I missed a week or two of the literary lion prompts, but I’m back at it this week. Applause abounds. These last few weeks of July have been crazy. The prompt this week was “Water” and I decided to write a post apocalyptic sci-fi piece about a very wet end of the world. Alexander has been writing one about a sandy, Mad-Max type end for Science Fiction Daily, so I thought I’d provide some yin to his yang.
I like writing science fiction that focuses on human issues. Here, I tried a dialogue-driven piece (which I never do) about a domestic dispute set in a watery wasteland.
Jenny can’t sleep. In shifts, we try to keep watch for looters or monsters. Her turn to rest is less than successful. I watch her flip around, making soft splashes with each movement. Plop. It sounds like a prehistoric tortoise trodding through the bog. Plop. Nothing is dry.
“Is it my turn?” she asks, half asleep.
“No, I’m not tired yet. Keep sleeping,” I say. The stars are so bright without the ominous glow of the city on the horizon. It seems as bright as day to me, now.
“Do you think there’s a point?” She flips sleeping bag around to face me.
“A point to what?”
“To keep going, looking for people. I’m tired all the time and we make no progress,” she blinks slowly and almost fades back into stressful sleep.
“You want to just wait to die? Be eaten by alligators? Or maybe mutant mosquitoes?”
“I’m serious, David. I don’t feel as if we’re progressing.”
“I am too, I have no idea what lives out here.” A silent breeze sweeps between the jagged trees and shifts the surface of the world. Black ripples dance around us, making me feel unbalanced. “I think it would be better for us to try to make use of our time-”
“So you think we’re doomed?”
“I think the earth will be fine, even without humans”
“I don’t mean humans, I mean you and me. Are we doomed? Should we give up looking?” Here eyes are little pools; never empty, never overflowing.
“I’m doing my best to keep us alive. I’m your boyfriend, not your babysitter, and if I spend all my energy trying to cheer you up, we’ll be eaten,” I didn’t mean to snap. I’m trying to keep from admitting how scared I am, too.
Jenny squeaks and rolls away from me. I wonder how long we have left, if our lives will outlast the relationship, or vice versa.
I scan the hypnotizing wasteland. It’s been three months since the flood; Jenny’s tired. No clouds, No fish, just stagnant pools of bio-luminescent algae and highway rubble.
Finally asleep. A still, restful sleep. Unmoving. I hope she feels better in the morning, I can apologize when she’s less depressed. Plop. I turn back and she hasn’t moved. Plop. I grab my knife.
I hope we make it till morning.