An anxious, asthmatic boy gets recruited by a girl from the future to launch a climate strike big enough to rewrite history.
My chest, like the future, was burning. Still I ran up the mountain trail. The inhaler in my pocket could open my lungs, flood me with sweet, cool oxygen. But not yet. I reached for the other pocket instead. Mom’s phone.
I stopped running, opened YouTube, and hit record:
“I know how the world ends.” I wheezed. “Just ran up Martic Pinnacle… but I’m not supposed to run. Because an asthma attack… like the one I’m having now… can kill me.”
I pointed Mom’s phone over the mountain’s edge, toward the coal-burning power plant in the distance.
“Those smokestacks… are why I need this inhaler. But this inhaler… can’t protect me forever.”
I mic-dropped the inhaler for dramatic effect. With struggling lungs, I told YouTube everything I’d learned about the climate apocalypse that the coal plant had already started.
“If the storms don’t get you, something else will. A plague. A drought. A war. When the world breaks down, it won’t be the weather that kills me, either. It’s gonna be the asthma.” I gasped. “We are running. Out. Of time.”
DONE. I hit publish and dove for my inhaler. But it was gone—bounced right off the pinnacle. So much for dramatic effect.
My throat tightened. My vision dimmed. Perhaps that dirty coal plant was the last thing I’d ever see. But then I saw the pink astronaut.
I had to be hallucinating. Dying will do that. The astronaut planted an American flag, Neil Armstrong-style, then knelt beside me.
I nodded, my desperate face reflected in her visor.
She handed me something small and silver: An inhaler. “I’m from the future,” she said. “We need you.”