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Posts tagged “climate change

Flash Fiction Friday: Decomposing Isn’t Easy

by: Ben Fitts

Mike spotted the water cube first, which meant that it was his to jump in.

The water cube slithered across the desert towards us where we waited in nothing but our swim trunks, the hot sand stinging the bottoms of our feet. It looked like a big block of fresh marble not yet chiseled away to reveal the masterpiece hidden inside, except it was transparent with schools of fish swimming around and seaweed growing out of its bottom.

As the water cube drew near, Mike charged and dove into it, sending ripples around the spot in its side where he entered. Water cubes might look solid, with their sharp corners and right angles, but don’t let that fool you. They’re nothing but water, scattered remnants of the ocean that used to be here.

Mike swam around inside the water cube, disturbing some fish, then swam out the other end when he ran out breath. He landed on the ground with a thud, sand clinging to his wet body.

We watched as the water cube glided past us and off into the distance, marking its path with a moist trail like a slug.

“Next one is all you, dude,” said Mike.

When the next water cube sailed into view, I held my breath and ran straight into it. The cool water enveloped my body and I swam up towards the top of the cube, passing a squid. Mike liked to thrash around in the heart of the cube until he ran out of breath then dash out the other side, but I liked to float to the top and hang out up there, looking down at the cube and ecosystem inside as it crept through the desert.

I rose to the top and to my surprise saw there was a boat up there that I had somehow not noticed. It was a rowboat, small and crumbling and ancient.

I swam over and hoisted myself up. Once aboard, I saw that there was a woman in the boat as well, presumably the person who had once done the rowing. She was very dead, of course. Her skeletal fingers clasped the oars and empty eye sockets poked out from gray, rotting flesh.

“Hey kid, what are you doing on my boat?” demanded the dead woman.

Embarrassed, I stammered some nonsense.

“You better have a good reason for bothering me, kid. You’ve interrupted me while I was busy decomposing. Decomposing isn’t easy work, you know.”

“I’m very sorry, ma’am,” I pled and hastily dove off her boat, back into the water cube.

I dove with a bit too much force, and the coral-infested floor of the cube raced towards my vision. I pierced through it, breaking through the bottom of the world.

I fell out the other side, as one does in these situations, plummeting from the top of the sky. I was lucky enough to land on a cloud, its velutinous surface breaking my fall.

I peered over the side of the cloud and saw Mike on the ground, tiny and confusedly searching for me.

“Hey Mike, I’m up here!” I called down.

He looked up at me. “Dude, did you fall through the bottom of the world again?”

“Yeah.”

“You’ve really gotta try to stop doing that.”

“I know,” I admitted.

I felt the cloud growing warm around my feet and gasped as I saw dull red embers swelling on its surface.

“Mike, you have to get away!” I screamed. “I think this is a storm cloud!”

“Oh, shit!” he shouted and began to run, but it was too late. The storm cloud began to rain.

Drops of sizzling magma poured from the cloud, blistering and scorching Mike’s tan skin.

He ran around for a little bit, howling in pain as he burned, but then collapsed onto the ground and didn’t get back up.

I waited until the storm cloud cooled down and stopped raining fire, then I tore off a little chunk of the cloud in my hands and lept off its side.

Gravity wanted me to plummet to Earth, but the celestial nature of the nugget of cloud I held wanted to remain floating in the sky, so the forces worked against each other to create a mild, gentle descent back to the ground. That’s the same way I got down the last time this happened.

I scooped up big handfuls of the desert sand and piled them off to side.

“Hey, what are you doing?” asked Mike from the ground beside me. His flesh was seared red and swollen in the spots where it hadn’t been burned clean off to reveal the naked bone beneath.

“I’m digging you a grave because you’re dead.”

“Oh, thanks. That’s real nice of you.”

I nodded and continued to dig Mike’s grave in the sand.

I was careful not to dig too deep because the last thing I needed was to fall through the bottom of the world again.

When the grave was just the right depth, I rolled Mike’s corpse into it. He stared back up at me with dead, glassy eyes.

“Thanks, Stan. You know, you’ve always been a really good bro to me. Being buried will really help me focus on all the decomposing I have to do now.”

I held back tears as I poured the sand back over my friend and filled in his grave.

