Victor scoops the last of Selina’s spoiled breakfast into the garbage pail and offers her a protein slab. She looks at the sad attempt at recreating a hamburger with absolute disgust. “I’d rather starve,” she snaps.
The hostile posturing does not deter Victor and he takes a seat beside her. “If that were true Selina, you would have done so long ago.” He smiles warmly and breaks off a piece of the sandwich. “Here. Just a few bites then.”
While Selina works her way through the morsel, she stares dreamily across the indoor field to the window at the far end. The sun is just about to begin its upward swing. Soon the generators will switch on and the air-tight community of buildings and walkways will come alive. A canned cool artificial breeze will fill the city— the closest thing to a fresh fall morning any of its residents, except for Selina, have ever experienced.
“Remember Victor? How we used to watch the sunrise from our villa in Costa Rica?” Selina places her frail dry hand on his knee. He reaches down to hold it gently in his.
Selina drifts back in time as a daily escape which gives her spirit the mini-boost she needs to survive in the ecological prison they now call home, and her morning friend is the willing surrogate for the romance of her youth.
The truth is, Victor does not really know now much of Selina’s morning fantasy is real, but the few minutes he shares with her between the night and the break of dawn gives him a comfort that nobody of his generation has ever experienced. This habitual peaceful imaginary walk along a natural beach has become as real to him as a cherished memory would from a childhood walking hand in hand with a grandmother he never met.
Selina is humanity’s last living record of a lesson we had failed to learn…
…Temperatures were progressively rising, and a 21st concept that was formerly dismissed was attracting an audience. After a brief reprieve, hardly lasting a hundred years, global warming resumed its destructive agenda, and intelligent[ simulations from reputable institutions across the globe predicted a grim prospect for the near-term world economy. Forever seduced by the delusion of human brilliance over nature’s perfection and subjugated by the whims of an unrestrained ego, society found that the captive sparkle of its disillusioned existence had suffocated and perished. Plans to use geoengineering to reverse the damage caused by the resurgence of greenhouse emissions became the recycled trend, and in this revision, the chosen poison was stratospheric sulphate aerosol, a solution aimed at producing atmospheric particulates meant to reflect the ultraviolet spectrum, thus mimicking the effect of volcanic eruptions.
For decades the toxin lay dormant, patiently expectant. Meanwhile, the few who staked a claim to the patented technology raped the earth of its coal and profited from its ravenous consumption. The oil wars of the 21st century switched to futuristic carbon wars under the guise of freedom, sovereignty, and religion.
Centuries of burning, to manufacture immense quantities of sulphur dioxide artificially injected into the stratosphere, suddenly stopped. The fuel was spent. The arising sulphuric acid and drizzle, designed to scatter the sun’s nourishing energy and chill the atmosphere, disappeared from the straining ecological system. A brutal backlash shortly ensued that infected the planet with a debilitating fever. The formless gases, enjoying their reign for years, malevolently hovering atop the tallest peaks and destroying the ozone layer, digested the insulating blanket protecting Earth’s beauty from cosmic radiation, and many magnificent creatures vanished. Life expectancy dropped sharply for those fortunate enough to have outlasted the worst.
With the resultant slowing of thermohaline circulation, causing a further increase in oceanic dead zones, the deep recesses of the seas became toxic and cloaked with a thin green shroud, infused with whatever oxygen was available. Contaminant spewing algae indiscriminately replaced fish and marine mammals and periodically stirred from the depths, releasing lethal hydrogen sulphide bubbles to the surface and carpeting bordering shorelines with a film of golden powder. The chemical cesspool living in the air, land, and water incited a chain reaction, leading to the cataclysmic anoxic event that very nearly annihilated their great civilization.
Savage gusts of wind, encouraged by the burgeoning thermal gradients over endless expanses of territory, took siege and enlisted the noxious vapours into their fray, affording them no chance to convert to their more benign format. The gale force stream strengthened with the unseasonably cold dawn sky and syphoned in the deadly mix of ever-present sulphur dioxide and mist, to give birth to a charging front of dense fog tainted with yellow death… (pages 6-10 from Nemecene: The Epoch of Redress)
….to be continued in Not My Nightmare.