After the Virus

Megan closed the Chat Window, replacing it with the World Window, and sighed. The daily chat with her mother was becoming a chore and she felt ashamed to feel that way. None of her Friends seemed to have a problem with their mothers, but then hers had been much older when she ‘gave birth’. There had even been an actual ‘father’, they’d ‘had sex’ and, for a short while, physical contact! She couldn’t imagine it. Touching skin with another person! Her mother had told her that she had ‘breastfed’ her, cuddled her and rocked her to sleep – until the robots took her away to her individual pod. Where she had been ever since.

The virus was rampant across the world, and the only way for humans to survive was individually in pods. The pods were stored in facilities, which her mother described as ‘warehouses’, where humans were nourished and encouraged to expand their minds, constantly searching for answers to the current problems in the world, while robots put their solutions into practice: they farmed the land, bred and raised livestock, nursed sick humans, and all the other things to sustain human life.

Megan’s mother had explained that, in the good old days, humans lived together in buildings and shared facilities, even bathrooms – shocking!

“Things were different back then,” her mother had said wistfully. And then her face clouded over. “If it hadn’t been for the constant shopping trips, parties and holidays, things might not have changed. We would be together, in the same room. We’d have greeted each other with a hug and a kiss. I’d have made a cake and we’d have eaten a piece with a hot drink, listened to music on the radio, maybe even gone for a walk in a park.”

“What’s a park, Mother?”

“A space where anyone could walk on the grass among trees. There were birds and squirrels – you don’t see them now – and a pond with ducks and swans – you don’t see them either. Children had fun on swings and slides in a playground, and some played ball games.”

“What’s playing?”

“Something we did back then. It made us smile and laugh. Until the robots shut us in our pods.”

Kim M. Russell, 8th July 2020

Forget Coffins – Organic Burial Pods Will Turn Your Loved Ones ...
Image found on Pinterest

My response to Poets and Storytellers United Weekly Scribblings #27: Things Were Different Back Then

Magaly is our host today, with a phrase she says is usually accompanied by sighs and looks of pure longing, and sometimes rage or relief.

Magaly has heard and read the phrase a lot lately and thought that it might be interesting to see what our muses would birth out of it. the phrase, so she has invited us to write new poetry or prose inspired by the phrase, “Things were different back then”. We can use the words literally or metaphorically.

I saw an idea for burial pods, coffins that grow into trees, and I wondered what would happen if living pods were developed in a similar way.

37 thoughts on “After the Virus

  1. Hard to click “Like” for this one, KR, given the potential tomorrow it presents. Let us hope not.
    Still, you’ve written it very well here and — since i could never ignore it — I let myself settle in. savor every image & resolve never to move to a pod. Robot will not replace me.

    My hat is off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is incredibly chilling! I love how well portrayed it is especially; “The pods were stored in facilities, which her mother described as ‘warehouses’, where humans were nourished and encouraged to expand their minds.” There is a dystopian tinge to it that threatens to become a possibility if we are not careful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sort of grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. I’m going to be Miss Scarlet …. “I’ll think about that tomorrow!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loving this, Kim. My grandmother died of the flu in 1917 when Mom was six. She never told. of the funeral, I dont know if she attended and how much she knew. She told how she had brought the flu home from school but not of her resulting guilt feelingd to me, my sister knew.
    Our pod was a wash tub in the center of our kit hed on Saturday nights. My sister bathed first, then me in the dane water. That stopped when I was about six as I then started showering from Dad’s bucket out on the back porch.
    Please turn your muse out to roam again.

    Liked by 1 person

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