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Terra

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The Earth was dying. And Li’s oxygen pack was dying even after extracting the oxygen from the packs of her friends and family who had perished when the fire bombs hit. She only had a month left and the Earth was not in any condition to generate oxygen for many, many years. It was still trying to heal itself from the pollution epidemic and now the scorch marks from the bombs.

The trees were jagged stumps, blackened by fire; the blistered bark peeling and the trunk underneath oozing sap. Li knew that when her pack ran out she would die just like the others had. Now she was the only one left on the Earth. She had known that for awhile. She had been in the underground subway station when the bombs hit without warning. She knew she was safe while the bombs roared and crashed overhead. She had hid in the station for days until she was sure that the bombs had stopped flying. An eerie silence fell over the city as she crept up to the opening of the stairs leading up to the city. She peered around the corner of the stairwell and gasped. Her beautiful city was now unrecognizable.

Since then, her life radar had fewer and fewer dots each day until; finally there was only one person left – her. She spent her days searching for food and walking the city’s ruins. Each day passed in the same agonizingly slow way until the last day crept up on her like a lioness on a hunt.

She awoke to the sound of a frantic beeping. She bolted upright to a sitting position and peered at the pack. ‘One Day’ read the screen in florescent lettering. She felt a bitter chill settling over her like a storm system moving across the sky. She had one day of oxygen left. She rose, picked up her bag and started walking across the ruined cityscape. The streets were littered charred paper, metal, glass and other waste. Skeletons of buildings pierced the smoky sky, their needle sharp points buried in the rolling dark clouds. She saw cars haphazardly piled in heaps and rubble from buildings thrown around like gigantic toy blocks.

Suddenly, a shock of yellow caught her eye. She walked in the direction of the splash of color and stopped dead in her tracks. A perfect little buttercup growing out of a crack in the asphalt was peering up at her with its silky soft petals. She bent down to get a better look at it, mesmerized by its buttery soft petals and creamy yellow color. Quietly, she sat next to it and gazed into its depths.
“How could something so delicate survive in this environment?” she wondered aloud.
Impulsively, she reached for the stem, but ashamed withdrew her hand. They were both alike, she realized; both the last of their kind and both alive. She knew that they were going to perish soon, but now after seeing beauty in a city of ruins, she had hope; a hope that plants would survive someday in the future. And as darkness fell over the city she felt at peace with the world.



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