The rain was turning acid and Oat took several weeks to understand the gravity of the situation. Mara, however, never understood the consequences of satellite crashes and corrupt governments. She spent her days tending to her aunt’s bad knee and illegally growing vegetables in the rooftop greenhouse she had created at the top of her 300-floor complex– thus, heading into the city was a rare occurrence for her. Oat, who Mara met on the roof every night, lived on the 90th floor and falsely proclaimed herself a ‘prodigy’ in the city bazaar, where she marketed her inventions.
The recent satellite crashes gave her an influx of resources; crashes usually occurred every two weeks, she found. At eight p.m. that night, when the protesters and journalists got bored and trickled away, she jumped the yellow tape and rummaged through the colossal wreckage to find useful metals for her inventions (getting caught resulted in a hefty fine).
On her way back, she bought two cartons of sweet milk as usual–strawberry for Mara and blueberry for herself–before flying up to the roof with jetpack shoes. Today, she found Mara tending to the tomato vines, something Mara learned from the towns up north where she was from. Oat didn’t know much about Mara– they only briefly talked on the roof every day, where they would drink milk before going their separate ways. She heard that Mara had come from a dazzling childhood of blue water and green grass before relocating into the city, and that filled Oat with a bitter taste in her mouth that she never spoke of.
“Look.” Oat showed Mara the new piece she found at the crash site that morning.
Mara looked away from the plants at Oat, who could count the number of times they’d spoken verbally on one hand; that’s also the only time Mara got to speak to another person during the day.
“What is that?” Mara replied.
The console was glass, fragile, and unearthly, and Mara touched it. That was a mistake.
Swimming pools. Wet grass. An intense blue light of computer games and after what felt like a whole lifetime away, Mara pulled her hand away from the globe console and fell backward, amongst the dirt of tomatoes and pumpkins.
Oat had never seen death before – if Mara was dead, even. Was she? She poured the sweet milk on her friend’s face, hoping to jolt her up; a slap to the face later and Oat was pulled along with Mara into a psychedelic upside-down from the skin-to-skin contact.
The apartments collapsed. Sweet Milk. Lots of it, washing over the city. Flooding? (The Nuclear Waste Flooding of 2710 destroyed many homes, including Oat’s old town.) The Milk washed over and drained away. The dirt: warm and permeable.
But she wasn’t dead. Oat awoke again, this time in a grassy field and blue atmosphere that went on for miles. Behind her, was Mara.
“I never thought I’d be back home.”
The bodies– leftovers of their escaped minds– decomposed on the roof into the dirt of the garden, eyes open and all-seeing. They had made it out.
Art by Dizzy Starfie