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Ben Fitts is a writer, musician and zinester from New York. He is the author of over twenty published short stories, and his work has been featured in Weird Mask, Futuristic Fiction, Horror Trash Sleaze and other publications. He is the creator of the zines The Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine, A Beginner’s Guide To Bizarro Fiction and Choose Your Own Death. See more of his work at: https://doomgoat666.wixsite.com/benfitts

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Bushland

by: Avichai Brautigam

We mined the planet dead. Not in the sense that we burrowed, like dwarves, carving Morias and Morias into the crust till it all came apart; it was Bitcoin that did us in. Somewhere, in the moldy basement of some half-forgotten Department of the Bureau of the Ministry of the So On, someone received a report about energy usage, marked up in red ink–absolutely bloodied by red ink–that said, more or less, that the total amount of energy spent mining Bitcoin was equal to the yearly energy usage of the country of Denmark. No one must have thought anything of it, for no one since Shakespeare has thought anything of Denmark. In some corner of an unprinted advertisement in a forgotten sheet of the Times, a breathless junior reporter and/or unpaid intern set to writing the story up, trying to fit it into the three lines given to him so graciously by Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. No one read it, and it didn’t even make the news.

The next year, our basement schlub of So On got another report, this one dripping red ink onto the floor like globules of blood in the aftermath of a murder. It said, more or less, that the total energy expended on Bitcoin mining was now equal to the yearly energy usage of the US. Now that made the news! People actually think about the US–albeit rarely in a kind way–and they knew that the US used a metric shit-ton of energy, even if the US couldn’t measure shit-tons metrically. In the panic, some brave Pulitzer Prize winning journalist broke the story, like a modern day Woodward and Bernstein (the intern from the year before had gotten the boot from the Times and de Sales both). For this he was awarded the Nobel for Literature, since they give that out to anyone nowadays, even folk singers.

It was apparent to everyone that this state of affairs couldn’t last, but some meeting must have been held at the highest levels, possibly involving Elder Gods, and it was decided that this state of affairs could, in fact, last. There was money in it, and the price of Bitcoin could more than keep pace with the build-up of greenhouse gases. There was a positive correlation, and Americans adore positivity and affirmation, so we affirmed that the earth would henceforth be a sauna and everyone set to mining.

As the Warm-Up (that was the new, approved, and improved name for it) sauntered on, the outside world got unbearable. Underground, massive supercomputers chugged violently on, solving inhuman equations, and belching fumes. In the sealed glass domes of Wall Street, value accumulated like the rancorous ghost of Marx; in the brick-paved towns of Bumfuck, melting slowly away in the heat, preachers took to every corner, braving the fires of earth to warn of the fires of Hell. No one needed to do any imaginative work as Jonathan Edwards was dug out of the sealed vaults of Calvinist heritage and spewed to new crowds of the predestined.

In between the rutting of CO2 and methane, going at it like barnyard pigs, multiplying on and ever on, shutters were heard the world over. All of civilization (and America too) was being rocked by violent quakes. The scientists, done up in their lab coats and sweating cannonballs, stood in front of the cameras to warn that overuse of the supercomputers was causing the earth to rupture. Being good, sensible defenders of the status quo, they simply asked that the ceaseless mining be limited by 30%; to ask anything more would have been utopian. No one paid any attention, and the only people that paid were already mining Bitcoin, so the computers chugged on.

In any case, they were wrong about the causes of the quakes, as we later learned when an army of Kate Bushs–all completely identical and fresh off their 1979 performance of “James and the Cold Gun” in London–poured out of every cave, crag, valley, and depth to march on the cities of man. Mother Earth had dispelled, from all orifices in her pained crust, an unstoppable horde. Soon, we were getting reports by the day of cities lying in ruins, supercomputers flaming in the evening light, pale armies of identically-costumed Art Rock superstars, rivers of blood flowing in vast streams through suburban streets–the works.

London down.

Paris down.

DC down.

Now I wait, on the porch of my little ranch house in Central PA, gun in hand, boyfriend by my side, and the wan buzz of a bug-zapper above us. I wait for the army of Rock goddesses, bearing rifles and intoning lines from Joyce, to enter my swamp of a suburb. In no way do I believe that this rifle will do me any good; I simply wish to be able to die with dignity alongside my boyfriend. For a long time, the night is as silent as that one in Bethlehem millenia ago. Then I hear them.

Running up that hill.

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Avichai Brautigam is a philosophy major and a local of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his free time he writes fiction and talks Marx with friends. You can find him on Twitter and WordPress.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.