Issue 22 | Summer 2019


At midday, the sky went extraterrestrial purple. We were watching our personal screens. The meteor shower came thick and furious. Only the neighbor with a healthy interest in chem trails squinted up. The next morning revealed acres of foliage stained fuchsia. The man across the street went to groom his lawn. The grass bled violet. The acid sap gnawed through his clogs. Within hours, the mutilated blades were double their previous height. We video called our Pacific Northwest friends. Environmental victories bloomed across the planet. The Earth Firsters spoke of a vengeful vegetation uprising.

In the years that followed, we did without domesticated fruits and veggies, stationery, good carbs, marijuana, cardboard packaging, kombucha, toothpicks, bad carbs, pulpy thickeners, essential oils, stevia, ugly carbs, and flat pack furniture.

The air was cleaner than we had ever known it.

The biomes encroached on our sidewalks, outlet malls, apartment complexes, and business districts with alarming rapidity. The carbon dioxide ppm plunged with every passing week. The animals flourished unperturbed. Some of us made peace, asked the sentient herbage for grazing permission, chowed down on the interstellar gene bent photosynthesizers, and gained something that we didn’t know we’d lost. But most of us built plastic bungalows, got dry skin from too much air conditioner use, ate Petri dish steaks for every meal. Outside, the vines and shoots shuddered in their sunlit joy. Wanted to share. Asked us to come out, come out.

Filed under: Fiction

Nikki Stavile Author Photo

Nikki Stavile is a graduate of Hollins University’s MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Cleaver, Scoundrel Time, and Artemis Journal. A young unprofessional, she currently resides in Pittsburgh with her partner, her cat, and an abundance of well-loved backpacking gear.