Children of the Blue Flower
The food, water all gone now. Time to leave hiding place, find more. I’m alive. After all that’s happened, I’m alive. Don’t know time, day, month. Guess February. Know year. 2058. Two things I know; must learn more.
I’m Child of the Blue Flower; trained to natural world. Care for creatures, protect plants. Must find Prophecies. Fulfil promises. Follow our Leader’s teachings, meet others, begin again.
Climb steep steps from cellar into house, surprised by warmth. Warmer than spring, warm as August. No nuclear winter. Heating on? Can’t be power. Lights don’t work. Check fuse. Nothing. Warmth comes from outside.
Air dry, silent, dusty. Moisture-free smog hangs; constantly made into new patterns by strong wind. Silent. Swirling dust, like clouds of locusts from news.
A plague will come. Mankind will destroy the plague and himself.
Locusts ate through Africa, Americas, on into southern Europe. We heard no more. Locusts didn’t stop, not then. News another disaster. Power plants no longer within Company’s control. Reactors beyond supercritical. No cooling them. They’d melt; radiation leak. They, we, would be no more. Only safety underground. How to find place in shelters explained later. None cared about locusts after. Few wondered how shelters had been built, or when, or why.
Look to horizon. Dancing lights gone. Eruptions of orange, pink that lit sky are no more. Beautiful, deadly sign faded. Ended. Gone.
Sky mottled, muddied blue. Sun a huge circle of lime green. I’m sick; vomit splashes my feet. Sun cannot be green, won’t look up again. Sun cannot be green.
Garden wrong. Snowdrops hadn’t shown through cold earth when family left; shut myself alone into cellar, pulled protective shielding over door. Snowdrops in flower now. So yes, February. Try not notice nodding bells are cornflower blue. Leaves last year barely glaucous now rich, vibrant, turquoise.
A plague will come. Mankind will destroy the plague and himself.
Our Leader had known what would come. He’d warned; few listened.
You who are left will be innocent as children. You will see the blue flowers and know I spoke the truth. You will create the future.
I turn to golden ivy. Once it lightened gloom with cheerful sunshine yellow, it still echoes sun’s colour. Colour it cannot be. I return to house where see sun no more.
Food in house. Tins, bottles, jars. Bags of rice, pasta. In cool garage, potatoes, carrots, onions, apples, oranges. Mother said I’d be dead. She left me food. I won’t look at green sun. Mother wouldn’t think me not needing food.
I try tap, water flows. Looks clean, safe. All right to drink, or contaminated? No more contaminated than air. Breathe air; drink water. There’s gas burner in garage. Five cylinders gas. Dad said I fool to stay. No one could live when power plants failed. He bought me spare gas.
Was introduced to The Children by Danny. Tried to persuade my family to listen to prophecies. They called us a foolish cult. Banned me see them, see Danny. What do I have now? A child indeed. Must follow The Leader’s teaching. There’s nothing else.
World’s power supplied by one company scared Children. People worried about prices, not end of world. The Leader, our great teacher had known. Government claimed electricity stations safe. They built bunkers. Great underground concrete caves. They knew, as The Leader did, of disaster. They hadn’t wanted to prevent it. Wanted to survive it. Wanted to triumph. Now no company provides power. Government has ways of supplying it, deep in earth. They are power now. The only power.
Man will shut himself away from the light and the truth. He will be in darkness for one hundred years.
The Leader foretold.
Whole cities entombed together. My family too. The Leader knew future. Had explained. Those who listened; believed. Became his Children. He couldn’t prevent power plants imploding. He warned of imprisonment of Man. He warned of changes to our world. His children couldn’t be buried alive for four generations. We’d live on surface, breathe fresh air, see sun or die.
Why hadn’t he told me sun would be green?
I must find prophecies; know all truth. Danny has scripts. He allowed me to read them when I was with him. Must continue. Will go now, ask. Things different now.
I take food in a rucksack, my brother’s bicycle. It will take an hour to ride through city, to Danny’s house. An hour pedalling hard. If there are still seconds, minutes, hours.
Danny not home. He was. On table vase of flowers. Blue flowers. Remember argument in sect about our sign. Some said flowers should be blue, should always be blue. Others said they should be as far from blue as possible. As colours returned, should select strongest or weakest hued to mark change. Which Danny’s choice? No way to tell. I haven’t left flowers at home. Should have. I’ll leave some here, when have prophecies.
In Danny’s bedroom, find leaflets. I look at blue flower, our emblem. Remember words I helped write. They warn of this, collapse of power stations, a changing world. We were too late, much too late. Less than a tenth ever delivered. How many read?
Find prophecies. ‘For the Children’ a note says. I take one.
In kitchen, no food. Leave what I brought . Leave pot of flowers next to Danny’s. Go home.
I read prophecies, begin to understand.
Man’s greed and inhumanity will be his destruction and his salvation. The sky will fall. The poison will be driven away.
Ozone contracted with implosion of power plants. Blue of distant atmosphere descended. Pollution dragged by escaping radiation, away, above. Sun still golden. Viewed through layers of dust, ozone, pollution.
Sun not green.
I feel well, strong because oxygen concentrated in layer close to earth’s crust. Earth altered orbit. Warmth proof equator, so seasons, have shifted.
Changes will come. The north will move south. A silent wind will warm the land.
The Leader knew so much. He’d known mankind would almost destroy himself. Knew Government would declare no safety. Take people below to teach them to live together. They’re beginning again so when their great-grandchildren emerge into light they’ll inherit a peace sculpted by destruction. Live in simpler world, treasure, protect; not destroy. The Leader had begun to teach us. He wanted us to think for ourselves, do what we should because right, not because all we knew.
You must learn the way of love and peace. I will teach and you must learn.
The Leader, The Children couldn’t teach people. Unheard above rumours, fear. When dancing lights lit sky, our families went underground. The Children made promises.
“We shall seek out, care for any left behind. Release pets. Protect homes. Earth will not wither, die. It will become clean, safe. The great grandchildren of those below shall emerge, share the new earth with the descendants of The Children of the Blue Flower.”
I begin my tasks. Cycle through warm wind from house to house. Carry food on back in case meet those in need. Meet no one. In each house I tidy, clean. Eat what food I need, take more for journey. That’s all I take. Find no creatures to care for. No animals, no birds wild or domestic. Empty cages, empty fields, woods. There are fish in tanks. Take to streams, release. Don’t know if they’ll live. Hear no sounds save clicking of spokes on wheels, running of water. No birds to sing. Few leaves on trees. Those few there are, don’t rustle in warm breeze. No locusts. No people, no voices.
You will be alone, but you are my Children.
At each house, I find vase or glass, fill with water. Pick flowers, bluest can find, set them where a visitor would see.
Rain falls. Flowers change. I leave chartreuse daffodils, navy tulips. Summer brings blue roses. Once sought after, now only option. Delphinium spires. Brightest, richest blue I’ve ever seen. Autumn brings dahlias, chrysanthemums. Blue little less true? Another colour breaking through. Winter comes. Warm wet winter.
I pick snowdrops again. Maybe paler now. Maybe just want them to be.
A year I’ve travelled. Occasionally finding vase of decaying flowers. Once, in summer, flowers barely wilted. Think meet Danny.
No. I’m tired. Going home.
In house, see vase I’d left. Same vase; not same flowers. Fresh. Primroses palest moss green, hellebores with faintest rim of muddy maroon. Tulips, just showing colour. Colour that isn’t blue. Look closer, see drops of dew clinging to newly picked buds.
I listen, hear Danny call my name.