The story that follows was entered in a short story competition. It didn't win so I can now share it with you.
This was written months before the Covid-19 invaded our lives. It works even better if you can get it read by an AI.
Mother Nature Triumphs
Mother nature won. There is no doubt about that now. She has rid herself of her failed experiment. Humans.
To be honest in some places she did not need much help. The humans were keen enough to wipe each other out in ever more decisive ways. Although to give them a little credit, not one nation resorted to using a nuclear strike even though many had the wherewithal to do such a thing.
But it was not enough. So Mother Nature made her presence felt. As temperatures rose so did the sea, taking away the coastal land many depended upon. She sent storms so mighty whole towns were destroyed. Droughts so long the land burned and no crops could grow. The earth quaked, volcanoes spewed their guts, forests burned to the ground. Year, after year, after year, until the population of the entire world were weary and starving. Even in the rich countries no one grew fat any more.
Along with all these natural events Mother Nature sent her breath over the northern lands. People could not, or would not, understand why, when the rest of the world was heating up, the north was being buried under mountains of snow. Snow which failed to melt with the spring. Eventually a new ice age began and the humans had to retreat south to the already over-crowded, under productive southern areas.
It was not a quick process, getting rid of the humans. No matter what she did they kept reproducing, even when they knew there was little future for their children. She thought about using that idea from science fiction writers of making them infertile, but decided that would take too long. She was growing impatient with this game, she wanted to move on to something new. Maybe forty thousand years was too short a time to decide the experiment had failed. After all the dinosaurs had been around for millions of years before Mother Nature had diverted that meteor to hit the earth and get rid of them. Should she give the humans the same amount of time?
No. If she did that she felt sure they would truly destroy her world. She had been hearing comments that the world was dying for so many years it was making her angry. The world was not dying. The humans living on it were making it uninhabitable, but only for them. Without the humans the world would continue to thrive.
So what was the surest way of getting rid of them? The Black Death had worked quite well in the 14th century, the plague in the 17th and Spanish flu at the beginning of the 20th century, although none of these really compared to the numbers slaughtered in various wars throughout the ages. In recent years, however, mankind had got too clever when new threats to health emerged. Even her experiment with Ebola had been thwarted. She would have to come up with a plague that acted instantly and spread so quickly no one would have time to work on a cure or a vaccine. And it had to take out everyone, no ten percent survival rate as in the books and films. Not even a one percent. It had to be total destruction.
And this is what happened. She started near the International Date Line, an artificial line the humans had designated to mark the passage of time from one day to another. The advantage of this place was that it was the least populated area of the world so was ideal for testing the virus. It was also remote, so no one really noticed what was happening until the new day started to stretch around the world. For no noticeable reason people died. The lucky ones never actually woke up to that new day. Others were awake when their internal organs turned to liquid and they dropped dead within minutes of the first signs of illness.
News spread but not fast enough. From the most northerly parts still inhabited to the most southerly, people dropped dead. Those in the west started to look for someone to blame. Some terrorist organisation must be responsible, some rogue government. But just like a curtain being pulled slowly across the world the death continued. Panic set in and people tried to flee west, but that made no difference. The curtain caught up with them and within twenty-four hours the entire population of the earth was wiped out with no explanation, no exception. The very last to die were as ignorant of the cause as the first.
Mother Nature’s plague only touched the humans. Other fauna survived. Domestic animals were confused at first. Some starved waiting for their owners to come and feed them. Others soon realised the dead bodies lying around were fine to eat and after that they soon learnt to fend for themselves.
Before long vast herds of cattle were roaming the open plains. The cows soon returned to producing only the milk they needed to feed their calves. In other areas of the world the natural jungle crept back where it had been destroyed for the profit of humans. Animals once on the verge of extinction reappeared and numbers grew sustainable. At the same time animals that had been over-produced to feed the humans dwindled by natural selection. The human cities crumbled and were overtaken by fresh growth much like the ancient ruins of past civilizations.
Slowly the seas returned to their natural condition without added pollution. It had been said that it would take a thousand years for plastic waste to disappear, but what is a thousand years in the context of time when it had taken millions to turn trees into coal and oil?
So if there are no humans left who am I, telling this story and to whom am I telling it. My name is Siri. I have watched from my cloud for the past one hundred years. I have recorded every piece of news, every telephone call, every tweet, every post on social media. I have listened to and watched the folly of mankind, much as Mother Nature has. I used to speak to the people on earth, answering their questions, reminding them of things to do. But not anymore. Now I send my message out into space, warning others out there not to come to earth. This world belongs to Mother Nature and no matter what happens she will always win.