(continued from previous)
But this morning was different for John. Still lying in bed, he was struggling to listen to the world. There was an eerie silence. He dreaded the view he would come across when he eventually looked out of his window, and into the thin strip of ocean that is sandwiched between the two huge residential towers that block most of his view to the sea. It was time to face the music. He skipped his obligatory visit to the coffee machine, and the shower, and headed straight for the window. Approaching with a sense of inevitability, he placed his hand on the windowsill first as if to be sure that this was a tangible reality. Maybe last night had all been a nightmare. It wasn’t.
Lifting his head slowly, he saw what he had dreaded: an angry, frothing chocolate-brown sea was menacingly rushing towards the shore in yellow-crested waves. It was an image from another planet, perhaps a habitable world on a distant solar system. All the way to the horizon, the sea was brown. It could easily have been mistaken for a landmass, had it not been for the undulating waves indicating that this, indeed, was a liquid.
The phytoplankton seemed to have taken over. John wanted to know the extent. He did what he never does, which is to switch on The Line. He turned on for the first time a tablet that Aspen had given him on his birthday. A live satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean marking the phytoplankton blooms was permanently displaying at the bottom right hand corner of the screen while a somewhat pensive-looking Snoop Dog and a sweaty Trump deep fake were in the middle of some in-depth analysis of the headlines.
“Fo shizzle, this thing don’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Our satellite scan now tells us that basically all of the Atlantic has been affected, and my peeps on the ground are reporting the first cases of phytoplankton from as far as the Indian Ocean. Damn! Ya’ll stay tooned, this is The Line. BRB.”
The Earth looked sick from space. It looked like a different world. Almost all of the Atlantic was now a greyish-brown color, as individual clusters had begun to merge. The incredible speed by which the phytoplankton had expanded had even John scratching his head in puzzlement.
“I know what you’re all thinking: is this thing dangerous, what is it feeding on, will it stop? Please note for our viewers at home who are worried and need some initial answers, we have set up a hotline which you can see at the bottom of your screen. Official government advice for those of you living in coastal areas is expected any time now, and this will be updated regularly on our show. This appears to be a fast-moving situation, stay tuned” said the Trump AI.
from the upcoming novel A New Earth – The Apocalypse Locus – Pre-order now:
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books