Forever now unsaid, the words that might've warmed December...

December Showers

Dying Light

A flame that burns twice as strong, lasts half as long.

I keep having the same dream every night.

I wake up in my crammed apartment several stories above the ground. Through the cover of the smog-filled city, sunlight battles its way to pierce through the clouds. Everyday it’s like this, I have yet to see what the sky really looks like. Thinking no more of it than usual, I put on my mask to get ready for the day ahead. In times of crisis, these masks were used to protect one another from a raging pandemic infecting all corners of the globe. Nowadays, the masks protect us from the toxic environment we live in now.

COUGH

When I first started coughing, I thought it was because I was getting sick. Now I realize it’s because the air is becoming increasingly inhospitable. Finally getting out my apartment, I make my way outside. The elevator has been broken for months, so I climb down 20 flights of stairs to get to the ground level. What awaits me at the bottom floor is more smog cover, blocking line of sight to anything outside of a couple of meters from where I stand. Knowingly vaguely which direction I need to head it for the public transport, I glance up at the towering edifice I call my home. Hundreds of family are jam-packed into this tight space, and less of it seems to be available as time drags on and the cost of living continues to skyrocket. I wonder how much worse this is going to get. Noticing that I’m going to be late for work, I cough once more before I head out into the mist.

RING RING RING RING RING

Whenever I head into the midst, is usually when I wake up.

Thankfully, my life is nothing like what I see in my dream. I wake up in my sprawling bed next to my lovely wife, with the sunlight poring in through the window. The sky is clear and blue, just like everyday. Gazing outside, I note my beautiful yard with its sprawling land and appreciate the beauty of my neighbors dwellings as well. Nothing is amiss in my suburban life. After taking one more deep breath of appreciation, I shower, get dressed, and make my way to work, just like I always do.

“Morning, Daemyn, how are you doing today!?”

My officemate Corlee greets my happily this morning as she sets out today’s morning brew of coffee. She is more excited than usual this morning, and I can hazard a guess as to why. Through the grapevine I learned that I am due for a promotion soon, which is well-deserved as I have been working at my company for other 15 years.

“Hey Daemyn, good morning champ, you got time for a quick meeting right now?”

Huey, my manager, waves me over as I finish chatting it up with Corlee. He’s sticking his body out of the conference room as if urgently asking me to come over, so I shrug my shoulders and comply.

POP POP POP

Mini-party poppers erupt as I enter the conference room. A stream of smiling faces greet me with the banner CONGRATS ON THE PROMO! hanging colorfully in the background. Upon my arrival, the festivities begin. After fraternizing for a bit, Daemyn motions for everyone to be silent. Adding fuel towards to fire, Corlee begans chanting Speech, Speech, Speech until everyone follows along joyfully in suite. I clear my throat, about to give the best half-hearted speech of my life, when mist suddenly pours into the room. I began coughing violently, so violently that it becomes hard to breathe. What was happening? Why was this happening to me on my special day?

I had done everything right in my life: I drove an electric car, I utilized a reusable lunch box stuffed with tupperware from homemade food. I painstakingly saved money so my kids could go to college, and had just enough leftover to go on our yearly family vacation to exotic lands as change of pace from everyday living. I volunteered with my church, and gave generously though tithing as well. I had no enemies and befriended everyone in my path. I was well-informed, and made all the safe and logical choices to guarantee a boring but easy path to retirement. These thoughts and more flooded my head as the coughing grew more painful and laborious, until the point where I could breathe no more, and I lost consciousness.


I become conscious, and feel a great weight on my head. I reach to to grab the weight, and realize just how weak and brittle my arms feel. Through a tremendous about of physical expenditure, I remove what’s on my head… and realize that there is no light where I sit. Through the slit of the door allowing light to trickle in, I realize I’m in a small and cramped room, eerily similar to what I consider to be jail cells. Observing what’s in my hands, I discern that it’s some sort of helmet. As if answering my next question, I hear a robotic voice blaring out in the distance:

“THE SIMULATION IS OVER. THE SIMULATION IS OVER. ALL POWER RESERVES HAVE BEEN DEPLETED. ALL POWER RESERVES HAVE BEEN DEPLETED. THE TEMPEST CROSSING VR PROTOCOL HAS BEEN TERMINATED. THE TEMPEST CROSSING VR PROTOCOL HAS BEEN TERMINATED. SIT STILL AND STAY CALM, FOR THE END IS NEAR. SIT STILL AND STAY CALM, FOR THE END IS NOW.”


This week’s story is based on the theme of Climate Change/Sustainability!

Questions:

  • How can we encourage changing behaviors to get people and communities to value and protect wildlife and ecosystems. Case study approach?
  • The effects of tourism on local culture: should there be limits to tourism?
  • What exactly does sustainable mean? Can some definitions of sustainable have negative consequences?


Like what we do? Then please consider donating!

TEMPEST-CROSSING/TELLER-OF-WORLDS
teller-of-worlds

Dialogue & Discussion