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The Dystopia We All Deserve

photo by: unsplash-logoDmitry Ratushny

I remember a time when the gas masks weren't necessary. Back then, we could traverse the world without so much as a second thought for the air we were breathing, the fear of airborne toxins and thin atmosphere not even the tiniest of blips on our radar. It had all been so simple: wake up, go to school or work, go home, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Back when I was young, the overwhelming terror that held the world captive had been global warming: holes in the ozone layer caused by cans of hairspray and melting ice caps were going to kill us all. There had also been the looming possibility of nuclear war, but most of us preferred to shove that inevitability as far under the rug as we could.

Never once did any of us suspect what actually would transpire. Well, most of us didn't have a clue anyway.

The morning had started unremarkably. I was riding my bike to school when an entire fleet of chinooks flew overhead, their thunderous din boxing my ears with their proximity. I had never seen them so close overhead. Covering my head, I hunched over, bringing my bike to a halt as I waited for them to pass. As the sound lessened, I followed the chinook's flight path further westward toward the horizon, except there in the distance was a sight I had never seen before. A dark, hulking mass of... something. Was it metal? It glinted in the morning sun as metal should, but there was a translucent sheen to it that belied its specific make. Its size was indeterminable because of the distance, but I quickly realized that it wasn't the only one visible on the horizon. Multiple pocked my line of sight, some of them melting into the skyline of my city, others jutting outward and upward like monoliths demanding respect and reverence.

My personal comm unit suddenly began vibrating around my wrist with an intensity that rivaled only the most emergent of alerts. Something amazing was happening. Or really bad. That was yet to be determined. Unfortunately, the alert failed to clear up any of my confusion.

"Seek shelter immediately," it read, the text scrawling across the miniature screen. "there is an ongoing, worldwide situation developing, and it is recommended that everyone stay indoors."

The question at this point was whether or not I needed to turn around. I had reached a point where I was approximately halfway to school, and continuing forward or turning back would yield the same results timewise. Seeing an opportunity for skipping class with a legitimate reason, I flipped my bike around and headed home. Didn't have to tell me twice. Perhaps my opinion would have changed if I knew that my school - school as a general practice, really - would cease to exist from that moment forward.

Soon after I got home, the alerts on my comm unit stopped. I turned on the television, but all the channels were blank, playing various iterations of white noise or color bars. No news, no cartoons, no absurdly gory or overly sexualized dramas. My parents weren't home as they had left early in the morning for work, so I was alone. In that moment, the thought that the night before was the last time I would see them never crossed my mind.

Hours passed. Phones weren't working, the internet was down, and it seemed as if all communication had come to a complete halt.

Ahem. So. Sidenote here. It's at this point that my brain completely gave out for the evening, and I couldn't even force myself to write 200 more words. Day 2, and we're already struggling. This bodes well, doesn't it?

That being said, I started this exercise with the final sentence in mind, so I'm going to shre it with you now.

You never get the dystopia you expect, but we sure as hell all got the dystopia we deserved.

Using the above excerpt, how would you have navigated from where I left off to this last sentence? I had a point (I'm sure it had something to do with our addiction to the internet resulting in a complete lack of social, face-to-face ability, but who knows really?), but it has since long evaporated out of the expanse between my ears. 

Feel free to take it and run with it. If you do, post in the comments below! I'd love to see what you all come up with!



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