The first dystopic setting I remember reading is Camazotz. It didn’t register as a dystopic at the time (probably because I had no concept for what a dystopia was) but the idea of a place where everything was the same, where one person’s difference and struggle was something to be feared and stamped out, stuck with me. As I got older and dystopias became more common reading for me (The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, The Hunger Games, and so on), I found that there was something about them that wasn’t really working for me. Where was the rebuilding? What kind of hope could I have when these stories were about how terrible the world was, not what it could become?
I try my damnedest to be an optimist. I have to. While I love to see the oppressive past destroyed (looking at you, The Last Jedi), I also want to see what comes next. It isn’t enough for me to know that it’s gone; I want to know where the story goes next, how we recover, how we start again. I want to see what grows up between the cracks.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(v.) from Latin hedera, the genus for ivy
To crown or decorate with ivy.
They planted seeds to make the castle beautiful. Roses, ivy, oaks, which would someday tower over the castle, casting shade over the gardens and tempting ladies to sip lemonade beneath their branches.
They grow, and the plants grow too. The walls survive cannon fire, battering rams, six coups, and a rebellion that leaves the lawn burned black. But the plants thrive, creeping up the walls, slipping tendrils into cracks, wedging into mortar and stone until there’s nowhere they can’t reach.
When the walls crumble, it’s not to fire or metal. It’s to ivy and roses, crushing stone bit by bit.