Sunday Shorts—Breathe Deep, Breathe Free by Jennifer Marie Brissett

coverOne of the flash fiction stories in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, this one struck hard and quick. The narrative unfolds around an ecological disaster of some sort (it’s not entirely clear how it began, but the end result is a “coating” on everything outside, and the creep of the toxin into the air and water of communities.

People are soon sealed into their own homes, going out only in protective gear. Families fracture. Deliveries from organizations—clean water—create a band-aid non-solution while the larger world refuses to care about something impacting the marginalized.

This is so many crises told with a fantastic science fiction lens—Flint, Indigenous communities, you name it— and it is done through text messages between two characters, one of whom is losing patience with waiting for the system and people in power to do anything real to help them. It ends on a note that struck me as both hopeful and so very disappointingly true to life, and that’s a fantastic balance to strike.

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