The length of the building remained intact despite the blast from the asteroid impact. Due to plenty of advanced warning, the building had already been evacuated, although that worked out for the best for Antonio. The spry youngster enjoyed defying the odds, primarily since he wasn’t old enough to grasp the consequences of his actions. Sure, sneaking around and collecting valuable items like laptops and jewelry could be profitable, and the likelihood of being discovered was near zero, Antonio found the freedom to move about as he liked more enjoyable than the prospect of stealing property.
When the legislation passed, all surviving trees were relegated to concentration camps, the largest of which, previously known as Central Park, will be off limits to humans. The draconian response to the suppressed uprising is seen as a final solution to the problem of trees. All communities are directed to erect their own ‘tree-only’ incarceration centers and all trees, both deciduous and coniferous, should surrender to their local authorities immediately, each to their own kind.
He stacked the bones until the pile started falling over, then he’d start a new pile. He never ran out of bones, dug from the rubble. As he picked through the stacks of broken wood and bricks, twisted metal, shards of glass, he had to be careful not to cut himself, but his hands were rough from the work, and he wore heavy pants, long-sleeved shirts, and his sturdy work boots for protection. He’d found the remains of the city by following the birds, crows mostly, scavengers all of them. At one time, there must have been thousands, tens of thousands, and rats. He hated rats. Sometimes, if he came upon a rat, and he had a femur or other large bone, he’d give chase, attempting to bash the animal over the head. There were plenty of large bones to use, but mostly, he’d find fragments, pieces of all that was left of a bustling city, and at the center, like all the other cities he’d found, an empty crater, the fingerprint left behind by the aliens when they’d pulverized our civilization back to pre-industrial days.
I refer to them as creatures in spite of their obvious intelligence. I refuse to acknowledge the tree-sized tungsten-based life forms as anything other than inferior to humans. If you insist, I admit they have shown some resiliency and even some unexpected ingenuity, particularly in the South American campaign. This is due to the differences in the way we process information and respond to stimuli, not some inherent advantage over us. Mark my words, we will prevail and drive these abominations from the Earth.
The first hundred days of eating the same thing for every meal is the hardest. You still have the memory of what other food tastes like, sweet, sour, savory; and the texture, the pleasure of crunching a raw carrot or the snap of fresh snow peas. Pop corn. I could kill for some pop corn. Now it’s all bland. And soft. And nutritionally balanced. No more worrying about gaining weight or getting too much salt or not enough of anything. Our keepers make sure we are well cared for. Except they can’t make us enjoy it. Now that my tastebuds have atrophied, I can’t even taste the whatever-it-is they serve us, and like I said, now that the memories of tangy rhubarb, that burst of a cherry tomato, have all faded, I don’t even miss it. Well, I guess I still miss bacon.