Where were you when 2074’s record heat wave gripped the planet? I was camped in the boreal forest. In Siberia, to be exact. I felt wilted standing in the dark beneath the towering black spruce tree. The air, thick with heat made it near impossible to breathe. As sweat pooled on my body, I listened for the birds but heard nary a thing— the woods appeared birdless for quite some time. Suddenly a raccoon, gaunt and panting, appeared from behind a mountain alder. I poured the last of my water in the crevice of a small rock and dismantled my lean-to. Siberian winters are different now… everything is.

I couldn’t muster up the energy to move along because my muscles were beginning to seize up. I wanted to cry but my tears wouldn’t come. It all weighed heavy on my shoulders after that point. I once dreamt of cruising the coast of Lisbon and dancing under the Aurora Borealis but such things as these were no longer possible.

Ice sheets have all melted.

Humanity has run out of time.

The cries of help from the government, when it had to do with climate change, have long ago been silenced. The United Nation’s most intelligent researchers had given us ten years. Ten years to find a solution, ten years to reverse the damage done to our planet. But those that tried to brace themselves were painted with the ‘fake news’ brush. And the others, they ignored such solid scientific proof— they’ve long ago perished.

The raccoon stared at me with those beady eyes. He hadn’t touched the water. It was almost as if he felt empathy for me; he had no reason to.

The heat became too much.

My eyes grew heavy.

I laid down.

Bees dying, ants walling themselves in and endless dark. We all had a choice but failed the very place that gave us life. I also had a part in the death of this planet of mine. And knowing that, I let go of life as well.

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1 year ago

A dark view into the future. The description of the earth and the main character’s despair is powerful. 

1 year ago

The little touches in this story are very moving, Melissa. The “raccoon, gaunt and panting” tells more than extensive descriptions could. We feel the little fella’s desperation and we so want him to drink. One of the protagonist’s last gestures is to share her water – we feel the beauty of the human spirit come through in spite of unbearable circumstances. This is good writing and will stay with the reader for… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Hello, Melissa. This story is very touching. I also swallowed saliva while reading, feeling the intense thirst of the protagonist and the raccoon. And I also peeked at the boreal forest on the internet, and I found out that it is also called the Taiga and has been called the largest earth biome in the world. Well done.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
1 year ago

Oh, that is indeed worrisome, Melissa.

You’re welcome.

Saim Khurshid Malik
Saim Khurshid Malik(@saim-khurshid-malik)
1 year ago

You can really feel the words in this story touch your heart. Amazing job!

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

This was such a beautiful story.Your words really touched a chord with me. Good work!

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Melissa.

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
1 year ago

Really powerful story. This is the sort of story that could have an impact on people who don’t see the need to be proactive on climate change.

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