Since the apocalypse, we are all in search of new skins.
People troll dark places. Shadows are temporary havens where we tread in foul clouds. Withered forests roil underfoot, eager to pull us down.
The youngest amongst our group are the most vicious–toddlers who don’t know how to play gentle. We watch them wild-eyed, this new breed of evil gnomes, shredding each other with their claws and fang teeth grown unwieldy.
We’ve had all the time in the world to make sense of our destruction, yet the experts’ answers have kept us confused. Some say we had the wrong world leaders, that we gagged the environment, that we were greedy or not greedy enough.
We’re told there is a way out if we are reasonable.
There are abundant solutions but no one has the right password. The world is too gray to see, its people forever distracted.
So, our old dermis shrinks more each day, pain and pressure squeezing our skulls. We scurry and scratch, searching in panic for new skins.
When we find loaves in a shed, a happy wailing goes up.
As we eat, one wise person points to the faded wall sketch—a portrait, a seven, a series of numbers. We’ve seen it before, years ago, in a dream or book, heard it recited from someone’s animated lips, but now another of us finds a great cache of soup cans, so we wail again, we hoot, we set about making fire.