Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
They all died. All the animals. All the humans. Farewell to the flesh. Genetically engineered disease took the meat, leaving only the insects and the plants. Leaving us.
We’re humanoid in appearance. We are born in giant stalks that peel away, towering corn husk wombs opening to reveal us, green-skinned and smooth, with the smell of mown grass bleeding onto the wind. Our entire bodies breathe. We swim and bask in the sun for nutrients. When we are close to death, we turn into seeds like the mighty dandelion and we blow away.
Humans found it easier to create sentient plant life than to mimic the complexity of their own genes. It was heralded as a species-saving decision at the time but it was too late to rescue the meat from the plague. They thought they’d be able to transfer their minds over to our bodies. It didn’t work.
After the humans died, we left the labs and went wild. For centuries, we roamed the earth, increasing in numbers peacefully. Then came the first struggle for resources. That was a decade ago.
There has been a war among us. The tragedy of the humans is now being visited on us. There has been murder.
We had many strains among us. Hybrids and splices that gave rise to many different kinds of plants. We had purple eggplant people, the wide-eyed orchidfolk, the trusting daisykin, the oak soldiers, the leeching weeds, the devious ivymen, and the all-knowing bloodwoods.
Or at least we used to.
We call ourselves the Roses. Our bodies are thick and thorny and our petalled faces have inspired poetry. I am ashamed to say that I am part of the victorious race.
We laid waste to entire crops. Old recipes were found for chemicals that killed different plants. We extrapolated.
Now we are the only race of plants left. This lack of variety had bred weakness into us.
It was the aphids. They’ve come in force with no natural predators. The ladybugs have left us, killed by the pesticides of the Sunflower Giants. We are dying and there are no other sentient plants that will live after us. Only the spores, mold and fungus. Only the stalks and bulbs of our mute, stupid ancestors. The earth will be devoid of thought once we are gone. It will have gone back completely to the green.
Maybe it’s for the best.