“There was a time when things were different.” The old man began as our cohort settled in on the floor in front of him. “In my youth we could move about freely above ground, without the gear and precautions needed today.”
Reaching up with a weathered hand, he brushed the leaves of one of the many hanging plants in the room.
“Plants like these grew everywhere, not just in the rare sheltered area. The weather while far from mild was nothing like what those who have to venture up experience. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter, the seasons were generally predictable.”
Pausing to feed one of the colorful birds he kept as pets, the storyteller grinned briefly lost in thought.
“At one time the land we now live under was some of the most productive farmland in the world. All that changed as the weather became increasingly unpredictable. With the growing seasons a mess it didn’t matter how good the land was if the crops couldn’t grow fully.”
“With the decrease in plants, the extreme winds would blow away the soil. This evolved into the great dust storms that we must contend with in the warmer months, as well as the wind-driven cold and snow of the winter.”
The light in the room brightened, more sunlight coming in through the light pipes.
“Ah, looks like the crew has cleared another of the intakes. If you see one of them remember to thank them. Surface work is one of the toughest jobs we have.”
This story was written for Speakeasy #147. It takes place in a new (unnamed) setting I’m playing around with, I’ll be posting other pieces in the setting as they develop.