Smalltalk had so deadened the minds of the people that when the apocalypse came, most folks thought it was just the weather. Smoke filled the skies and tsunamis swept cities out to sea, but most people were too busy checking their notifications to see the signs that their tenuous human enterprise was crumbling, bit by bit, into dust. So cut off from the divine embrace that they couldn’t feel each earthquake for what it was: the reluctant shudder of a mother shaking lecherous children off her breast, no longer able to bear the sinking of sharp teeth into her flesh for the extraction of what was best left buried. Some of the peoples went down to the rivers and wept, grieved, prayed. Others scorned them and held guns to their temples, asking them to recite the pledge of allegiance. The ones who labored hardest to protect their mother were locked in cages, punished for still having instincts. At the head of this madness, a redfaced carnival barker hucked lies and slurs, and the people laughed. Laughed, as in nearby lands their relatives lost their homes, lost their mothers, lost their right to not be televised for the general consumption. The skies turned red and the rivers ran black but still people persisted in their gymnastic insistence that nothing was wrong, that at least some of them would live forever. The ones who knew the truth were gassed and driven underground, where to the pounding beat of mother’s heart, their crystals refract the blaze of her inferno.
Delilah Friedler is a nonbinary writer from California, who still lives on occupied indigenous lands.