Natalie Kim

United States

THE DROUGHT

January 30, 2018

PROMPT: Solastalgia

2
    I cannot remember the last time I tasted ice.
    What a foreign concept - water, cold enough to become solid? In this new world, water is barely cold enough to stay fresh for a day.
    Welcome to Southern California, wrecked by massive drought and wrought with fierce, dry winds and the beating sun, at whatever devastated year it is. I've stopped counting.
    Anything exposed outside for more than an hour either rots, dies, or gets heat stroke, and then dies. The climate is utterly deadly. Anyone here who is still alive thirsts for lush environments, dreaming of lulling ponds and soothing lakes. Anything that is found unguarded with even a single drop of water in it can be counted to be gone the next day. 
    Everyone here is tan. I've found myself a part of a group of people who are staking it out to try to survive the heat. We all know, on the inside, that it's an absurd idea, but at least we should try to outlast the animals. Susie lives in the overturned giant trash dumpster, empty except for her small hoard of water and clothes. She's short, slightly round, and fierce. I swear she'd bite a finger off of any of us if we even went into her dumpster, most likely under the assumption that we'd steal her water. Which is not at all far-fetched. Ryan spends his time in a small shack that we built our camp around and whittles wood all day. It turns out that he's real good at making wooden daggers. They're better than nothing. Rhonda lives next to me, and I swear she's probably the most hospitable of them all. She wouldn't kill me if I took her water, but she would beat me so hard it would feel like I was dead. I can't say the same for the others. Especially not Max, who is huge and burly and lives in the ground. He took five plastic trash cans, and bent them in the middle to form a half-circle, and then dug recesses in the ground underneath them to lie down. There are more people, but I'd rather not bring them up. the idea scares me.
    So yes, I can say with somewhat certainty that we have all become a little mental. Before, we remember when we were kids and turned a handle and boom, water. Now when we find a cactus that hasn't been cut open we celebrate and drain as much water from its hollow insides as we can. 
    I almost feel insane, harboring suspicion of theft 24-7 around my campmates, but nobody would judge me. The harsh environment and slightly mental people have almost thrown me off the rails. 
    I myself live in this massive new cement-mixer thing that used to go on the backs of these vehicles called trucks. It wasn't used, so the inside is clean metal, which doesn't get hot no matter how terrible it is outside. The opening I cover with some metal or curtain, but overall it isn't too bad. We look like a junkyard, my mates and I. 
    The absence of water has driven the west coast crazy. I know that in Sacramento there were rumors of cannibalism, and surely in Chatsworth there was murder daily over water. Here it's almost as bad, only that the biggest danger is gossip and suspicions. 
    I hope that the rest of the world isn't suffering.

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  • January 30, 2018 - 11:51pm (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • Kahasai

    I'll take a look.


    over 2 years ago
  • Natalie Kim

    Thanks! Actually, yeah - I've published a short story called THE BOATMAN and three chapters of A SHADOW.


    over 2 years ago
  • Kahasai

    I realize this is a piece of fiction, but I'm also aware that Southern California can be exactly as you describe in the right circumstances.

    Good piece of writing! Do you have more?


    over 2 years ago