For a moment, the still lake looks deceptively beautiful. I focus in on my reflection; it’s very rare I see myself. A two-headed fish breaks the surface suddenly distorting my observation. I sigh and wonder if I could eat that. My stomach grumbles. I see my frown and hollow eyes in the rippling water.
I hear the bird-like call of the hunting party leader signaling us to reassemble. I wish I had more to show for my day’s efforts.
We gather our kills into the wagon and return to camp. We are still low on food. There are so few things we can safely eat.
I wash myself in the collected rainwater reserve. The natural water sources are sick and may cause death, though I am not sure that what falls from the sky is any better. I boil some to drink and think of my departed family.
Before he went on to the great sky kingdom, my father told me stories passed on to him of fantastic structures, safe water, and food, and transportation machines to reach vast distances in short times. It is all fantasy to me.
Reality is here in front of me. The bleak sky reflects my mood, defeated.
I don’t think much of a future. I stopped wondering about the past. I mostly feel betrayed by my ancestors for destroying the world they left to me. I see the lost potential in what surrounds me but find it hard to imagine making much of it in the short span of life this wasteland now affords us. My present is the future, so few before me cared to consider. They abandoned me long before I was born.
I think this planet will heal itself in time but only after the human parasite has long been gone.
– Written for the May contest at ZeroFlash. Concept prompt was ‘Abandoned Futures,’ along with photo prompt. WC 300