When they lef' they slammed the door shut. "How can we grow in this environment?", the farmers said letting the soil sift through their fingers. "How can we grow in this environment?", said the children looking out the windows into the empty streets. Root street started out as an alley between two buildings in an old neighbourhood of town. Whose fault was this?
There was a basic story to recall, that someone had bombed them and that there had been bombs sent to Africa. There were dead in the street but this was a place where they had two moons in this city, at least and people rarely spoke to one another anymore. Along the river valley you could hear explosions regularly for weeks ahead before the election. I recall the censors sitting on the roofs and top floors of the buildings, like vultures trying to protect their own interest while under obligatory service. I only saw shadows of people myself. Bomb not they would have said if they could with these words being the end of it. But the young men that had programmed the system were thinking of their lovers and how they would like to meet the girls on the street so the commonest words triggered bombing so as to give importance to the task of setting up a first strike, retaliatory bombing- to protect their city they were told by the businesses making the bombs. The farmers and the children were perhaps the most bewildered because they noticed strange things first. The farmers noticed that the soil was dry and the plants weren't as lush as they used to be. The children noticed they were in pain with the sounds at the playground, outside the school, and that most often there wasn't anyone able to walk on the streets. They certainly couldn't.
At times the streets were filled with white cylinders and funnels, hardly allowing anyone to pass. Most days walking was difficult because you rolled and were thrown off kilter by the ground shine. Nothing had happened and I personally was unable to find anyone that wanted to discuss this. The people walking by the college sometimes seemed to walk in one end captured and never be seen again. You would hear a hollow laughter when a group- could they be dying ?- died together. I never heard anyone cry out in pain really just the hollow laughter -together mostly. Are you missing someone Edmonton? Surely none of us would be playing chicken little. I just wondered if one day we would know anyone if you're like me.
The mastery of creating such an event. The white coolant clouds rolling in during the evening collecting on the shores of the mill creek ravine where sometimes children would die trying to escape or were camping, being homeless, as they were now officially adults out of YESS. Knowledge was danger. The mastery of scaring the dwellers out onto their lawns to die in the white clouds or fall in an opening near the containers or to be captured in the mall and stored underground with others learning how to compete.
Sometimes, I looked out onto Root St. from my upper storey window. I could hear the crowd under the building sound like they were as free as I'd hoped. I thought we were counting together but I did not think of those walking down the street into the funnels, distracted by the noise from the broadcast all across the killing field.The sound was almost enough to down us completely and you made stories about where you were camping along the river bank near the nuclear coolant flowing. I pictured you as on a tundra. I now know they were using a particle generator to kill. Sometimes someone would be singled out to scream alone as a distraction to keep the others numbed in pain.