She sat rocking her baby in her arms, looking out the window at the rain, hoping that its ferocity would drown out the scream rising within her. The scream was the kind you feel when you realize that you may have made a huge, irreversible mistake. With someone else’s life. The kind of rising scream you try to shove back down to the depths of your unconscious with denial.

But denial didn’t seem to be working anymore.


It never used to rain like this. She had just watched Russia burning on the news. And Pakistan under water. A huge iceberg calve. Floods around the world. Food stocks and crops of all kinds being destroyed. Followed by the news that not only would the US not pass a climate bill, and that the latest round of international climate talks seemed to be going badly.

She rocked her baby harder and faster.

She had never worried about things like this before. If she thought about the future of the planet before, about global warming, it had always been as some abstract thing that would happen far in the future.

But now it was here, all of the things that the scientists had said were going to happen were happening, and she could no longer bring herself to believe that it was just coincidence. As people like her Republican father and neighbors were trying to believe. Denial wasn’t working anymore.

And if it was happening now, if it was really truly starting……what would it be like in 20 years? When her daughter was grown.

What kind of world had she brought her daughter into? What kind of future did her daughter have?

What had she done, bringing a child into this world.

A world that must be mad, a world where old rich men were dooming her child to a dystopian future, and where her friends neighbors and relatives were not only not rising up to stop them, but were cheering them on. A world where the profits of a few, and a twisted ideology of willful stupidity and hate were destroying the world for her child, for all of the children living now, and for all of the children yet to come.

All she could think of was that all of the people, all of the mothers, all of the fathers, all of the children must wake up, must rise up, must let the scream come out…and that perhaps the screams of all of this generation and all the unheard screams of the generations to come could, if they were loud enough, stop this nightmare….somehow.

And then she thought of all her friends and neighbors, of how they walked through life in a cocoon of diminishing comfort, shell shocked by change. Their economy destroyed, their government hijacked by madmen with no regard for the future, their world either drowning or burning, their way of life steadily fading into the background of history.

And nearly all of them just….continuing to function. Powerless, voiceless, hopeless. Clinging to the past, clinging to denial, clinging to whatever comfort they had left in their little world that once was built to insulate them from all of the troubles that the rest of the world faced. A world that now, if faced squarely, refused to comfort them.

A world that was in fact now rejecting their way of life as a host rejects a dangerous parasite.

A world that was quickly leveling the playing field. For everyone but the 1 percenters, safe behind their walls.  For now.

For the rest, the American dream was over. Her child would certainly not be better off than her, in a burning world with a choking atmosphere and acid oceans.

She dared not even think what the 7 billion humans on the planet would do to each other when the food ran out, when the water ran dry, when there was enough to eat and drink only for a third of the people on earth. She dared not think how soon that reality would manifest….as the old rich Rulers of the planet steadfastly ignored what was coming.

She was at once sad for and angry at the 7 billion people whose suffering, unbearable as it might seem now, was about to increase unimaginably. Sad for the suffering, angry at the fact that they would not do, perhaps could not do, the one thing that could save them…….Rise up and take their planet back from those who were destroying it. She was smart, she had thought it through. Those who benefited from The System would never change it. They would until the ugly beginning of the end deny that it needed changing at all. Only The People could change it, by rising as one and demanding change that benefited them. That would save them. That would save their children.

But she knew they would not rise up, at least not yet, at least not until it was too late. They were already too hungry, too confused, too scared, too uninformed as to what was really wrong, as to who was really doing this to them, to the planet.

It would soon be too late. It would soon be a different world. Before anyone really realized what was happening, how serious it was, the world would lose the capacity to make the changes necessary.

Every time she thought of the world her daughter would grow up in, that all the daughters and sons would grow up in, the scream arose anew.

She rocked her baby harder and faster, and concentrated on not screaming. It would only wake the baby, after all, and no one else would hear.


Skip to comment form

  1. Photobucket

    • Edger on August 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Take an ambien or two, go shopping, and don’t forget to clap. Wear shades. Don’t look up. He’s got this. Or some f’in thing…

  2. Thank you Buhdy

    • RiaD on August 12, 2010 at 3:22 am

    you could be speaking our girls thoughts….

    reading her mind


  3. to be old in this coming world either.  We’ve already seen in Russia what the failure of the system can mean for the average lifespan, which has plummeted.  It’s not just nostalgia that causes the old Russians to cling to the red banners and images of Lenin and Stalin.  It’s the very well-founded, actuarially demonstrated point that the failure of the Soviet Union hastened their death.

  4. I wrote a short story in which the landscape was burning, and that was all the young people knew.

    It was dismissed at the time as much too dystopian.


Comments have been disabled.