Word Prompt: Results | Story Prompt: from the book “The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“The earth was broken. Too much taking for too damn long, so she finally broke. But she went out like a wild horse, bucking off as much as she could before lying down. A melting North meant the water levels rose and the weather changed. It changed to violence in some cases, building tsunamis, spinning tornados, crumbling earthquakes, and the shapes of countries were changed forever, whole coasts breaking off like crust.

“And all those pipelines in the ground? They snapped like icicles and spewed bile over forests, into lakes, drowning whole reserves and towns. So much laid to waste from the miscalculation of infallibility in the face of a planet’s revolt.

“People died in the millions when that happened. The ones that were left had to migrate inward. It was like the second coming of the boats, so many sick people and not enough time to organize peacefully.

“But the powers that be still refused to change and bent the already stooped under the whips of a schedule made for a population twice its size and inflated by the need to rebuild. Those that were left worked longer, worked harder. And now the sun was gone for weeks at a time. The suburban structure of their lives had been upended. And so they got sicker, this time in the head. They stopped dreaming. And a man without dreams is just a meaty machine with a broken gauge.”

***

excerpt from “CJ School – Part II” – MEC 2013

“Hey Monik, do you want to check with your parents and see  if you can come back with us? There’s a barbecue for all the kids back at school, and you’re welcome to join us if you’d like…”

I can’t believe my ears – I look over in astonishment at Dorothy, and she and some other girls are laughing at me – again.

“So go ask!” she tells me.

“Yes!!”  I answer back. “Do you want to come with me and see my house?”

Dorothy nods and, suddenly re-energized, we break into a run – this time with me in  the lead. We zip along the trail and across Tetroe Road right into my driveway.

“This is my house,” I explain. “Oh, and those are some of my brothers.  I’ll just find my mom – be right back!”

I leave Dorothy standing awkwardly in the yard. My brothers glance up briefly from the game they are playing but quickly lose interest. I’m only gone a second or two and come running back out, the kitchen screen door slamming sharply behind me. I’m not sure if Mom already knew what was coming, but obtaining approval was quick.

I’m still in running mode, and Dorothy jumps into step beside me. I’m feeling shy and nervous the farther away we move from my house. Dorothy hasn’t said much and I wonder what its going to be like over at the school.

“What’s it like?” I suddenly ask her. “The school, I mean, is it fun? My older sisters  got to go to boarding school in Winnipeg when they were little, I wish I got to do that, too. There would be so many girls to play with all the time, and a uniform to wear so you didn’t have to worry about clothes…”

My voice trails off as I realize she hasn’t said anything. She’s just kind of looking at me, like something hurts her somewhere, but then it’s gone and she’s laughing at me again.

“All those brothers, no wonder!” she says.

By this time, we’ve caught up with the rest of the girls and we walk in little bunches along the road, laughing and talking, all the way back to their school, back to CJ School.

This is the first time I’ve been so close to the school, walking up the driveway and past the tall chain fence. There’s a bustle of activity today, I don’t remember ever seeing so many people out in the yard. I have a million questions, but we’ve been out playing in the pit all day and running around, and now the lake  beckons – a  lake with a Jumping Rock.

We kick off shoes and socks, and into the lake we go with everything else on.  The water is beautiful. Although its a small lake, it’s very deep and stays refreshing on a hot day.  There’s a small jack pine beside the rock with the ragged end of a rope still attached, and I try to jump up and catch it for a bit of a swing.

“That tree would be perfect for a rope swing,” I announce, like no-one has ever thought of THAT before, and Dorothy suddenly just pushes me into the water. I come up laughing and she’s in right beside me, frowning.

“We’re not allowed to have a rope swing,” she explains, but it’s lost on me.

Glancing around, I notice one of the older girls glaring at me and I swim unceremoniously back over to the rock. I climb out and find myself a space on the warm rock where we’ve lined up like a catch of trout.

“Sorry,” I say, not looking anywhere now, not sure where I’ve found myself. I realize there’s something else going on here, although I’m not sure what. Dorothy looks over at me and she can see it’s my time to feel awkward.

“C’mon,” she says, finally. “Let’s go find out what’s to eat.”

***

It’s now early July and it’s getting hot. Too hot. As a heat dome moves slowly across Canada, teaching us new terms like “wet-bulb temperatures” and “fire whirls”, and leaving behind many souls who were not able to escape from forest fires or the heat and humidity, we look for shelter and ways to cool down and perhaps we also seek ways to change the direction our world seems to be headed.

Books like “The Marrow Thieves” (referenced above) and the famous “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood warn us of what “could be”. They reflect on what has happened and what is happening now, and encourage us to consider where those events might take us. It seems at times that they are telling our future, that there is no way out. And yet we see, if we can only take collective action, it is possible that together we can change the trajectory we are on.

What do you think about stories like these? Do they give you hope? Share your thoughts below!

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