Sandbox - Jessica Patient

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by Jessica Patient

Sand collapses under each step, trying to capture and pull me under. It’s becoming harder to escape its grainy clutches. I clamber my way through the meshed branches. This used to be woodlands but now it’s another desert with only treetops sticking out of the ground. Sand starts trickling from the bulging golden-tinted clouds. There isn’t even time to moisten my cracked lips with a sip from my last water bottle. Grains jab my skin.

Some say it was China who first fired cloud-seeding pellets into the sky. Everyone rejoiced when they cured the droughts. But then deserts started shrinking. Rain turned to sand. Great drifts swept through cities. One-storey homes were buried, lost in orange hazes. Panic spread like bacteria. People claimed skyscrapers, stockpiled food and nested in boardrooms. It became a scramble to reach the highest point. Water became the new currency.