From dailyprompt: “like a phoenix from the ashes;”
Planners’verse, before the Event.
“…and, when the world has fallen, we will rise!” Adrian pounded his fist on the table. He’d always fancied himself an orator, and even in his nineties, his voice was still strong. “We will rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.”
“No,” Jasmine snapped. “Not like a phoenix.” The table of geriatric leaders fell silent at her rudeness; into the gap they left, she plowed on. “Phoenixes rise the same as they died. They don’t change, they don’t evolve. And they’re mythical. No. Let’s plan to rise changed but whole, a seed of a new world, the core and the nutrients needed to grow into something completely different.”
Across the table, Oliver coughed. “It seems like you’re putting a lot of weight on a metaphor, Jasmine. It’s just a way of speaking.”
“The way we speak of something informs our thoughts on it, as you should damn well know, Oliver Hannaford.”
Next to Oliver, Geoffrey cackled. “She’s got you there, Hannaford.”
“Damnit, Red, don’t encourage her, she’ll just keep going.” The days when Geoffrey had any hair, much less the red hair of his childhood, were long gone, but they’d all known each other at least that long. Nicknames stuck, just like old mindsets and old habits. Jasmine coughed, hoping she could use this old habit to her advantage for once.
“I might,” she admitted, her tone softening. Suzanna and Eugenia gave her sharp looks, but she knew what she was doing. She wasn’t senile yet. “I know I can go on and on, gentlemen, when I get excited. And it’s not all that good for me to get excited anymore.” But she could see in their eyes that at least a couple of them remembered when she’d been a lot more exciting. “I’m just worried, you know. About the grandchildren.”
Bless her heart, Suzanna picked up the cue. “It won’t be in our time, you know,” she agreed, shifting her body posture so you could almost see a crocheted shawl draped around her bony shoulders. She made it sound believable, even though the optimistic projections put the catastrophic even in their children’s time and the pessimistic ones had it well within what was left of the Elder’s collective dotage. “It will be our grandchildren that have to pick up the pieces. And, really, if the world has gotten bad enough that it falls apart, why would we want to bring it back just the same?” She plowed on over the objection Oliver was thinking of making. “We have a chance to rebuild.”
“To redecorate,” Eugenia picked up.
“To remake the world as we want it,” Jasmine finished. She could see the light shining in the men’s eyes. Adrian nodded slowly, coughed, and looked back down at his notes.
“…and, when the world has fallen,” he restarted, ramping back up like a champion, “we will rise, the seeds we have planted growing into a new world, a better world. We will rise like a mighty oak.”
Jasmine folded her hands over her stomach and smiled.
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