“What would happen if every human in Lewiston disappeared? This isn’t the story of how we might vanish; it’s the story of what will happen to the Lewiston we leave behind.”

100 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

Along what was once Pine Street, where snowbanks and parked cars narrowed the roadway to the width of a human hair, there are no more people to walk diagonally across the street. The beer stores and meat markets have crumbled, rotted and grown over, leaving only a natural landscape of vine-covered hills and the mossy humps of decayed taxicabs. The long lane that’s left could serve as a natural passageway for animals traveling to water sources, but no. Some force of nature causes the forest beasts to saunter slowly, and with attitude, back and forth across the lane of travel, inspiring other critters to mutter in disgust. “Seriously,” says one elk to another. “Do they not know there are sidewalks?”

Mingling with all the frustrations of the weed-choked boulevard once known as Pine Street, a few female species strut, their bright plumage shaking majestically, and offer mating services to passing males. “Disgusting,” says one black bear to another. “Say, do you have forty bucks I could borrow?”

Farther south, where the once-bustling avenue met Bates Street, a single man-made item remains, seemingly oblivious to the powers of time and nature. It is a traffic light, dangling from the lowest branch of a gnarled oak tree and still glowing bright red. Nearby, the mouldering bones of a former newsman sprawl on the forest floor, an obscenity trapped forever on his skeletal mouth.

250 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

The once-shady expanse that was Kennedy Park is now a jungle in the heart of the city. Exotic trees grow close together, their fruit-bearing branches intertwined like the arms of lovers. Vines rise up from the undergrowth like asps, as do actual asps that grow to 25 feet long. Trees rise 200 feet into the sky, their roots nourished by ancient dog poop that once dotted the thriving park like squishy land mines. Curiously, wild dogs that roam the overgrown city in packs continue to travel to the former park each winter where they poop with abandon, in spite of strict ordinances that remain in effect from the time of man.

Nearby, the land has developed in strange formations in what was once a skateboard park. The concrete has decayed and returned to its natural elements, but the grass still grows in the shapes of half-pipes, quarter-pipes, vert ramps, spine transfers, pools and bowls. Woodland creatures who venture there, utterly overestimating their skills, frequently stumble and bloody their noses. Other animals, laughing so hard that they pee themselves, wish there were still camera phones and social media sites in the world so they could film their clumsy friends and post the vids to YouTube.

251 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

A scrawny dingo just totally wiped out in the area that was once the skateboard park! Hilarious!

500 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

The stretch of land that was once the head of Lisbon Street is now mostly swamp, the victim of swollen canals overflowing their banks and inundating the once bustling shopping district. Not much happens here, but each night is punctuated by the sounds of old woodland creatures telling younger woodland creatures about how it was once the liveliest spot in all the land. “We used to call it The Bowery,” a graying emu relates to a young whooper swan. “We’d come down here with lawn chairs every Friday night just to watch the fights down at the watering holes.”

“What the heck is a ‘lawn chair?'”

“Ah, you kids …”

1,000 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

The Colisee, once home to warriors, is long gone. The ice machines and team buses have rusted, crumbled and rotted into nothing. Trees grow wild where once concession stands offered beer, pretzels and hot dogs. The expansive parking lot has been overtaken by wild raspberry bushes, brambles and burdocks. On nights when the moon is full, beasts of all kinds venture here in droves to watch ring-neck pheasants go toe to toe in fierce battles over feeding rights. It gets a little rough in there sometimes, but that’s just part of the game. The ring-neck pheasants are loved and admired by a variety of species who come to watch their bouts.

1,005 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

OK, the ring-neck pheasants are no longer battling here because some weird wilderness thing chased them from the former city. This year, the forest animals will instead enjoy the warrior-like games of the Atlantic puffin, who have traveled all the way from the coast to offer their unique brand of competitive entertainment.

1,007 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

Razorbill auk! This year it will be the razorbill auk doing battle in the sprawling glade that was once home to Lewiston’s Colisee. You will learn to adore these lovable brutes, we promise.

10,000 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

Small variations in the Earth’s wobble on its axis have caused drastic alterations in the hemispheric climates. The northern half of the planet is enduring a new Ice Age, with subzero temperatures, shrieking winds and blizzards blowing almost nonstop. In the area once known as Maine, peeking up the skirt of what was once Canada, weather conditions look pretty much the same as always. Curiously, where Lewiston used to sprawl along the Androscoggin River, the snow turns brown before it hits the ground, even though there have been no motorized vehicles, smoke-breathing factories or muddy boots here in eons. Who can explain it?

25,000 YEARS AFTER LEWISTON

By now, almost all signs of man’s time on Earth have vanished. Its great monuments have toppled and decayed, its highways have been devoured by wilderness, its weapons of war have sunk into the mud like the bones of once-dangerous beasts. Lewiston, like other parts of the world, is green by day and black by night. Except at the intersection of what was once Bates and Pine. There, glowing in the night like an unholy beacon, the traffic light still glows red over the dust that was the bones of the angry newsman.

Seriously, time travelers: What’s it going to take to make that light go away?

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. You can email him at [email protected] 


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