There was a change. A change everyone was expecting but refused to acknowledge. It was our fault. The Government put what they called a “great amount of money, time, effort and research”, but for some reason, they couldn’t do anything to stop it. “Reduce your plastic usage”, they said, “use energy-efficient appliances”, “reduce your waste”, “renewable energy”, “cut down on carbon emissions”. But no one listened, they just found ways around it. They brainwashed us into believing that this was a future problem and that we had time, but we didn’t. 

I am accompanied by no one in my sundown years. Lonely and isolated. My whole life, I have watched the earth turn into an unmanageable creature, slowly being devoured by the devil. A creature that ran on its own accord and didn’t care about its surroundings, only its personal desires. There were no longer any sunny, clear blue skies, which made people frolic. Only sad, foggy and blistering skies, that gave a sense of insecurity. 

My feelings, desires and actions were always ignored and put aside.

At age 20 I was told, “Isabella, stop consuming yourself with these irrelevant thoughts, that’s a mans job, You have your household affairs to worry about”.

At age 35 I was told, “Isabella there’s no need to be worried, it’ll all go away soon”. But not only 3 years later, my two adorning children were taken away and engulfed by this dreadful creature. And my husband, he too was taken away. At only thirty-eight years old I was left widowed and a vilomah. 

At age 50, “Isabella, you have a gorgeous beachfront house, you’re set for life, calm down, take a deep breath”. But that same year the creature came in and swept it away. Taking everything it could find with it. I owned a gorgeous beachfront house on the eastern coast of Sydney. The house I worked my whole life to be able to live in, taken away in just one second.

It reached a point where Living on earth was unbearable. The sweltering heat made everything so slow, there was no energy, no life, no passion. Everyone was doing the bare minimum just to survive. Air conditioners were on 24/7. People had become deafened by the noise of the turbines struggling to bring in cool air. The power stations were unable to handle the excessive use of electricity. There were constant blackouts. There was not a single plant in sight, no trees, no grass, nothing. They had all been burned by the blazing heat. Everyone was sweating, creating their own little dead sea, it made people clumsy and slip in their step. The sweat was offensively malodorous, for a while all you could see was vomit and people reluctantly trying to hold back their urge to spew. A dip in the pool or the beach to cool down was out of the question. All the pollution and global warming had made the water steaming and toxic. A second in the water would eat your skin, flesh and bones away, leaving nothing behind. 

Everyone would eagerly watch the news. Every day at precisely 7’oclock, no matter where they were, would face their attention to the weather forecast. All waiting for the reporter to tell them the great news that this will all be over and that there will be “cool gusty conditions”, “snow”,  “heavy rainstorm”, a day where the temperature doesn’t exceed 60 degrees. However, every single time they would be disappointed, their hearts broken and shattered. 

Places of worship were always packed. Everyone would pray and supplicate. Asking for a bit of ease, for the pain to go away, for a day just one day where they could feel some relief. No one ever lost hope. 

You would think that this was it, it couldn’t possibly get any worse, but it did. On the evening of the 29th of October 2043, I turned my television on, just like everyone else all around the world. I sat down, bracing myself to hear the same old thing that I had been hearing for the last twenty odd years. The weather forecast came on, but it was quickly interrupted by breaking news. This was unusual. The weather forecast was never delayed nor interrupted. The news reporter came on and broke the disturbing news. The news that this whole time the Government was conspiring a plan. A selfish plan that would only save them, and leave the whole of society to roast and burn. The whole of society was fooled and robbed. We should’ve known better, we should’ve inquired into what they were doing. But we fell accustomed to their plan. They knew how fragile we were, they were smart and sneaky. 

They had found a way to get to the only other habitable planet in the solar system, Mars. And they weren’t taking us with them.


These stories were written in our Factory Feedback program, which was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.