The winning story for February’s Solarpunk Womxn micro fiction contest is
“The Candidate” by Anna Ziegelhof. You can read the story below!
by Anna Ziegelhof
“What was it like?” I asked my guides after we had concluded our tour of the exhibit halls and were now sitting at a table in the memorial’s gardens, with tea. My mind was made up. I was going to join the historian-witnesses. My guides had tested my resolve. They had spoken truthfully to me all day.
“The procedure itself, a needle prick,” the older woman said.
“The memories grow slowly,” the younger one added. “Like a life.”
“Except the cataclysmic moments.”
“Those appear, like—” the younger guide slammed her palms on the table.
I had seen the displays of extinction, desolation, cruelty many times; on school trips, during my internship, during my tour today. Every time I walked the darkened exhibits, the same desperate sinking feeling gnawed at me.
“What is it like?” I asked.
“There will be nightmares.”
“Terrible pain. Terror. Depression.”
“But you will have words for those feelings.”
“And you will be called upon to testify on behalf of the dead.”
“Though the exit is…”
“… even more…”
“…yes,” I sighed.
The exit. From the dark exhibit halls, visitors step out onto a floating terrace, blink into sunlight. The air is fragrant with the scents of pine and rosemary. There’s bird song. The ocean glitters in the distance. The landscape is green, the city verdant, the sky endless. The difference is startling.
“Will the world ever seem real again?”
“The world will seem like it is forever growing out of its past.”