I was 4 when the comet came. At first everyone was worried about it hitting the planet. I couldn’t sleep for a week but mom and dad told me that the best scientists in the world had announced that the comet would narrowly miss us. Sometimes, I wish it had hit us. We’d all have been better off.
The eggheads were right about one thing, the comet did narrowly miss us for all the good that did. As it passed, it seeded some sort of dust into the atmosphere. Scientists had always puzzled over rapid climate change. Turns out folks were right to fear comets.
First, the planet started to get hot. Really hot. The ice caps melted, flooding coastal cities and driving the population inland. Also, some life seemed to thrive, while others started to get sick. All sorts of diseases no one had ever heard of, or that were only supposed to affect certain animals, started to spread like wildfire.
Plants, insects and disease went wild, while mammals started to get sicker and sicker. That included most of us.
By the time I was 10, the jungle was everywhere. Mom and dad were dead. Mom got carried off by Crawler Ants and dad was got by a Jumper. Strung him up in its web right in the center of oldtown and slowly drained his corpse. Then it planted its eggs in him to finish off what was left. I think I was never so happy when those eggs hatched and, after cleaning dad’s corpse, ate their mom.
When I was 15, we had a meeting in the center of oldtown. The adults, what was left of them, were determined to stay. They didn’t know any other way to live. Cities had always been safer. Jamie said that was suicide, that the only place with any real cover was the jungle. Old man Fisher smacked him right across the face.
Well that night, me, Jamie and a bunch of the others left and moved into the trees in the deep jungle. In the treetops, we still had to worry about Jumpers but the crawlers didn’t bother coming up after us. They had other prey down at ground level and had their wars with other Crawler Hills to worry on.
The first 10 years in the tops were the hardest but after that we learned how to use the jungle to our advantage. Turns out the smell of the bitterfruit repelled the jumpers. We set up boiler pots outside Top Town to keep them out of town and eating the fruit made your sweat stink, which kept them away altogether.
This is my final statement, my last duty to the tribe. The arrow of a cannibal man nicked me last week and the infection is killing me. I write this so the young ones will remember the past and learn.
This is Jane Williams, age 46, lead hunter of Top Town, the last civilized tribe of east.