Evolving – The Speakeasy

***Warning: Mature Content***


Carl shuddered one final time, and then he rolled off Monique. His breath still came in long gasps as he turned to watch her breathing hard too. Sweat glistened like gems on her bare breasts and slipped down  to pool in a hollow on her belly. They could only make love in the evening when it was cooler in Africa. During the day it was too hot for their passion, so they made up for it with repeated, exhausting couplings in the evening. They had to. They were making a baby.

It wasn’t possible any longer in the US. Ever since the runaway greenhouse effect spun out of control, crops and economies—including America’s—had failed. Once the US could no longer feed it’s own populace, a two-child maximum limit became mandatory. Carl and Monique had two kids already, but they wanted more. They immigrated to Africa where many children were legal. With 23% of Africa’s population dead through starvation, war, and disease, African nations were happy to accept anyone who wanted to make more people.

The world was evolving.

In the morning, the husband and wife naturalists donned special suits, complete with airtight helmets, to keep them cool. In 2049, to walk across the birthplace, the cradle of all humankind, it was necessary for humans to wear a spacesuit.

They and hundreds of other scientists watched the wildebeests, zebras, and cape buffalo declining daily. Grasses and trees were failing in the unrelenting heat of the Serengeti. By extension, the grass-eaters failed too. Nothing could be done about it, certainly not in time. Scientists were simply there to witness the death of Africa’s great wildlife.

“Talked with my Grandpa,” said Monique as she scanned the horizon, looking for lions. A polarized lens protected her from the brilliant sunlight. They could go blind in two years without it.

“And?” asked Carl.

“He said…” she imitated him. “‘In my day, nobody left the US for a better life. They came here for that!'”

Carl snorted. The US government collapsed for about 3 years before rebounding with a military regime. It was doing better. Africa was worse off, but at least in Africa they could have all the children they wanted.

The lion population dwindled. In Africa’s current situation, with herbivores dying rapidly, the predator counts should’ve been swelling. The UNEP-WCMC* had dispatched the couple to find out why. “There!” called Carl. “I see one.”

“Three!” corrected Monique.

“What are they doing?” Before AGW, lions preferred hunting in the cooler nights, but in the modern Serengeti heat, it was impossible to hunt by day. The animals must have been starving.

“What are the zebras doing?” said Monique.

“We’re supposed to be watching the lions.”

“But look at them. Have you ever seen zebras with white heads?”

“That IS wierd. Like seeing a black fox. You know, it almost looks like they’re circling the lions.”

“Like a planned attac…oh my god!”

The naturalists looked on shock as a white-headed zebra charged into the stalking lions. It pulled up an instant before collision and kicked with its rear legs. The lion’s neck snapped, and it died instantly.

“I’ve never seen a zebra attack without provocation!” exclaimed Monique. But the zebras weren’t finished. More of them swooped in to attack the lions. The once great predators were baffled by this unexpected behavior, and unable to escape the circle of rampaging herbivores. In minutes, all three lions had been hunted down by the powerful, new species of zebra, and kicked to death.

“Tell me you’re recording this,” said Carl, his voice shaking.

“I am, and I still don’t believe it.”

In this rapidly evolving world, where herbivores had less and less to feed upon…zebras began to eat lions.

The zebras guarded their kills jealously. Vultures descended upon the lion corpses, prepared to feed in the middle of herbivores as they had for millions of years. The naturalists watched as a zebra snatched up one of the huge birds with powerful jaws. It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still. The couple wrote their reports in silence that night, too shocked to believe their findings. When they finally spoke, they wondered at what other changes the evolving world would bring.

Ten months later, sweat rolled down Monique’s breasts from her efforts. She sighed happily. At last, a sense of normalcy in their rapidly changing world. Their son, Ramsey, was born. She watched his face as he suckled, then recoiled, when a nictitating membrane flicked across Ramsey’s eyes.
Author’s Notes:
Nictitating Membrane is a semi-transparent extra-eyelid commonly found in reptiles and birds, but not in humans. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nictitating_membrane
*UNEP-WCMC: is a real organization. The website is here: http://www.unep-wcmc.org/
AGW = Anthropomorphic Global Warming (Global Warming amplified by human activity (e.g., CO2 and Methane)).

The Speakeasy is a weekly writing challenge where many talented writers join to compete for literary bragging rights. This week the sentence, “It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still,” must be used anywhere in the story. The prompt for this week can be found here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-159-open/

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
This entry was posted in Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Evolving – The Speakeasy

  1. AZ Gringa says:

    What a creepy, well told, and believable tale. Thanks for a great read, Eric!


  2. annbennett says:

    Now why would you want to have children with the world falling apart like that. Well written and hopefully will never happen, There is a show call 19 and counting in the States where this couple has 19 kids. If all 19 have 19 and so on, by 2049 it could happen.


    • EagleAye says:

      Well, I think the impulse to reproduce is a very powerful one, and the desire to have children might override the understanding that the world cannot support the children as well as it once did. I’m not thinking everyone would feel this way, but certainly some would. Wow, 19 kids? That’s just insane. That’s waaay overdoing it. Thanks for stopping in, Ann! 🙂


  3. jannatwrites says:

    Hey, I’m totally fine with a 2-kid limit, but the military regime… I dunno 🙂 Fascinating, the idea of zebras attacking lions- talk about adapting with the changing times. Oh, and way to end it on the creepy note with the membrane on the baby’s eyes!


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I don’t think I’d stand for a military regime either. The two kid limit is okay for me too, just not for Carl and Monique. I’ve imagined a world like this many times and always wanted to write about it. Glad you liked the ending. I like finishing with a zinger if I can manage it. Thanks much for stopping in, Janna!


  4. peggyshope says:

    evolution indeed! herbivores turning on carnivores and babies mutating with reptilian features! Much of your story seems quite plausible, and all of it was well written and very entertaining.


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I almost titled this one “upside down” because this future world seems like it’s been turned upside down. I’m glad you found it plausible and entertaining. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your ideas. 🙂


  5. Bastet says:

    Lovely…liked how you twisted nature!


  6. Suzanne says:

    Ooh, so creepy! Nature does have a way of protecting itself and it’s not always pretty. Humans would do well to remember that. Love the imagery in this and I adore your killer ending! 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      You are so right. The forces of life do whatever it takes no matter what our views of the aesthetics. Glad you liked the ending. I was hoping it would be a real zinger. Thanks so much, Suzanne!


  7. Christine says:

    I love a good post-apocalyptic story! The baby at the end was the creepiest part, for sure.


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I thought it was pretty creepy too. Although, the notion of zebras eating lions is still pretty strange to me. Thanks much for stopping in!


  8. EditMoi says:

    Rampaging herbivores, awesome. Great ending, too. I see you’re branching out into NatGeo specials. 😉


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha. I don’t think these zebras can be “broken” quite so easily as their horse bretheren. Imagine trying to ride a horse that might likely eat you! I love NatGeo. I watch it all the time. Seeing how powerful zebras are led me to wonder what zebras could do if they really wanted to kill off the lions. It seems to me, they could do it rather easily. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!


  9. Natalie DeYoung says:

    This is terrifying. It’s like reading H.G. Wells mashed with Orwell…


  10. tedstrutz says:

    This is one of your best!


  11. Shey says:

    Scary and well-written story of how the world might be if we don’t take care of it. Well at least, we know humans would find some way to adapt too.


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