“Take it or leave it. You won't get a better deal anywhere in the Sector-C,” grumbled the man behind the counter. His voice made even more indecipherable through his respiratory device. R-no knew the man was right. Not because the man was demanding a reasonable price compared to the others, but because he knew for certain no one else had the little ornament he had, tucked safely in his palm as he glared impatiently at R-no.
R-no never had trouble making his ends meet. He always considered himself more fortunate than the others in the Mars Colony, or TerraDome as it was decreed to be called now. Unlike the others who burned through their excess on gambling and stimuli, R-no had his sights set elsewhere. A seemingly harmless hobby that took him to shady back alleys and novelty shops that never sold what they claimed to. A passion that was pushing R-no to buy the trinket dangling in front of him that very moment, despite the outrageous price tag.
There was a sandstorm outside of the dome. It wasn't evident of course. While the inner walls of the dome projected the image of a serene afternoon, real enough to fool the third generation of Mars dwellers, it didn't fool R-no. “The trick is to look at the ventilation pods,” he would enthusiastically tell his students in the academy, to no one's interest. “Whenever there is a storm, the screen around the pods would go hazy. That's how you know the storm is at your door”. Not that it mattered anyways. R-no knew very well how pointless it all was. No one was going out of the dome except for scavengers. This new haven was their self sustaining escape from everything - the extremities of the planet lying outside, the memories of the lives they all left behind 54.6 million kilometers away, and the wind.
R-no never associated himself with the fanatic 'Originists', the ones protesting the rehabituation program in Mars demanding to get back to the ruins we all left behind because he enjoyed nostalgia for what it is, a warm thought on a lazy evening over a cup of hot beverage, a fleeting smile over a past that may or may not have happened—an escape. He knew there was nothing to go back to. No fields of electric green to tread mindlessly on, no mountain to conquer to see the world below, no autumn wind to greet him that would scuffle his hair amidst a downpour of yellowing leaves. This makeshift life in the comfort of the domes is all they have now and all they will.
R-no's thoughts snapped back to the trinket in his hand, light as a paper plane (another meaningless accessory he kept on his table). He made his way to his room, pushing past the cluster of low hanging wind chimes brushing against his burly figure. Each resonated with the other like strings on a lute, a perfect harmony in a windless world that makes their existence redundant. He hung his prized possession, in the middle of his room among the other expensive novelties where it stayed motionless, waiting for the wind that would never come just like the wind chimes around it, just like him.