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Adventure Drama

Ashes.

His generation had inherited ashes and stones.

Mathis kicked the half burnt plastic bottle and watched it skid stop against piles of rubbles and plastics. His mouth scrunched in distaste as he spied paper buried among the piles.

Denims.

Metals.

So many accursed manmade debris.

Mathis laughed. The bitter sound coated his tongue like the gray hazy fuzz coated the length of the sky.

The clouded sky.

The shadow in front of the stars.

His expression sobered and his green eyes lost a little more of their warmth.

The gray drab painting.

“It’s a sky blanketed in ashes.”

He froze.

Footsteps padded towards him. He turned.

Blink.

All he could see at first was red. Red hair. Red hair pulled in messy braids.

“Between us and the moon.” She pulled at the pendant as she looked at the sky in sorrow. She sighed.

“I’m Eva.” She said, finally turning around to gaze at him.

Silver eyes under thick set of eyebrows. They watched him in distrust.

He felt like a fish out of water.

She frowned.

Short, dainty little thing. She barely reached his shoulders.

“Mathis,” He said feeling awkward.

She stared at him, her silver eyes blank.

He fidgeted. Fisting his hands inside his pockets, he tapped against the ash covered asphalt with his right foot.

“A thousand nights,” he blurted.

She looked at him in confusion.

“A thousand nights since half the world was swept under the ocean.” After Tsunamis and hurricanes took a life of its own.

She shivered. “99 days since half the world was rampaged by wildfire.”

They looked at each other.

 “33 days since nuclear plants in Russia exploded.” They said together, their voice blown away by the wind that starts to pick up pace.

Three things we know by heart.

Silence.

They started walking.

He teared his gaze away from her red hair fluttering in the wind.

“Paper or plastic?”

Mathis blinked, startled. “Hmm?”

She flashed a grin, her eyes crinkling up at the corners.

“What took us to this edge of madness?” She turns to point at piles of rubbles and layers of debris. “This start of darkness?” She looked at the sky in sorrow, the filtered light reaching them in a muted din. “What took us here?” Her silver eyes flash as they look at him.

Was it even one thing, he wondered.

Sure fossil fuels, over fishing and deforestation contributed but it was our action that took us to this point. Or our inability to act when we could have.

“Humans.” He answered. “Our greed. Our shortsightedness.”

Eva nodded. “It didn’t’ happen like in the movies though. Everyone saw it coming. It was years in the making.” She forced a laugh out. “We had time. It didn’t matter though. Because in the movies–”

“Everyone got their happily ever after.” He finished bitterly.

A reluctant smile tipped the corner of her mouth.

“What should they have done?”

Mathis paused in deliberation.

“Everything.” He fisted his hands as he stared at the painted sky wishing he could see the stars one more time. “Everything.” He whispered as he looked at the world around him. No color. Barely any life. Trash and debris everywhere.

Library of souls that died.

They hammered our destiny and forged our fate each time the plastic bottles and human greed knocked another year off the planet’s life.

 Of dreams and wishes to fragments and rust.

“All we have is now.” Her eyes glittered with something like mirth. “Let’s dream a little dream Mathis.”

Eva squeezed his fingers, her hand lingering for a moment before letting go. “Dream a little dream.”

Dream a little dream.

He looked at the smatterings of freckles on her face. So like the stars he and his papa used to watch every night before he died in a car accident.

“Something on my face?” Eva asked teasingly.

 “Stars.” He answered hesitatingly.

Eva looked at him imploringly.

Oh, god.

“Your freckles,” he paused, “they look like stars in a desert.”

He cringed.

“No has said that before.” She looked at him with light in her silver eyes.

He swallowed.

She laughed.

“Maybe we can have our own happily ever after,” she winked as she toyed with a smile.

He laughed awkwardly. “Maybe.”

What’s wrong with me?

“Are you alone out here?”

She lost her teasing expression. “I hadn’t seen anyone when I arrived in this town until I saw you. So, yes. I am alone out here.” She exhaled. “Or should I say I was. I am not anymore am I? I’ve got you.” She gave him a side glance.

“Where were you,” he hesitated, “when everything went down?”

She pulled at the pendant, her left hand curling at her side into a fist. “Piona Beach.”

He froze. “I heard it went under water.”

“It did.”

Silence.

