Flash Fiction: Return to Eden – An Environmentally Friendly Apocalyptic Story
Little did Gregory Hogan know that the act of tossing a cigarette butt into the crystal waters of Nightingale Falls would bring forth the destruction of the human race. Mother Nature was pissed and in return she decided to deliver an eco-friendly apocalypse that would end the era of mankind.
First came the plague of insects, drawn to the heavy scent of perfume released by the flowers. Locusts, bees, and flies crashed down upon humanity like waves of a tsunami — tiny suicidal zealots that filled the lungs and throats of men, drowning them in their diminutive sacrificed carcasses.
Next came the mammoth root tendrils that burst through the cracks in the ground, coiling around buildings and skyscrapers like boa constrictors, choking the life out of the concrete giants.
Finally toxic spores were released into the atmosphere, poisoning any remaining survivors — a nerve gas cooked by Mother Nature herself.
Gregory always thought it would be the cancer that ended up killing him, instead of the massive thorns which tore him open him like razor wire.
Sebastian was perfectly content on dying inside that bubble of his. He had spent almost twenty-four hours crying after watching his mother collapse on the floor in front of him, her hands pressed against the plastic barrier, tears in her eyes as she struggled for breath.
Her dying words were, “I can’t take care of you any longer.”
Sebastian sat there for a whole day, staring at his mother’s body.
That was until the enchanting voice of a woman whispered his name, awakening him from his comatose depression.
“Did you hear that?” Sebastian asked.
Jed nodded. “We should check it out.”
“But what about the infections?” Sebastian had a sever case of aplastic anemia where even a common cold could kill him.
“You’ll die in here anyways without food or water,” Jed said. “You deserve to live the last few hours of your life free of this plastic dungeon.”
Sebastian agreed. Even though Jed was a figment of his imagination — the offspring of his loneliness and addiction to western movies — Sebastian held him in highest regard. Jed was the only friend he had; one that wouldn’t end up killing him with germs.
So it was with great curiosity and trepidation that Sebastian unzipped the entrance to his bubble, stepped out and took a breath of natural air.
It smelled awful, the culprit being the corpse of his dead mother. He wanted to cry for her again, but Jed rested a hand on Sebastian’s shoulder.
“Be strong,” Jed said. “Remember, cowboys don’t cry.”
Sebastian nodded and followed Jed down the stairs towards the entranceway.
“Ready?” Jed asked. Sebastian was reluctant at first, but finally agreed.
He was a cowboy and cowboys weren’t afraid. He grasped the knob and pulled open the door.
Imagine wearing hazy plastic lenses for thirteen years of your life. Now imagine removing those lenses and witnessing the world for the first time with unfiltered clarity. And finally imagine that the world reborn into a glorious, green and natural wonderland.
Bright lustrous sunlight filled the insides of the gloomy house and Sebastian felt alive for the first time in his life. Outside, trees stretched into the clouds, taller than any skyscraper. The ground was covered in a soft, emerald carpet and leaves and flower petals trickled down from the azure sky like coloured snowflakes.
Sebastian breathed and was invigorated by the cleanliness of the air. It was how he imagined mountains would smell like.
He heard the voice call out to him again. “This way Sebastian.”
They allowed the voice to guide them through the city of green. Finally they stopped in front of an old, open railway tunnel completely enveloped in foliage.
“You going in?” Jed asked. Sebastian nodded.
“What if I think it’s a bad idea,” Jed said.
“I’m still going in.”
Jed nodded. “My little man is growing a pair.”
Sebastian smiled. They walked inside the green tunnel for hours, stopping only once to catch their breath.
“I feel like I’m walking through Mother Nature’s vagina,” Jed said.
“You thought of it,” Jed laughed.
Eventually they reached a wooden door. Jed put a hand on Sebastian’s shoulder and said, “You know I can’t come with you.”
“I’m no longer needed,” Jed replied. “You’re on your own now, but that’s a good thing. This partnership we had was something real special.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“Don’t get sentimental on me now,” Jed said. “Cowboys aren’t the sensitive types.”
He watched Jed return down the path they came, finally disappearing into the shadows and the green like fading smoke.
Sebastian opened the wooden door. Inside, surrounded by vines and foliage, was a rosebud the size of his bedroom. Sunlight peeked through the cracks of the ceiling, illuminating the giant flower like a spotlight on a centrepiece.
“Sebastian,” the voice whispered. “A child pure of poison and cleansed by the earth.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“For years now, humanity has lived a chemical induced life. They have engineered sickness and consumed its toxic cancers,” she said. “I, Gaia, Goddess of the Earth have purged this world of anyone who has been touched by this foul poison.”
“You killed my mother.”
“An unfortunate sacrifice for the return of Eden and its purity. She was infected, like everyone else. You’re the exception Sebastian.”
“I’m diseased,” Sebastian said. “That’s why I lived in a bubble. Even a common cold can kill me.”
“Your illness was a blessing that saved you from my wrath,” Gaia said. “I made this world safe for you now, void of disease. You are the new genesis of humankind, distilled and pure.”
The rosebud began to open and resting within the crimson layers of the petals was a beautiful girl, milk-white and radiating with life.
“A partner until the end of time,” Gaia said as Sebastian stared at the girl, wonderstruck. Her beauty was so radiant that it could reduce even the meanest desperado to tears.
Thanks to Terribleminds.com and Chuck Wendig for hosting this challenge.
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