In a small building, underneath the bright red sky, a woman stood looking out the window. She wore a very tired expression on her face. Someone who had seen so much of the world at its worst times and felt like she had enough of it. But there was still one thing that acted as an anchor for her between this world and insanity.
It had been almost fifty years since the chaos began and the whole earth was left reeling from its consequences. Entire cities destroyed whole, the government declaring martial law and blocking off all the streets, people being executed if they stepped out of line. Mankind was a disease that was wiping itself out. It was a greedy parasite that never stopped exploiting its own resources until none of them remained.
Now, there was barely anything left.
She remembered father telling her this once before he left. That it was only a matter of time before it happened….
A sound of something falling came from behind her.
The toddler sitting on the edge of the bed had dropped his small teddy bear. The woman smiled and picked it up. The child took it and resumed playing. She still hadn't given him a name.
You're the only one tethering me to this reality.
She stroked his head and ruffled his hair.
Outside, the sky was a dark shade of crimson, the colour of dried blood. After pollution had reached abnormal levels, the earth's atmosphere soon gave up trying to control it. Now, for almost the whole day, the sky would stay like this. She wondered how the sky would look like having its original colour. Her father said it would look beautiful; with the clouds scattered around the enamel blue backdrop and the sun setting in the distant horizon. Right now, the sun was slowly dipping behind a wall of buildings, throwing a shadow over the woman and her child. The darkness meant the onset of danger and, tonight, she felt particularly uneasy. A few blocks away, she heard a crack of gunfire ring out. It sounded too close.
The baby was looking at his mother and extended a hand close to her cheek, where a cut shown. It was still red and there was dried blood around the sides. He pressed his hand over it. She looked at him and gave a weary smile. The child tilted his head and smiled back. Both of them had crinkles by their eyes when they smiled. The woman looked out the window and saw the last remnants of the red sky as night settled in.
Yes, blue would look beautiful.
She wrapped her arms around her son and gently rested her head on his. He still had his palm on her cheek the whole time.
I'll name you Neel.
I can't see the beautiful blue sky but I have you.
The writer is an A2 graduate from S.F.X. Greenherald International School