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The Hungry Unseen

Sandra Kleinschmitt loves writing, music, video games, and baseball. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, brother, one cat, and one dog. In 2018, after dabbling in writing, she decided to write full time. This was sidelined in 2019 when her legs had to be amputated to save her life from an infection. She picked writing back up during the 2020 lockdown. This is her first published short story.

The Sun shone bright on the frozen Earth. Aerosols, planted a generation ago by the hand of man, formed a reflective blanket in the upper atmosphere, preventing light and warmth from reaching the surface. Towering ice peaks plunged to meet tundra valleys. Some things crept, walked, flew, swam. In some areas a few things grew. All hid deep at night. All fought to survive.
The reflective blanket noted not the insertion of the man made oblong intruders, had no feelings when the oblongs broke into microscopic nanotech, no remorse for creating an ice age. So, there was no regret as the hungry unseen feasted. The aerosols nearest the oblongs were the first devoured. The atmospheric winds pushed them all around the Earth, widening the dinner table. More seats, with more to eat. Feeding like frenzied sharks, the hungry unseen ate enough aerosols that patches appeared in the reflective blanket. Opportunistic Sun beamed light and warmth through the holes.
On the surface, moving things looked up and squinted. Frozen peaks, stoic, refused to accept. Yet, as the holes widened and warmth returned each day, small tears formed on the peaks and joined into drips, then rivulets, then streams, flowing down to the tundra valleys. Something new peeked out of a cliff. It drank deeply of the light and water, stretched to touch the sky even as it reached down through newly exposed soil.
It grew a head, heavy, bowed, unseeing. Gradually, strength and endurance rallied. Its head came up, lifting to the new brightness of the Sun. Blades of white burst forth, uncurling, separating, the light opening it's eye. The video screen on the console captured the moment with light snow. The hungry unseen were yet feasting.
"Still getting interference, General Blue," M'lou frowned as she watched.
"You warned me there would be, Lieutenant niece." The general turned his smile to the young woman. "So, M'lou, how long before Earth's habitable again?"
M'lou brushed her long hair aside and shrugged. "Forty-five days at the latest. Though it was always habitable, it just wasn't agriculture friendly."
"What are you going to call it?" General Blue indicated the flower on the video screen.
"It already has a name. Narrow leaf campion." Satisfaction settled in, though, as she looked on it.
"You're a genius, M'lou."
With a shrug she looked at the smiling face of her uncle. "The nanotech was all ready to go. I just found a solution to the deployment issue."
"Either way, you ended our little man-made ice age. Finally we can get off this damned space station as planned and start rebuilding."
With a nod, M'lou sighed. There was always another project to work on. "Yes, sir. Now I just need to find a solution to the zombies."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Author Comments

I wrote this in December 2020 after a discussion with several people about what came next with a new president, with Covid-19 and with worsening climate disruption. I woke the next day from an odd dream of watching an ice age recede.

- Sandra Kleinschmitt
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