She was eleven years old and read books college professors found taxing, but she had never spoken a word. She looked out the window.
A gleaming metropolis, edged by a sprawl of neat lanes with freshly planted trees, each lined with a customized, uniform house. Beyond are smaller townships and people with affectations of rural life: practiced drawls and feigned luddism. Further still, a few genuine farms run by overall-strap corporations and straw hat multinationals. A patch of genuine wilderness. Fences around rock formations.
The machine works on assumptions. Belief powers the cogs and the cogs automate the daily grind. Assume the sun won’t click off. Believe the ground won’t fall away. Predicate existence on the low-sample-size status quo. Talk about short-sighted as if the long view ten year forecast were not mathematically indistinguishable.
Devastation is measured by the consumer. Tolerance for extinction is dependent upon public relations, and the girl saw it all. More than data, she saw connections and referential interactions folded back on themselves.
She placed a hand on the window and felt the warmth of the day.
“Here it comes,” she said. It was momentous. No one heard. She began to hum.