They had been in bed for three days. The novelty of the wispy down that grew along her ribs and thighs had not worn thin. He traced the curve from her shoulder down her back and along her leg with his palm just above the skin and imagined eclipsing a thousand tiny forests. She twisted onto her back abruptly, lightly pinning his hand. "I want to go home"
His face sagged, "We won't make it, you know we
shouldn't." But here she turned her head slightly towards him, the
setting sun cast long shadows under her downcast lashes, and not for the
first time the boy thought to himself that it might be better to die
saying yes than to live saying no.
The Earth was
crumbling. It wasn't mankind's fault, for all of everyone's worrying.
It was just happening, and it had been happening for a very long time.
Every patch of dirt above and below the sea was having a turn, each
upheaval worse than the last. Geologists were able to predict with some
certainty where the next situation would occur within several hours,
but there was no way for every human being to hop scotch continuously
across the planet to safety. Both of these children had heard stories
of people who had flown planes and helicopters from city to city, state
to state, only to be sucked deep into the earth upon landing. If by
some series of grand fortunes you were able to survive an upheaval, it
was best to stay put. An area that had just been hit wasn't generally
affected again quickly. It was better to stay and hope, they both knew.
the Earth had come for them three days ago, it had ruined everything
around them. The small hill next to the boy's apartment building had
become a mile deep chasm, the floor sagged and tilted. And it wasn't
over. Everything around them was being pushed up or pulled down, they
had watched two houses across the street teeter totter before collapsing
together into a trench like dominoes. And then the pair had crawled
into bed and held each other, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. The
horrific noise from outside never abated, but the two remained safe.
boy and girl were in love but they hadn't been the week before. This
hadn't been the boy's apartment the week before, either. He was looting
for food when the girl, this lone girl, had knocked on the door to ask
if he had any water. He only had a little, it would last a week if he
was careful and alone. He'd been smart enough to fill up the tub as
soon as he'd entered, before the building started to shake. But then
she turned her head slightly and the sun cast long lash shadows on her
cheeks below her downcast eyes, and he said yes.
she wanted to go home. The boy knew that home for her was in the next
town, she had been visiting her father when the upheaval hit. He was
dead, and the phones were down, and the girl wanted to see her mother.
The boy filled a backpack with bottles of tub water and cans of tuna.
The pantry had been well stocked upon their arrival, but believing that
death is around every corner doesn't encourage frugality. Still, the
pair could only carry so much. No sense in hoarding.
elevator door was tilted slightly, giving it the appearance of a
tortured and tense parallelogram. The backup generator in the building
had kept some functions operating, light music crawled tinnily
from the shaft. The boy whispered along quietly, "There's a little
black spot on the sun today, it's the same old thing as yesterday", the
girl tugged his sleeve and together they climbed over a jagged railing
onto the stairs.
"What do you want to do if she's still
there?", the boy asked, to their left a man and woman wept over a pair
of children's shoes sticking up from the earth, the girl turned away as
she realized the child was wearing them. She gripped the boy's hand
tightly and they made their way through shifting rubble.
just want to tell her that my dad was sorry, and that he loved her, and
that I love her", she sighed. "I should be able to do that, if I'm
allowed to do anything, and I have to do something."
the boy squeezed her hand and nodded, "It's going to be ok, we'll get
there, I'll make sure of it." But his eyes had darkened because he knew
that the fates didn't respect nobility and cared nothing for last words
or tender moments. The earth had always swallowed up stories and
robbed innocent and guilty people alike of their endings, this was
The pair marched on over broken glass and bodies, among occasional crowds of sobbing and singing passerby.
girl's mother waited on the roof humming to herself. "There's a little
black spot on the sun today, it's the same old thing as yesterday."
The inside of the house was decimated, small piles of half buried debris
where the furniture and several of the rooms had been. The roof, by
some stroke of good fortune, had remained intact. And so the woman sat,
knees drawn up to her chest and her back leaning against the chimney, a
tarp spread out against the sun, and there she waited for her pretty
daughter to come home.
She was asleep when her girl
arrived, bleeding and shivering and half carried by a strong dark haired
boy. The woman and girl fell shaking with sobs into each others arms,
"Mom he said he was sorry, dad said he was sorry, he never should have
The boy waited patiently, marveling at the only
miracle he'd ever seen. They had made it. His beautiful girl with
downy skin was arm in arm with her lovely elder doppelganger.
And the earth exploded, and they had their ending.