“I was sleeping when the hurricane hit.” Eva started, looking off into the distance with a lost expression. “My parents were still at the University at that time. They had said they would be home by 9 pm but by 7 pm, you couldn’t even see 2 feet in front of you.”

She plopped down on the ground releasing a sigh. Quietly, he sat down beside her.

“No calls were going through. I don’t get scared easily, you know. But I was scared then.”

He nodded unsurely.

She couldn’t see him. She was lost in the past.

“And, then, at exactly 8 pm. And I remember it was 8 pm because my alarm went off at that exact moment to take out the trash.” She shivered. “The tsunami hit.”

She stopped to take a breath before resuming. “And then, there was water everywhere. The water came in through the cracks of the windows and the doors and then the wall was pulled apart.” She was gasping by the end of it.

He rubbed her back feeling helpless.

“I was dragged under water and sometimes I would bounce back up only to be pulled under again. And then somehow, after I lost consciousness, I landed on the edge of Balavu. And then I just started walking. And walking.” She stared at him. “And walking and somehow I ended up here.”

“And then you found me.”

She nodded, her hands pushing back a lock of her hair behind her ears.

He looked at her hair. Orange sunset locks capturing even the muted light in vibrant tones of red. Soft and messy. With endless nights in a city of stone and silence, it was the only color in his new world.

Ember.

Eva.

In a world coated with ashes, she was an ember.

An ember in the ashes.

September 25, 2020 18:23

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10 comments

Zea Bowman
02:22 Oct 07, 2020

Hey, Sampada! First of all, great story! Second, I wanted to let you know that I wrote a "Zombies Sound Safer Than My Family - Part 2." You had read the first and seemed to enjoy it, so I was just letting you know that I had made a second if you wanted to check it out. :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
10:41 Sep 27, 2020

I love how this story flows, like there’s a rhythm to everything. The hopeless atmosphere you established was immersive, so good job on that. Favorite part was definitely when they were reciting the days together, there was a magical vibe about it. For something written in four hours, I’m more than impressed. Good stuff, keep at it!

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Sampada Sharma
13:57 Sep 27, 2020

Thank you so much! I hadn't planned on writing due to busy schedule but I couldn't bare to not write either so at the last moment I scraped something up and so it's not as good as it might have been. But thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment!

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Mariam Mansuryan
10:46 Sep 26, 2020

I loved the beginning. I loved the part where they count the days together and walk in this fallen world. Your descriptions make me feel the gray tones and the destruction and the loneliness that have taken places. However, I feel like these two fall for each other too quickly, almost unrealistically too quickly. I'd wish to see something else happen between them. Anything, like maybe a kiss of despair, maybe the realization that they shouldn't let go of each other because it's hard to find someone you can talk to these days. I have...

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Sampada Sharma
13:20 Sep 26, 2020

Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! I wrote this under 4 hours last night in quite a hurry to meet the deadline and so I didn't get to make the story flow the way I would like to. If the story was longer I would have tried to made them fall for each other but I thought it would seem forced since they just met each other. I kind of made it like when you haven't seen another human in so long, you feel like you are falling for another just because you want to have that feeling of feeling alive I guess in a world where so much is dead. ...

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Charles Stucker
07:25 Sep 26, 2020

This could almost be the romance set in a post apocalyptic setting. Science geek alert. A technical note- if ashes fill the sky, they generate a cooling effect. It has happened each time a major volcanic eruption occurred. When artificial particulates were high in the seventies, climatologists predicted an incipient ice age. We averted that crisis by banning the major sources of said particulate matter. Having said that, it is possible, even likely, the protagonist would not know the difference. End science geek alert. You have a v...

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Sampada Sharma
08:30 Sep 26, 2020

Thank you for taking the time out to read and comment! To be honest, I wrote this last night in about four hours so I barely had any time to think out the plot or research on science ;) but next time I will be sure to do my research before I start writing on a topic. The opening and the closing was the only thing I knew when I started writing. To be honest, I wrote the ending before I went in to fill the gap in the middle. And I had planned on making it a romance story except I thought it would sound forced since they just met. Loved the gee...

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13:12 Sep 26, 2020

Your descriptions are always so magical and lyrical! Loved it!!

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Urmila Mainali
05:01 Sep 26, 2020

I really liked how you connected the beginning and the end. Loved how you ended with ashes.

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Sampada Sharma
08:27 Sep 26, 2020

Thank you so much!

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