Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and thirty-second piece in this series. This week’s is a 420-worder by Christopher Farley. This story will be podcasted in episode 40 (with two other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 25th May.
Where There Is Hope There Is Hunger
The bees were the first noticeable difference. Within just a few years there weren’t any. The pollen must have been modified in the same way the plants had been. The honey stocks fell quicker than a suicidal stockbroker after a Wall Street crash. They told us to be patient and that they would replenish the honey from laboratory stock, which they did. I don’t know what the hell it was made from but it was soft, runny and sweet, so I guess some people were happy. However, honey wasn’t the biggest problem; after all, we had sugar if we had the money to buy it. I didn’t. I just lost my sweet tooth.
At the same time, plant species started dying, and dying quicker than post-meteorite dinosaurs at that. I guess it must have been impossible to cross-pollenate something out of the test-tube, the bees must have thought so anyway. Why the government eggheads couldn’t think of it, I’ll never know; after all, it seems obvious now, doesn’t it?
However, unless you’re a vegetarian, the food-chain doesn’t stop with wheat and honey flowers. Animals in the food chain, all reliant on one another, just started disappearing, leaving only scavengers – rats and the like, to sift through the remains, and there were plenty of those.
So three years ago, I took to the mountains, where I managed to get by, living off the fruits of the forest, trapping what I could and making flour from chestnuts which helped me through the winter. It’s strange; I relocated to the mountains to try to eke out an existence while the bears and wolves moved down into the towns, looking for easy pickings, which made it perfect, for a short while anyway.
It’s now October. I haven’t even seen a squirrel, let alone eaten one, for at least four months and my stomach feels as if it’s touching my backbone. At least the water in the rivers is clean and I drink plenty of it. Wait! Water. The ocean. There have to be fish in the ocean. My stomach cramps and rumbles, and I feel a new spirit of survival running through me. Taking a swig of water, I look up at the early sprinkling of snow on the peaks far above me and doubt gnaws at me like I gnaw tree bark; this year there is little fruit and the chestnut trees are barren. Crossing this mountain range in winter would be hard at any time. It’ll be worse with no food.
I asked Chris what prompted this piece and he said… Read the rest of this entry »