What if words were kept in a library, and you had to check them out if you wanted to use them? Would they all be alphebetized, or would they be listed by subject? Would there be a roped off Adult section at the back? Would there be metal and wood dividers to keep the words upright? Would the words have covers to keep them from fading? Would there be an oversize section? Could you put a hold on a word so only you could use it? How long would it be before you had to return it? What would the late fees be like? Would there be a cardboard box near the door full of old words no one wanted, that you could rifle through on your way out? Would there be a shelf full of popular words that famous people recommend? Would people browse the shelves to find a word they like, then retreat to a secluded corner of the library to study it? Would there be word stores, word clubs, high school word reports, illegal word pirating sites? Classic words, banned words? Would everyone be quieter? How on earth would you write anything?
Why Did We Leave Earth?
Note: This was inspired by @AdmiralFoxx 's challenge by the same name.
It was simple, really. They offered us a win-win situation. Come live with and work for Them while They took care of our planet and cleaned up the royal mess we'd made. We only had a select list of jobs to choose from, and we couldn't increase our population beyond the current number. But what did that matter? Finally, a safe, stable society where you could make a living and raise a family. It had seemed like ages since that had been a possibility. The applications flooded in. They actually had to refuse entry to anyone for a period of time while They built more transports to handle the influx. Of course, by the time They were done, the number of applicants had increased by staggering proportions.
The best part was that, after a few centuries of careful tending and rehabilitation, our planet would be returned to us a blank slate. All our mistakes could be erased in a guilt free, painless business deal. The common people had always seemed to carry most of the guilt about humanity's failures and were happy to leave their land to their saviours, preserving their lives, their futures, and their consciences instead. At first, governments and large corporations counted this a blessing, reclaiming the abandoned property and pulling in enormous profits. Eventually, though, as countries emptied themselves of people, companies had no one to sell to and governments had no one to rule. Within a relatively small number of years, our planet was virtually empty. Some of the people in the wealthier parts of the world opted to stay. They divided into sects and nations. For a while, the remaining human civilization devolved into chaos as people fought for control of the earth. That ended when They began the rehabilitation of the earth. The remaining humans on earth simply disappeared. The humans who had moved to another planet, to start a new life with virtually no repercussions, discovered that there was truly no such thing as a free lunch.
Isolated and self-centred, humanity never learned about the laws that governed our universe. Little did we know that those without a planet had no rights, no influence, and no authority. We had, in essence, sold our birthright for a bowl of soup. They had our planet; They could do whatever they liked with it. They honoured the agreement every human had signed with them and continued cleaning the earth while giving us jobs in their society. However, we ended up with the uncomfortable, messy jobs, and since there was no time limit to how long They could take fixing the earth, They were under no obligation to give it back to us anytime soon. We soon lost all hope that they ever would. Our lives weren't that bad: everyone was guaranteed a job with a reasonable wage, and those who couldn't work were provided for. But we had lost our pride. We owned nothing, we had authority over nothing, we belonged nowhere. It was heartbreaking. For some, it was too much to handle. The question in everyone's minds was: Why did we ever leave?
Why? Because it was easy.
What did you say?
"What did you say?" You clench your fists and glance around for something to throw. There's a heavy lamp next to you. Your fingers close around the cool enamel, feeling a surge of satisfaction at having a weapon in your hand. You look up, eyes slitted, vision blurry. He's sitting in the armchair across from you, utterly relaxed. As you watch, a smile flits across his face. You explode. A cry rips from your throat as you hurl the lamp at his smug face, then you're up and running from the room. You bump haphazardly through the winding hallway, searching for a phone, a friendly face, some respite- but when the smiling receptionist comes into view, you bolt past her and out the door. You check uncertainly, the glass door swinging shut behind you. The summer air hits you head on and you pause to take everything in. The cars whizzing by, the scent of petrol and sunscreen, the ladies in wide-brimmed felt hats and men in khaki shorts. You look around nervously.
On your right, the brick sidewalk slopes down a large hill to a neighbourhood of white stucco condos. To the left, the hill seems to go up forever; endless novelty shops and boulevard trees. The light at the nearest stop turns green. A bus rumbles down the hill and hisses to a stop in front of you. You check your pockets. You're out of change. You glance up to see the bus driver looking at you quizzically through the open door. You have a young face; if you ask him, you know he'll let you on for free. Your mind goes back to the room you just escaped from. You left your bag behind; it was on the small side table beside the lamp. You could have thrown that instead. You feel a sudden agonizing twinge of guilt. You waver for a moment. Then, deliberately, you shove your feelings away and step up onto the bus.
"Where are you going?" It's the bus driver. You smile sadly.
"As far as I can."