Duurzame Student brings to you, a fictional story on what a day in 2050 might look like assuming that our climate goals are not achieved. In honor of Earth Day, writers from MESA are raising awareness through their stories on our possible future if the climate crisis isn’t taken seriously .
THE LIGHTHOUSE | By: Femke Hoornstra
I turned the bright-red apple around in my hand, while staring at the television.
“Do you think that they’re telling the truth?” I wondered.
“Heavens, why wouldn’t they be, darling?”
May 3rd, 2050
I held my breath as the door slowly unlocked with a soft pop.
I quickly looked over my shoulder and swallowed, sure that someone had seen me.
You could never be too careful.
They are everywhere.
When I didn’t see anyone in the darkness, I slipped inside with a flashlight in my hand. I had learned not to turn it on immediately, but it could be useful if the fridges no longer had working lights or if the cupboards were too dirty to properly search.
When I entered, I saw that the floor of the hall was made of flawless marble, a sign that the house had belonged to the rich in the Old Days.
My heart started to beat a little faster, hopeful.
Maybe I will finally find something to eat here.
It had been three days since I had gotten a proper meal at the Lighthouse, where everyone who had been left homeless due to the climate crisis could go for shelter and supplies, which were scarce.
This was nothing new. Ever since the floods, everything had been scarce, particularly food. Many died because of it. Not the rich, of course. They still got to eat. They were only now dining in their brand-new land houses and villa’s far away from the possible danger zones. Every Tuesday, their leftovers were brought to places such as the Lighthouse and we got to fight over the scraps. Sometimes you won, sometimes you didn’t. Losing meant not eating. That was how the Lighthouse worked.
I had never liked losing, but I couldn’t fight all the desperate souls at the Lighthouse, so I tried to beat the game by finding my own scraps at night. Sadly, I wasn’t the only one and I was forced to look over my shoulder at every turn to avoid being robbed.
I tiptoed through the hall. Would there be anything here? Beans maybe? Or soup? My stomach growled at the thought, begging me to search faster. I stopped in my tracks when I heard a soft, scratching sound. Was that the floor
creaking? Or something else? I looked around. The staircase was empty and the only movement I saw were the branches of the trees which were dancing in the wind with the moon as their spotlight.
Please don’t let anyone be here.
It remained quiet.
With a sigh I continued walking and eventually found the kitchen on the right-hand side. I prayed before I opened the fridge, begging for some food, any food. I had to squint my eyes at the unexpected working lights in the fridge. To my surprise, the shelves of the fridge were quite full.
Cheese, ham – even fruit. They were all there.
I swallowed as I saw the apples. I had not seen those since I had watched television with my mother years ago. A wave of nostalgia rolled over me as I thought back to the moment I had asked her if she thought that the world leaders who said that there was nothing to worry about were telling the truth.
Her reply echoed through my mind.
“Heavens, why wouldn’t they be, darling?”
What a joke.
Someone slammed the door to the hallway shut and I jumped.
“What are you doing in my house?” There was a woman standing only a few meters away from me. She was about twenty years old, same as me, but unlike me her clothes, hair and skin were clean. She had a black fire poker in her hand, pointed at me. “Speak!”
I took a step backwards and started thinking of ways out. The door to the hallway was too far away and all the windows were closed. “I – I’m sorry. I thought that the house was abandoned –”
“Sure, of course you did,” she replied sarcastically as she quickly studied me. “Where are you from?”
“E – excuse me?” I stuttered.
“My guess is that you are from one of the Camps,” she said as if it were an insult.
“No, I’m not,” I answered automatically. It was dangerous to have the rich know where you lived. She laughed as she took a step forward. “What, are you going to claim you’re from my neighbourhood? Do you think I’m stupid? Who on Earth would believe such a thing?”
“Please, just let me leave,” I replied weakly. I hated how helpless I sounded.
My tone made her look at me again. She lowered the fire poker. “You’re desperate. Aren’t you?”
“Let me go,” I begged. “Please.”
She swallowed, looking from the open fridge to my face.
In an instant, I realised that our places could have easily been traded. We were about the same age. We grew up in a world before everything had gone to Hell. Maybe, in another life, we could have been friends.
“No,” she replied after a few seconds. “Not until you take some food with you.” I froze. “What?”
“You heard me. Take it.”
After a few seconds, I grabbed some things from the fridge without looking away from the woman’s face. She stood there, like a statue, looking at my movements.
I kept staring at her face before slowly walking past her.
When I was in the hallway, I ran away towards the front door, my heart pounding in my chest. I didn’t look back at the house as I closed the door behind me.
I was aware that the world had turned into a monster, and it would only be a matter of time before it would come to finish me.
That was so much worse. It was like a light in a sea of darkness. It gave me hope that I was not alone. That someday, things might get better.
That humanity hadn’t died a long time ago.