deadly vulnerability, the bearer of the hose continued watering the plants around the anthill. Maybe it was just like that. Maybe the mother nature just wanted to water the earth. Maybe the destruction from the hurricane was just a side effect of such an ordinary task. Maybe our death was just... insignificant collateral damage.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
"Lilith, what are you doing here. Are you feeling ok?" said my mum. I shook off the nonsense in my head and replied: "I'm ok, mum. Something just popped up in my head. Nothing important. I'll go get my things." Then I rushed into my room. As soon as I reach my room, I grabbed Urzula's cage. She was my hamster, my only friend. As little as she seems to be, it was quite a miracle that she survived 4 hurricanes.
"Mum, could you please bring her down there? I need to pick up some school homework. I don't want it to get soaked, just in case," I asked my mum. She agreed and head downstairs.
While I was quickly shoving the books in my old bag, a loud crash and a thud blasted from the ground floor amidst the deafening sound of the wind. Followed it, a scream hollered from the same place. 'That's mum's,' I thought. I picked up the bag and dashed down the stair, almost breaking my own neck. The scene before petrified me. The living room's window was broken by the invasion of a steel road sign. On the floor, a brown carpet was replaced by a vast incarnadine lake of glass and blood. Of all seas on the floor, only a river fueled them with ever-flowing ichor. Hesitantly, my eyes traced the burgundy river to its origin.
No one could escape the droplets.