A Short: Slavery
She closes her eyes to see, and the world is stretched before her in bright, angry reds, like a wound so long infected it’s seeped into the blood. The infection has not been so gradual a change that the people have not noticed, but it has been so long inevitable and inexorable they did not try to fight against it. The sky above is cloudy, but dark, and brown, and it is evident that these clouds are no longer the pillows of dreams. Fine particulate matter. The purifying water cycle is no longer such.
Energy was made to stretch thin as the resources of the earth stretched thinner, until, ultimately, her hungry children had emptied her generous pockets and turned their teeth to the emaciated body of the mother herself. In each direction stood massive steel cylinders pressed painfully into the earth like spikes through a beating heart, leeching energy from its hydraulic pressure like a dam in the earth’s bloodstream, and each heart’s pump becomes feebler, losing its life-rhythm.
Every businessman prays fervently for more time in each of his days, and more energy with which to use that time. He gets his wish.
She looks at the sky, at the sun’s rays struggling through the trappings of their grimy smog prison. These are 26-hour days, and the world is slowly spinning to a stop.