Saturday, August 12, 2017

2175: Past the Point of No Return

David Vance stood alone on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. As he looked down, he was startled to realize that because his vantage point was so very high that he could not immediately discern that the sea level was higher than when he was a kid. He'd been coming to this spot all of his life whenever he'd suffered a personal setback. Looking out across the undulating surface of Poseidon's domain reassured him that life, though changed, would go on.

This time, what brought him to this overlook of the sea was loneliness. His wife, Miko , had returned to her homeland to help her parents pack up their belongings and move them into contract housing that the government was providing for citizens displaced by encroaching tide lines. She had said that she would stay there only as long as they needed her to adapt to their new situation. But, they both knew that no matter how intelligent and diligent she was, there were too many ever cascading factors that would ever allow Miko's return.

He'd applied for an admissions visa for his in-laws; but, there were simply too many 'climate refugees'. Regional conflicts had been raging ever since he'd been born, and he knew that Miko would likely be prevented from returning due to intense hostility from his countrymen. Vigilantes patrolled the edges of all border entry points and made it too dangerous for Miko to return safely even if she'd tried.

So, he stood staring at what lay out beyond the horizon, not seeing the seals riding the waves beneath his vantage point nor hearing the gulls calling out to one another as they rode the wind. Nor did he notice the spot where he used to play under his parents' watchful eyes when they came on a family outing. That broad beach was gone -- submerged beneath the breakers.

Indeed, there were fewer and fewer family outings anywhere. Most of his generation had stopped having children due to the uncertainty that the future held. And competition for resources was making people do things that had been unthinkable before. Before the series of mini-wars, droughts, starvations and plagues that had begun decimating all populations everywhere. 

David reflected briefly on all of this, and then realized that the setting sun was warning him that darkness was approaching. So, he unslung his rifle, shouldered his gear and headed north. He wouldn't be coming back this way. No one would.