The blog Bibliokept regularly posts interesting pictures that I want to use as creative writing prompts. The most recent photo was so bizarre and evocative that I couldn’t pass on writing at least something inspired by it. The story I came up with is, I think, appropriately weird.
The weather report flickered out of the holo-projector. Seven-eight percent chance of acid raid this evening. How did the weather forecasters decide on that precise number? Why not round up to an even eighty percent? Would the clouds really mind if we expected just a dash more toxicity to spill from their bowels?
“Don’t forget your umbrella,” she said to no one in particular as she glanced out the parlor window.
The sky choked with the black fumes of the refinery. Fine may have been in its name, but living so close to the beast was anything but. Every day was an umbrella day. Every day was a day for face masks and very long baths with soap that never quite removed all of the chemical residue omnipresent in the air.
She stepped out of her house, opening the black umbrella to the thick smog. She wondered how much more of this she could take. Much as she wanted to leave the city, anywhere that was once worth moving to now sat under the ever expanding seas. It’s amazing how tropical the climate can get when the heat of industry is forever trapped by its black cloud bi-products.
Hover cars stood abandoned along the road she walked to work. The asphalt had long been broken by crabgrass and tree roots as the cars took to the skies. With their solar cells now impossible to charge under the eternal cloud cover and gasoline a thing of myth, most found it easier to just walk. She adjusted her face mask as she passed the rusted out hull of her own craft. The solar cells hover cars were such a fabulous idea but in the end they, like everything else, were too little too late.
She heard the hissing of the acid rain before anything else. As the droplets pattered from the dark sky, they bit at the fabric of her umbrella. She realized far too late she’d grabbed the wrong one. Why did she even bother keeping her fabric umbrella when metal was the only thing that was truly protective these days? Her carelessness would be her downfall.
She looked back to her apartment. Too far to walk without scarring damage. Her umbrella was being eaten away above her. She sighed and tilted the umbrella back. The acid didn’t feel as she anticipated. She expected pain and torture. As the droplets hit her face and burned the mask, she felt…freedom.
At last, the gas released from the burn of her umbrella ignited. A plume of fire engulfed her face. She stood by the abandoned hover cars and waited for the flames to overtake her body and for the smoke could carry her conscious away.
At last, she could leave.