The streets were deathly quiet as people fearfully hid in their homes. The prolonged cold snap kept them huddled under blankets as power stations struggled to warm homes. The city did not know how to cope with the snow and had rigged makeshift ploughs to clear the empty streets. Another onslaught of precipitation was forecast and the government was gearing up for the predicted chaos that would ensue. Warning signs of Earth’s response to the misuse of its natural resources had been evident, but ignored. The Earth chose to re-balance itself with another Ice Age. It was finally beginning.
Katie wanted to show her support but hesitated to step into the church to watch her sister marry a man she loathed. From the beginning, he’d aimed to win Amelia – like a prize at a fair. Now papa depended on him. And mama? His charming ways had pleased her and words spoken against him brought down her wrath. Katie feared for her wraith-like sister whose shining light had already begun to flicker and would certainly dim under his possession. She forced herself to enter the building. She needed to be there when Brandon grew bored and discarded her loved ones.
Leaving the marked trail 6 hours ago had shown our adventurous spirit, our need to disregard the rules. Our confidence had carried us past a flowing river and an interesting animal hideout; our energy had encouraged us to walk further than we had first intended. When our last snack was eaten, we were reminded that it was time to return to the campsite. We walked in ever-widening circles, our fatigue pointing blame, our desire for the comfort of familiarity strong. Seeing the streetlight through the screen of our exhaustion cheered us. Soon we would welcome the relief of rules and restrictions.
The nylon thread stretched over the area, creating a tense barrier between the women working the machines and the affluent owners. Sandra reflected bitterly that their fight had been for nothing; that lack of food and heating had forced them back to the floor. How she wished she had the power to take away the Hadley’s privilege and wealth. They would not survive a week in the crumbling tenements the tireless workers were housed in on the estate! Glancing over at Edna, she nodded her agreement to the latest plan. It was foolhardy, but she had nothing left to lose.
The lights of the Ferris wheel reminded her of happier times: laughter, companionship, love. The echoes of the past stifled her and she wished for the strength to end her life. Hugging her wasted body, she turned away from human contact and shuffled towards the empty shell of her home. She had to find a way to lift herself out of this depression and the constant thoughts of her loss. Her husband had been her anchor and without him she felt adrift. What she needed was a reason to live, to get up everyday. What she needed was a child.
The Change had begun in developing countries. Vast patches in Africa, Asia, and South America had been enveloped by a throbbing mass that covered city buildings, slums, and patchwork homes. The last to be engulfed in the southern hemisphere had been the palatial residences in which lived the corrupt and the wealthy. The Western world had been confident and smug in their belief they would remain unaffected. But Humanity was not safe. The growth began in the outskirts of London. Unnoticed for the moment, the mass sensed the hatred and despair within the brick walls. It had work to do.
It felt like they were at the end of the world. The end of their world. No longer were they the mega-stars of their homegrown company. Instead, they had been publicly disgraced, thrown out to the media wolves. They had escaped to this lonely, desolate place to regroup and plan a new path. If only they could use their downfall to their benefit. Slowly a plan formed in which they rose like a phoenix from the ashes. The added benefit? Revenge on the one who had betrayed them with no conscience. Their comeback would be sweeter with his ruin.
The abandoned car was a haven to the young twins: a place to escape the yelling, the unpredictably of drunken parents, the fear. Within the unused vehicle, they could whisper their dreams, their hopes. They would huddle together on the back seat, hoping to remain unseen and unnoticed.
However, their hopes were futile.
Their mother’s screams echoed in the forest when she discovered their burnt bodies. She had been in a drunken haze when their father had set the abandoned car on fire and had not protected her children. She never touched alcohol again.
Sam had been reading the notes in the gratitude jar again. Not a good sign. Ellie prepared herself for an exhausting evening of listening to him continuously criticise people and bemoan his situation in life. By nature she was a positive person with a continuous smile on her face; but her smile was beginning to feel forced. She found herself snapping at her co-workers constantly. Her mother had expressed concern for her changing behaviours and, a year later, Ellie was beginning to accept the toxicity of her relationship with Sam. It was time to make a change.
Stepping into the room, Fran looked across the room filled with the buzz of her colleagues. She did not appreciate the exaggerated introduction by Coburn as she knew he did not support her success. She had worked hard at this project and had taken a great leap of faith with the direction she had taken the company. Yes, she was good at what she did – but then so were many others. What separated her from the pack was her willingness to take risks, even at personal cost. It was these risks that had led to the jealousy she felt emanating from the room.
“Thank you Coburn.
Afternoon everyone. I will now detail the next step in the process to reverse the deterioration of the planet’s energy forms.”