This is a short story about how our lives (or the lives of our children’s children) could be on planet earth in the future. It’s quite a scary thought. If you enjoyed it please give it a like, maybe I’ll write a follow up about what happened after the phone call.
The sound of the basement door shutting closed is an indication that school is over.
“Hi honey, did you have a good day at school?”
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
Mia looks at her mum with her lip quivering. Claire picks her up and sits her down on her lap.
“Do you want to tell mummy about it?”
“Sure… well it all started when the bell rang for recess. We went to the quarantine building opposite the park where you and dad told me you used to play at when you were my age. They were handing out the packaged food, I got lucky this time and got powdered soup, Emma next to me got beef and gravy, she gets really bad headaches from those. Emma was crying because she wanted something that would make her feel good but teacher told her that’s all we have. Then … I don’t know if I can tell you this mummy”
“It’s okay sweetheart, you can tell mummy anything remember?”
“Mummy, why are we not allowed outside on the playground? Why do I have to stay indoors all the time”?
It’s not the first time Claire has seen the sadness in her daughters eyes and it will definitely not be the last. Honesty is the best policy she reminds herself.
“Sweetheart, daddy and I explained this to you before, when we were growing up, things were different than what they are now, we could go outside because the earth was still healthy…”
Mia cuts her off…
“Then why did you allow for bad people to make the earth sick mummy?” she asks, tears rolling down her rosy cheeks.
For that Claire didn’t have an answer.
“It’s not fair mummy, I am almost eight years old and have never felt the wind play through my hair or the warmth of real sunshine. When will I feel those things and be a normal child mummy”?
Claire swallowed hard trying to keep the tears from falling. All she wants is the best for her children. This life they are living, this is not the best.
“Honey, I’m sure there’s people working very hard right at this second to make the earth a safe and healthy place for all of us to live in again. Right now we are not able to but someday we will, of that I’m almost positive”.
Mia stares at the coloring book and crayons on the table in front of them.
“Do you want to tell mummy what happened at school today”?
The basement door shuts again.
“Hi, lovely ladies!” Mike greets and gives them each a kiss on their forehead.
“How was school today Mia mouse”?
Claire shoots him a look and he sits down on the sofa next to them knowing that this is an important conversation being shared, one he needs to be apart of.
“Mia was just about to tell us what happened at school” she says and her eyes drift over to Mike.
“Mike, why are you so dirty and full of mud?”
“The west side tunnel fell in we had to fix it before anyone got seriously injured and inhaled the toxins from above.”
Panic clearly visible in Claire’s eyes.
“Everyone is fine” Mike whispers and places his dirty hand on Mia’s shoulder.
“Come on love, tell us what happened”.
“As I was saying, we were in the quarantine hall where we eat all of our packaged meals, and Emma was crying because she didn’t get what she wanted so I offered to take the beef and she can have my powdered soup but that’s when Lucas pulled something out of his backpack that looked like a round, green ball.”
“A round green ball”? Mike asked confused
“Yes daddy, a round green ball. I asked him what it was and he shrugged and took a bite out of it. We were kind of waiting for him to die because you all know you can’t eat round green balls but he didn’t. He didn’t die daddy” Mia yells excitedly.
“And what did you do with the green ball after Lucas took a bite of it”? Claire asks, curiously.
“Mummy it was wonderful, Lucas shared and we each got to take a bite, it was the sweetest most delicious thing I have ever tasted, and it wasn’t in powder form I don’t know what it was it was great it was fresh and the juice went drip drip dripping down the sides of my mouth. Mummy do you think you can get us some round green balls from the quarantine market on Saturday?
Claire and Mike stare at each other words failing them. If what Mia is telling them is true, this is a major breakthrough. This means someone is able to grow produce. Something they haven’t been able to do for nearly 49 years.
Mike jumps up and grabs a crayon and a piece of paper.
“Mia, daddy wants you to look at this picture I’m about to draw, tell me if this is what the round green ball looked like okay?”
Mike starts drawing an apple and excitement overwhelms Mia.
“That’s it daddy that’s it!” she exclaims jumping up and down.
Mike looks up at Claire, tears streaming down both of their faces.
“Someone did it Mike! Someone did it!” Claire yells, still crying.
“Claire do you know what this means for us, we need to celebrate, no more quarantine, no more powdered food, no more living underground and in tunnels. Our life is about to change.”
Claire grabs the phone from her purse and starts dialing a number.
“What are you doing”? Mike asks, some panic in his voice, as if his wife is about to sell them out.
“I’m calling Lucas’s mother, we need to stick together in a time like this” she says and puts the phone up to her ear.