Slawka G. Scarso
On our last day of living life, the sky was thick of orange-grey clouds. It mirrored the asphalt in the streets and the wildfires that had been surrounding the city for so long we considered it normal, unavoidable. We went on with our lives like any ordinary day. We had breakfast wrapped in single-portion plastic packs; we commuted to work, each one in a separate car, because we valued our independence, our flexibility, our time; at work, we chatted with colleagues over coffee, or a cigarette; we threw the cigarette butt with the others, on the pavement, and the Styrofoam cups in a bin so full of litter it fell out of it moments later; we turned the air conditioning on, even though it wasn’t that hot but we just preferred it that way.
By now we all felt the situation was so compromised there was nothing we could do to stop it.
So nothing is what we did.
I was the first to notice it, at least in my office block. The trees, the trees that were left in town because the mayor hadn’t had the chance to cut them yet – Trees are too dangerous, he said, When they fall, they kill people, – started releasing a gooey liquid, the colour of maple syrup, but thicker still. A resin. At first, it trickled, and then it started to pour, the way we left the water pour in our bathrooms while we did something else.
We watched it flood the streets. We watched it envelop the people out there: like a blob, it circled them, and then crept until it encapsulated them and solidified. Hypnotised, we spread our hands on the windows, tried not to blink not to miss the scene. We were so focused on what was happening outside, we didn’t notice the resin creeping in our building too. We didn’t notice it as it circled us, and then wrapped us as we were watching outside, as we were doing nothing to prevent it.
Years later they’ve moved us into a museum. We’re the amberised people, that’s what the tag says. Scientists compare us to fossilised insects. Historians to the people of Pompeii. They bring children to watch us too, when they’re old enough to understand.
“I believe that big changes start from small actions – like recycling, repurposing, or even finding creative ways to use leftovers when cooking. The worst we can do is expect others to take action while we do nothing”
Slawka G. Scarso has published several books on wine in Italy and works as a copywriter and translator. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellipsis Zine, Mslexia Bending Genres, Streetcake Magazine, and Spelk, among others. She lives between Rome and Milan and is currently submitting her first crime novel. You can find her on Twitter (@nanopausa) and her website.