Man, it’s gonna be hard to describe this one, but I had it for what felt like hours last night. It was the far future, and mankind had completely ruined the earth. The overpopulation problem had reached an absurd height: there was now only standing room on the face of the planet. The entire globe was a churning sea of people crammed together tightly, screaming and dying.
In this future, people had a way out: everyone had the power to turn into a tall, thin tree. Once you had done it, that was it. You would die and be replaced by a tree. And it wasn’t a nice death or transformation either; it was very painful and horrible, but at least your other suffering would end. I’m forgetting the mechanics of this power, but it was like a game of Othello — turning into a tree would convert people near you into a tree, and depending on some circumstance, the trees near you might turn into people again.
It was like watching one of those “game of life” simulations in its last minutes, where just the right mix of catastrophic deaths and births can burn out all the resources on the map and the whole colony dies. At any given moment, nearly all the people would become trees, and then someone would unhappily fall on his sword and turn into a tree just to keep all the humans from becoming trees. Because the goal wasn’t to all become trees — it was just to have fewer people, not none.
And people were crawling over one another and screaming, and crying, and shouting at others, and climbing up walls to get away from each other but it didn’t do any good, and that was what the end of the world looked like.