It has been ten years since we all made the choice to flee the flooded and burned-up world of climate chaos. Those that were lucky enough to survive used their technological know-how to build a floating existence called Phodeales in the Arctic Ocean. Here the energy is renewable and everywhere you look is a marvel of design. Yet everything remains aimless.

Kartah was appointed by the people to run this place. Some view her as a messiah of sorts. And others, well they see her as the destroyer of freedoms and choices.  I’m not sure what to think of her just yet…all I know is that I can breathe, and for that I’m thankful.

In the city’s square you will find an underwater dome, our largest underwater habitat—you’ll notice both jellyfish and schools of pink snailfish here. Snailfish are the deepest of dwelling fish. They’re small, pink and completely scaleless. You can even see their livers.

I momentarily lost my mind in nostalgia that day. Earth once had aquariums. Years ago it was a place where brightly colored deep-water rockfish would be hovering near the crevices. But these days no more natural filtered light comes from above. Artificial light is now the only thing left, it’s the only thing to cut through the dark.

A fight broke out. Shortly after, the two teenagers dispersed, quickly leaving behind a trail of scourings.

Kartah suddenly approached me out of thin air. And in a monotone voice she said, “The ‘destroyers’ will be the ruination of this existence.”

Confused, I remained quiet.

She asserted, “Technology can only carry us so far because the people who left the world behind refuse to play well with others. How long do you think we have until Phodeales crumbles too?”

Kartah pointed to the dome. There, several bloated snailfish could be seen floating to the surface. They had been caught in some litter. She was right, the poison was indeed humankind. We’ve destroyed something once more. But what can I do as an individual if the collective cares not?

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    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    It’s tearful to read your story, Melissa. Kartah is right. What can an individual do alone if the majority does not care? So we need to wake up the masses and educate them on the truth and consequences of our neglect and continued destruction of nature. Your story brings a nice message to me, Melissa. Hopefully, it will convey to the masses. And thanks a lot for adding a new word to… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Melissa Taggart
    2 years ago

    Thank you for the appreciation, Melissa. It is really embarrassing. Others do not even think about what may be the lives of future generations because of their neglect.

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

    This rather dystopian story is quite a shift from the optimism of most entries. It seems like your heroine had little choice but to join the floating city, and the dysfunctional nature of the place and its denizens doesn’t leave room for much optimism. But if one looks around at his fellow citizens, many don’t give much reason for hope. Clamant was a new word for me – had to look that… Read more »

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