And another one! Another of those short stories that everyone who visits this blog seems to love reading, and that I love writing. I daresay this one is rough around the edges, but it was the best I could do without copying from my own stories. And a hearty thanks to the Random First Line Generator for providing me the starting point of this story. Find it at http://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php.
The Livingstone Estate
In the Livingstone estate, flies were a sign of a death, and this morning there were a lot of them. They swarmed around the windows, and eventually found their way down to the body where it lay, cold and unmoving. The residents weren’t surprised in the least. Deaths were common, as disease was rampant. The estate was not so much of what it sounded, but rather more of a collection of run-down rooms in a mansion that had outlived its glory.
Most of 2090 London was like this. Houses, buildings, offices, even Underground stations inhabited to the limit. The city was a mess of people in the street, or pretty much anywhere with flat ground to sleep on. Overpopulation had reached its limit. Birth and death rates were nearly equal now. No-one bothered with hospitals. Antibiotics had been outdated long ago. A small bout of cold had the potential to spell death for thousands, yet the remaining population would give birth to thousands more. No hope remained for this city, no chance of restoring it to its former grandiose.
Decades of neglecting the looming threat that global warming and other significant environmental issues posed had reduced the world to a global graveyard. The common when-will-the-living-outnumber-the-dead paradox was no more one, being more of a universal fact. All nuclear weapons had been spontaneously destroyed by –what remained of– each government in accordance with a treaty. No-one was willing to risk the lives of literally millions of people that could live in the smallest percentage of the world’s surface area. Population even affected the distribution of money, with no more dollar millionaires. Printing more notes was more than each country’s capacity as they had not the necessary gold.
A global catastrophe was imminent and more likely than not it would be not because of war, or strife, or drought, or flood, but by epidemics, viruses that could spread faster than wildfire and deal more than ten times the damage. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. No one had a good life. The Earth was the only planet ever to hold or have held life in the known universe. Wouldn’t it be better if that title remained? Free from the oppression and danger known as humanity, life could thrive again. The few species that had not been hunted extinct for money or food could still have a chance of surviving. The only reminder of the humans that would have one inhabited the planet would be the tons of plastic they left behind. Yet even that could be overcome in a relatively short amount of time, geologically speaking.
And even if visible life died out, it would be nearly impossible to wipe out the billions of microbial organisms that inhabited the tiniest granule of dirt and would thrive on the inevitable billions upon billions of bodies that would cover the Earth. Life just can’t be wiped out. It just has to, and will, survive.