The Colors of Leaves in Summer

The whining wind has faded now, now that there are only shakes from their bodies, and chattering teeth.

“Why didn’t we bother to get the goddamn heater checked out?” asks the man, rocking with her head on his chest.

“We didn’t know. It’s summer, after all, baby.”

He sighs a cloud of crystals into the stale air. “We could’ve guessed.”

“Well, you didn’t know for sure. Not one hundred percent, uhh, certain… until it actually went and did. You didn’t. You did– couldn’t. I knew months ago. Months.”

Grinning grimly, he says “I doubt that very much, my dear. They didn’t even know until it was w-way too late. If the powers that be didn’t figure it, no need to try to take the blame.”

The breath catches in his throat as she leans over and pulls an oxygen tank from underneath the couch.

“I told you. I saw the simulations. I bought these… oh, couple weeks ago, when I knew the course was truly irreversible. Sorry I didn’t tell you — wanted to — wanted you to enjoy it. This. If you could.”

“Breathing’s getting — rougher,” he says, “Those are — those leaves are never gonna wave again, huh?” He stares out the bay window.

She nods. “Weird peace is falling on everything. Maybe some weird eyeless creatures at the bottom of the sea will survive. Maybe DNA will figure out — find a way to do without.”

“Well, thanks for letting me enjoy my last few breaths, dearest. Lucky these newer windows keep a slightly better seal. We got to quietly outlast the panic here, and that’s the luckiest thing.”

She smiles, cranes her neck, kisses him, and then hands him a mask.

“Don’t act the martyr,” he says.

She gestures at the tanks. “I’m not the one who has to figure out what to do when these run out.”

He mutters something with a tight smile, but the air is so thin it barely reaches her ear. It comes to her only as low vibrations from his chest. They put the masks on. Silence.

He feels her heart beat. She feels him breathing.

They both close their eyes, for a while.


One thought on “The Colors of Leaves in Summer

  1. nilscript says:

    I know this story has got to have been done before, but I don’t remember it.

    It all fell onto an index card pretty much exactly like this. So I had to. Another depressing metaphor-ish apocalypse is at hand!

    – Dan

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