Beets are humble, you think, as you harvest the last bulb from the noxious mulch, your hands already stained purple. So different from the other strange fruits and vegetables you grow in section 28C of Earth’s replacement home. Next to you, Xana plucks her crop from the end of the green basin: a single, fluorescent blueberry.
“Syllabus,” you hear, and then the cracking of static. Her mouth is moving behind her mask – you realize she has been talking for awhile. Xana makes a motion with her hands to signal that your artificial hearing has crapped out again. You sign “sorry” but you’re not – not really – you turned it off on purpose and it doesn’t always shut down properly. You don’t like all the noise. It’s too much chaos.
BOOM. The explosion knocks everyone down, and immediately kills Derzol and Flora. Xana sees it happen as though in slow motion – Derzol, still holding the beet, his hands purple, miming sorry even though she knows he turned off his hearing device on purpose. When this happens all she can think is that she wishes she had turned off her Implanted Vision Device, because she will never forget the scene. “At least it wasn’t in color,” she thinks, although she doesn’t know what color looks like and so can’t comprehend exactly how it would be worse. It’s quiet after the blast, almost a feeling – the epitome of the word silence.
Beets are humble, Derzol will think, as he plucks the red bulb from the posion soil. He will have the strangest sensation that he has been here before, but the thought will be quickly wiped from his mind when he sees that Xana has harvested something unusual from her basin: a single, fluorescent blueberry.
Notes: My word was BEET. Weirdly, I chose the opposite to be a blueberry, since it is small where a beet is large, and a fruit, and sweet, and the texture is completely different. It was the first thing that came to mind as an opposite. I have no explanation for why I went the futuristic route. We live in what feels like apocalyptic times, maybe that’s why. The prompt suggested choosing a different tense than you normally write in, so I chose the second person. Once I was prompted to kill off my main character, I reverted to third person tense – it feels a little jarring but since there is an explosion and a weird time travel lapse, the tense shifts just might work!
Lauren Meir is a writer, mother, and comms strategist living and working out of metro Detroit. She has lived in both Europe and the Middle East, writing her way through countries and continents. While she is just starting to submit her creative work to lit journals, her professional work has appeared in the Huffington Post and other publications.
@LaurenMeir (Twitter) She/Her/Hers