Author : Max Cohen

A wind swept over the flat grey plain that night carrying with it a smell of nothingness. The wind continued whipping ever faster until as the sun rose it blew over a low stone wall and onto a field of deep green grass. It flowed over a man and a boy just waking from their nightly slumber before continuing on their way.

The boy shivered and pulled his threadbare blanket closer around himself trying to return to his sleep. But his father stood and brushed himself off before nudging the boy with his foot, “Come on Jonathan. We need to get this over with, then we go home.”

The boy, Jon to his friends, groaned but stood up next to his father.

“Now listen boy. You’re nearly a man grown now and you need to know about the outside world,” he gestured at the gray featureless plain, “That right there is because of us. We near destroyed ourselves and the world and nothing is going to bring it back. This right here,” he gestured to the deep green grass they stood on, “is the only safe place left. You step out there you die.”

Jon looked doubtfully out at the plain, “There’s nothing there dad. It doesn’t look dangerous at all,” he scoffed he was fifteen now and clearly his father and the rest of the adults were addled. Nothing can’t kill you.

“Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean the danger isn’t there,” he walked back to their bags and pulled out a small cage. Inside was a mouse. “Watch.”

The man walked over to the stone wall and stood staring out into the waste, seeing something that Jon couldn’t. With a shake of his head, he reached his arm out and gently set the cage as far from the wall as possible, pulling his hand quickly away as if afraid to be burnt.

Jon watched with an amused expression. This was pointless, nothing was going to happen to the mouse after all. For a few seconds the cage simply sat upon the ground but as Jon watched the cage started to come apart, to melt. The mouse leapt from the cage as is it broke apart turning grey even as it slid silently into the ground. The mouse began to run towards the wall but it quickly fell shaking to the ground, and Jon watched horrified as its skin began to run off. Its skin and then its muscles, blood, bones, and organs flowed together turning grey.

Perhaps a minute had passed but nothing remained except the vast plain.

“That’s why you can’t go out there son. Anything that touches that grey land just melts away,” he put a hand on Jon’s shoulder to reassure him.

“But… what happened?” Jon asked still staring at the spot where the mouse disappeared.

“A long time ago our ancestors tried to change the world. They made tiny people to help them. But the tiny people kept growing and multiplying. A grey wave washed over the world and changed it into this. But your great-great grandfather built this place for all the people, animals, and plants that survived. As long as this stone wall stands the grey goo can’t get us,” he pulled at Jonathan, “Now come on we’ve got a long walk ahead of us.”

As they walked away the wind blew on with nothing to stop it. Over the one tiny spec of green in an ocean of grey.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows


%d bloggers like this: