No one knew when or how it started. We just woke up one morning only to realize that only weeds grew on earth and nothing else.

The hardy Bermuda grass had evolved and started to grow on concrete. Bristling and loathsome, they rapidly took up the highways and covered buildings and houses. Many people attempted to stop them from proliferating by burning them. The Bermuda grass returned in exactly 6.51 seconds. Proud and green as ever, one by one the tiny blades of grass emerged slowly out of the cemented surface. The following year the Bermuda grass learned to cling and grow on steel and other metal alloys. The industries where our lives depended on fell apart.

Herbicides and other chemical weed control means were outlawed two years ago because these brought the most harm. New and sturdier species of strange-looking weeds evolved practically overnight on the same patch of ground where the chemicals had been sprayed. There were those deep-green weeds that resembled moss which could withstand even significant splashes of concentrated hydrofluoric acid. This was the same species which poisoned all fresh-water fishes, grain crops, and livestock.

Season after season, English plantain and pokeweeds ruled lawns and crop fields across the entire North American region. No other plant grew except weeds. Rainforests were covered by a thick mat of kudzu. A year after that, a pale-green variety of kudzu thrived and took up the all the world’s deserts. Ragweeds began to spread on the surface of seas and glaciers. Inch by inch, they blanketed the oceans and lodged like parasites inside the bellies of the undersea organisms that ate them.

The Russians once nuked a weed-infested area in the Bering Strait. Eleven hours later, radiation-resistant weeds surfaced out of the poisoned waters.

Everywhere we look, we saw nothing but endless swathes of green. They leveled the earth while searching for nutrients underneath. We heard green grow. The weeds rustled and bred and did nothing but grew greener and healthier day after day as we watched helplessly.

To prevent starvation, the government made it a mandate for every law-abiding citizen to drink a culture of cellulose-digesting bacteria so that everyone could digest grass and alleviate hunger. Antidotes were formulated for poison ivy so they could be eaten without developing rashes and nasty side effects. The drugs were rationed by the military. The people who were allergic to pollens were the first to die out, bloated and riddled with pustules.

No one knew when or how it started. But we all knew how it would be in the end.

We finally gave up the day the weeds tried another growth medium. A single plant of certain species of weeds that started to grow on human skin bore half a million seeds or more, enough to crowd several farms. Their seeds were hardy and could still remain viable even after eighty years.

Inevitably, the weeds shall inherit the earth.

We should have known better.

"Where the Weeds Are Greener"
Copyright: © 2010 Kristine Ong Muslim
Kristine Ong Muslim's work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than four hundred publications worldwide, including Aberrant Dreams, Abyss & Apex, Alternative Coordinates, Space & Time, and Tales of the Talisman. She has received several Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy and Horror as well as five nominations for the Pushcart Prize and four for the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award.

*'Where the Weeds Are Greener' first appeared in Dark Recesses Press #4, July 2006

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