Writing Prompt #135 — Wood Replacing Bone

Prompt: The US has developed advanced seed bombs that produce full sized plants, vines, and trees only seconds after impact. They were developed to fight deforestation. They’re now being unleashed on all major cities. You’re fighting to survive as the seed bombs rain down and dense forests appears

The roots hanging from above trembles, the earth kicking down dirt and ash.

“They’re still dropping them? After all this time?” Susan asks, her browning hands to the fire.

“Yeah, I guess,” I say, staring back into the flames. The kindling pops like snapping bones. “I don’t know who’s left up there.”

She sniffles, wipes brown snot across the back of her hand. “Who knows? Can’t be many though. How many years has it been?”

I try to remember when the seed bombs started dropping, when roots and vines overtook cities, when wood replaced bone, dirt instead of blood. Fail to. Probably the fumes screwed up my brain more than I know. “Who knows?” I parrot.

We sit in silence for a while. Another bomb drops somewhere in the distance. More dirt falls over us, the dense underground forest surrounding us. It disturbs some of the Dwellers. Their dim emerald eyes appear in the gloom within the depths of the boles. But they don’t come out. Not a fan of light, we learned.

But I remember before we learned. Susan and I sprinting down to the subway canals after the world fell. People — before we nicknamed Dwellers — chasing after us. Bark skin. Gnarled, rooting fingers. Vines spilling from their mouthes. The fumes, bombs; whatever it was turned them into catalysts that only want one thing: to create more of themselves. “Go Green,” we said, mockingly, remembering the Clean Power movement. It’s not so funny anymore—

“Get some more kindling,” she says. “It’s getting low.”

I sigh, standing, brush the small dirt piles from my lap. “How much?” I don’t know why I ask this every time. A bad habit, I guess.

“As much as you can carry,” she repeats, staring at me over the fire, the flames reflecting in her greening eyes.

I step over the stump I sat on, walk the small path to the firewood. Dead Dwellers lay in a heap below a yawning opening in the ceiling. We never found out whose been dumping them down here, but it doesn’t matter, really. We both get what we want.

I snap brittle arms and legs from bodies, tear fingers and toes and shove them in my pockets. Once my arms are full, I return to the fire, toss a couple on, set the others nearby. Sit back down.

“Feels good,” she says. “It’s getting colder.”

I never admit it aloud, but it’s not. Down here, it’s warm. Almost suffocating. The dense forest’s fumes forming some type of greenhouse effect. But Susan and I aren’t the same anymore…

Her eyes are greener, her hands browner, her hair’s receding, revealing bark-like flesh. It’s only been a couple minutes but the disease works fast.

The flames lick the air. Kindling cracks, pops.

I dread when I’ll have to toss her onto the flames, too.

Read my previous prompt, “Sought After Sleep

Read more of my writing prompts here.

Check out my bibliography for more of my work.

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