War On Earth

“Have you ever stopped to smell the roses?” asked Phoebe.

Claire shook her head no, “I’m always in a rush and honestly don’t like the smell of roses anyways.”

Phoebe stopped and bent down to a particularly perfect looking bed of roses. It seemed out of place with the rest of the yard being bare. Phoebe picked a rose, putting it behind her ear.

“To smell for the rest of the walk. I know you are impatient,” she said.

About a minute later she pulled it out from behind her ear and took a large deep inhale. She felt funny. Well funny wasn’t the exact word she was looking for. She thought about what the particularly familiar feeling was until it clicked. High. She felt high. And she imminently burst into laughter. Claire turns to her with a confused look so in between her giggles Phoebe gets out, “Claire, I think I’m high. Even though I know that’s impossible… that’s impossible right?”

“High? Phoebe that’s definitely not possible I know you’re just messing with me. I’ve been with you all day and you haven’t smoked.”

“Well if you don’t believe me just smell the rose for yourself. I think that’s why I feel this way,” she replied.

Claire grabbed the rose and took a big sniff. At first she only smelled the musty rose, but then, it hit her and she too began laughing uncontrollably. Half from how bizarre this situation was and half from being high. She put it behind her ear and the two of them continued their walk to Claire’s in search of some food, because suddenly they were overcome with cravings. They didn’t mention it to each other but walking felt different and not just because they were high. They were fascinated at how green the once ugly grass was to them, how the trees had so many unique ridges and grooves, and how the rivers glistened with gold sparkles. It almost as if they were seeing nature for the first time in their lives.

Without even realizing the rose had fallen from her ear. By the time she got to Claire’s and noticed it missing, it was too late. She was devastated but the second they walked inside it was almost like the situation had completely become forgotten. They instantly snapped back to a world full of soberness and boring material household confines.

Completely dazed and unaware the girls didn’t even realize that the second the rose hit the ground a dozen of perfect red roses appeared. Overnight, it seemed that these mysterious roses spread throughout the whole town.

When Phoebe woke up the next day she saw a glimmering of red from her window. She instantly knew that those roses somehow made their way back to her. She didn’t even check her phone before she threw on clothes and ran out her front door. She stopped and smelled the new roses. Just like last time, she was instantly high and in awe of nature.

She ran back into her room and tweeted, “Roses are red, violets are blue, these ones get you high, although, I’m not sure why.” She stared at her phone admiring her poetic words then turned it off and spent the rest of the day outside enjoying the sun. Her friends who saw the message laughed thinking she must have been on some sort of drugs until they too saw a strange bed of roses that had appeared on their lawns overnight. Compelled each and every one of her friends stopped to smell their roses. Their reaction, all the same.

The news spread just as quick as the roses appeared. It seemed the whole town knew about these roses and their powers. And in just one week, the roses made their way to every yard around the world. Everyone was stopping to smell the roses. The high from these roses was unlike any other. Nature was the most fascinating, beautiful thing to everyone in the world. People were outdoors as long as possible. They couldn’t stay away like a drug. They began leaving their phones at home, or their cars in the garages so they can walk around and enjoy every second of being outside.

Years passed and the phenomenon didn’t stop. In fact, people only got more in touch with nature. Most families moved into cabins in the woods leaving behind the luxury of their old life without even looking back. Cities turned into ghost towns.

___

Phoebe was now sixty years old and raised her whole family in one of these cabin towns. One day, she decided to go on a hike with her grandson and stumbled upon her a glimpse of her old life for the first time since moving to the forest. They must have taken the wrong path. It was a dusty old house similar to one she once lived in. The grandson looked confused and asked why it looked different than their cabin. She giggled to herself and said “it’s a house similar to one I grew up in, come on let’s look inside.” She turned the dusty knob and luckily it was never relocked after the previous family moved out. Everything looked like it was untouched for at least forty years. The grandson stopped in front of a thin black rectangle. Confused he asks, “Grammy, what’s this shiny black box?” She smiled and said, “Oh my, Elliot this is a TV, I haven’t seen one in decades. Its allows you to see things you wouldn’t be able to before it’s hard to explain really, maybe it still works. I’ll try it if I can find the remote.” She looks around the room and spots a remote slightly lodged in-between the couch cushions. She presses the on button and to her surprise it worked. Like magic.

Image after image flashed before their eyes. Elliott and Phoebe were in a trans and seemed to be swallowed into a new universe. The technology consumed the both of them. This black shiny box might just have been Pandora’s box open and ready to release its chaos. The news of this euphoric black box spread quicker than the roses once appeared.

It didn’t take long for the world to go back to the way it was before the roses. Families moved into abandoned apartments and everyone became glued to televisions and phones. Nature was quickly forgotten about and technology once again ruled planet Earth.

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