WEP: Thoughts at the End of the World

“Here’s one more to the collection,” said the attendant closing the door on the squawking bird. Soon it stopped complaining, looked around and hopped over to get a better view of its new location and the other members living there.

Dora removed her gloves and slapped on some sanitizer. She had been at the Aves Shield for almost 3 years now, but wasn’t sure if all was going as it should. The facility, codenamed as ‘The Ark’ was made to protect birds and save them from extinction. Here, all kinds of birds were kept in long enclosures, with an artificial ecosystem created to be as natural as possible. No humans or animals to hunt them down or experiment on them, a steady supply of food and protection from global warming and pollution had drastically increased the lifespan of most of them.

“But, for how long more”, she thought. Global warming was heating the planet up and people had started leaving for Kepler-69c. Her family had already started packing. The relocation priority was as follows:

  1. Members of the Government and Heads of important institutions
  2. Those who had contributed extensively to society in the fields of science, art, literature and drama
  3. People who were able to afford gold priority seats
  4. People who were able to afford silver priority seats
  5. Civilians
  6. Defence personnel and social workers

All belongings were to be packed in suitcases whose dimensions were based on their seat category. All pets and plants were to be left behind due to limited supplies and the long journey ahead.

She looked around again. Most of the attendants had already left for the day, no doubt to help with the move. Hers was the last shift. She heard the call of a Sparrow scolding her kids to settle for the night. High-up, an eagle stretched its wings, ready to call it a day. She couldn’t just leave them; once the tectonic plates started shifting at a rapid pace, there was no telling what would happen. The news channels that were still running had conflicting opinions from their ‘experts’.

She gave a sigh. There was no one to tell her what to do. She was worried that the glass walls of the birds’ habitat would crack and they would suffocate in the resulting heat. At almost 60ยฐ celsius, only the Pezoporus Occidentalis would be able to survive. Butโ€ฆ she paused, most of these were living here for a long time, some since they were born. Would they be able to adapt to the outside world?

She contemplated this until the siren rang, a warning for those who weren’t onboard that they had only 15 minutes left. Should she let them be and hope that the cage wouldn’t be destroyed, at least till they came back? Or, should she let them go and hope that they adapt to the outside world, one devoid of humanity as it had been many years ago.

She pressed the button. Along with the fumes of sulphur and carbon dioxide from the ruptures in the ground, you could see vibrant colours till the horizon as one after another each bird took off towards freedom.


Word Count 524: FCA โ€“ Preferred (Though all kinds of comments are welcome)

The June Edition of WEP (Click here to know more).

30 thoughts on “WEP: Thoughts at the End of the World

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  1. Heartbreaking.
    No plants or animals on the new planet? Big mistake. Big, big mistake.
    And how I mourn for the damage we do.
    While hoping that the birds are more tenacious survivors than we expect.

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  2. Oh this is so sad, but stories about caged birds tend to be. What a desolate planet this will be with a dearth of plants and animals. What a world! Humans take note. We need to value our planet and continue to make amends for the damage we have done.
    A great wake-up call post, Bernadette. Thank you,

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  3. It’s scary, and I’m not even sure if the birds would survive or not. Captivity is bad, but what if it is the only choice to survive? Great, thought-provoking post!

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  4. This is a wonderful take on the prompt! That’s a difficult choice to be faced with. Either one could possibly spell disaster for these wonderful creatures. Still, freedom seems to be the better choice, and I hope they are able to fend for themselves and survive in the hostile environment.

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  5. Topical piece even if speculative. But we face choices as humans to stop the headlong plunge to this choice – the best choice; let the birds have their freedom. Wise decision. Good build-up to a great ending.

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  6. This is scary and poignant. A creative, thoughtful take on the prompt and a well crafted, compelling flash. I liked the setting details of a dying planet. You have brought out the conflict between captivity, security and freedom. Freedom in an environment where there is progressive habitat loss is meaningless. But glad they at least have a fighting chance. Really liked the ending – great imagery.

    My one suggestion would be to reconsider the numbered list – the numbering diminishes the emotional impact, makes it feel more like a report. That may well be a deliberate choice, but if not – the numbers are superfluous and the list could be rephrased for deeper reader engagement.

    I enjoyed reading this very much. Thank you for posting this at WEP.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi,
    I saw in your story a plea for freedom for the animal kingdom with your focus being on birds. You’re raising the conscious of humans who tend to take many animals and this planet for granted.
    I am glad she had the guts to let them go free.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great use of the prompt! Sounds like the humans have made themselves a cage that might prove a little too confining as well, with no plants or animals along!

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  9. Hi Bernadette – late, but here! We do live in worrying times … but these choices – hers and the birds – are very difficult … I think I’d rather be a bird … not sure she’ll survive. But interesting take on the prompt – cheers Hilary

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