Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last Living Souls

The dust balls swirl across their feet as they walk along the path that crosses the north-west field. It is further from home than they have ventured at any time since the deadly dust clouds began. But his son has been badly missing his mother for a few days now. He needs to distract him a little, so he takes the risk.

They reach a deserted playground soon. There is a father with two kids already there. The sun is searing. The slide is rusty, the swing and see-saw creak, and the rubber on the ground is cracked in several places. There are skeletons underneath the play shed. Yet his son gleefully starts running around. Soon the children are chasing each other and the two men are smiling. Children find such intense joy in the moment, and they transmit the joy magnanimously.

The other man's smile suddenly turns upside down. He himself turns around to see the sky darkening at the horizon. He picks his son up and begins to run. The sirens begin now. His son realises they are in trouble and begins to sob.

Just as they exit the field, the cloud catches them. Exposed for less than 10 seconds, they suffer for weeks on end.

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