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The world got worse, until it didn't.

THE DESOLATION

 

© 2022 by Jim Shipp

 

The coronavirus pandemic lasted for decades, with each subsequent variant becoming increasingly virulent and more resistant to treatment. In the end, there was nothing to do, but to let it run its course and pray for the best possible outcome.

Along the way, the planet’s climate continued to worsen dramatically. Storms intensified at first, accompanied by destructive flooding, then gave way to scorching siroccos as moisture became less and less plentiful. The global volcano system exploded, spewing hot lava and ash into the atmosphere. Several powerful solar flares struck the Earth, easily penetrating its depleted ozone layer and adding to the general mayhem. The world’s forests and even its cities became tinderboxes. Some of the fires burned for years.

Production ground to a halt. Processed food became scarce, then nonexistent. Uncontaminated water became harder and harder to find. People literally fought to the death for every edible scrap of sustenance and every drinkable drop of liquid. There was no fuel for heating during the bleak, bitter winters. Rusting, inoperable vehicles lined the streets and fields everywhere.

The Great Dying occurred between the years 2040 and 2043. Half of the planet’s population perished as a result of infirmity, starvation, dehydration, exposure to the elements, murder, and suicide. Mountains of rotting corpses spread countless diseases that took another half of those who survived.

It wasn’t until 2050 that a protracted lack of human activity finally allowed the Earth to begin to heal.

And it was then that mankind – or what was left of it – learned to live together and to work for the good of the whole.


Submitted: July 30, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Jim Shipp. All rights reserved.

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