Diary From The Third Millennium by Thomas Waller
London is now three roundabouts. Each connected, each the same. All roads only lead to or from these roundabouts. No escape. But they’re big. Really big. London is now England and maybe even Europe. No one has settled anywhere, we all just keep driving, searching for somewhere else. Years, months, days. The sun is so bright you can’t see inside the other cars. Just shifting, abstract reflections, on the metal and on the glass. Radio is now one long transmission of the sounds you once heard on building sites. Stand clear, vehicle reversing. I pass people I can’t know, moving toward where they came from. No one stops. You must not stop. You could cause a crash, a domino effect of crashes, if the car directly behind you drives into your rear, and the car behind the car that crashed into you does the same, the effect could go on for miles, across borders, countries, who knows, perhaps even for eternity. I will not take this chance. Nor will anyone else. This is understood. Though I admit boredom has become a problem. For me. I suspect and hope for everyone else as well. Pneumatic drills, the rich sound of shuffled rubble. This is all I know. And this is stressful, I think. So I escape, which is to say nothing, because we are all escaping, I think, but I stare at the other cars that drive past me and I see the reflection of my own car’s image, geometric and fleeting, and the dull sky looks down, and the sun is so bright I can’t see inside the other cars, and I escape. I think of steel people and glass tundra in the third millennium.
Thomas Waller is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham researching Portuguese-language African literatures and cinemas with a particular focus on Angola and Mozambique. An aspiring writer of poetry and flash fiction, his literary and academic interests range from postcolonial theory and eco-poetics to materialist theories of world literature.
Enter the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize here.