A New Earth – The Abyss

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David felt a passing chill of loneliness choke him as he looked down from the dizzying heights of his balcony, and into the darkening concrete abyss where the jasmine flower had disappeared.  On the 43rd floor, you have stopped counting floors long ago.  You’re trapped: far enough from the ground to feel completely cut off from Earth, yet unable to fly like a bird, or like a jasmine flower on its random escapade from one balcony to the next.  David’s only company tonight was the echo of the cacophonous chorus of broken voices coming from the malfunctioning screen in the square: they were the perfect soundtrack to a world of broken humans, broken weather and broken technology.  It was a broken civilisation that was now almost begging to be put out of its misery. 

But unlike this panicking civilization, the jasmine flower is in no panic at all, and in no particular hurry either.  It knows that there is no point in resisting the power of the EoT, which is the only force that ultimately determines its fate: it is what determines when the flower will mature and fall, and which balcony it will be swept into.  The jasmine flower knows this and tries to enjoy the ride, however short-lived or unexpected it might be.   Its legacy will live forever, as its delicate flesh eventually disintegrates into useful scraps of organic fibers, which turn into soil.  Like all other beings, it donates its molecules to the celestial stardust out of which another plant, perhaps even another jasmine flower, may one day grow.

Over at the vertical farm the risk of blackout may have been averted thanks to a part-solar electricity generator, however the AI virus had attacked and damaged the central memory of the environmental control network.  The vegetables were dancing in a macabre discotheque of strobe lights that were the wrong wavelength, wrong luminosity and duration.  Their days were becoming nights and nights turning into days, as their circadian growth cycles were permanently damaged.  The farm was fast becoming a photosynthesis deprivation torture chamber where the plants eventually lost their metabolic compass, unable to hold on to the moment.  They gave up and wilted, as Aspen was called in by the supervisors to clear up the carnage and save any scraps for salads to be sold at marked-down prices.

(from the upcoming novel A New Earth) – PRE-ORDER NOW:

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to read from the beginning, go here

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

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