by Jake Christie

PILLOW TALK.
a story.

While they made love, the world ended. Bombs dropped. The earth shook and split open. Tornadoes flung nations to pieces, and then tsunamis swept the land clean. By the time they were finished, everyone else was dead.

They lay there for a while without saying anything. She rested her head on his chest. He picked pieces of plaster out of her hair. The apocalypse had opened a small hole in the roof. Clouds of black smoke rolled by, occasionally revealing a patch of deep red sky.

She turned to look at him, her chin fast to his ribcage. “What do you want to do now?” she asked.

“Just lay here with you,” he said.

Somewhere in the distance something rumbled. Thunder, maybe, or more bombs. It was all the same now. She put her ear to his chest and listened to the smaller, more comforting rhythms of his heart. The earth shook once more and she dozed off as it rocked her to sleep.

She dreamed that the world hadn't ended. She dreamed of plants growing in time-lapse, seasons changing. Children being born. The people of the world laughed and held hands and sang. She saw her family standing in a field, waving to her. The sun rose and set and everything was green and beautiful and alive.

She skipped through this world with the sun warm on her face, looking for him. But she could not find him. She stopped skipping and began to run. She ran through the green fields, over the cold rivers, faster and faster, always searching. Her feet left the ground and she flew through the clean blue sky, over the people, over the families, and she screamed his name but he did not answer. She could not find him. He wasn't there.

She woke to the sensation of rain on her cheek. He pulled them aside and wiped the water from her face with his thumb. It was gray from the smoke and the ash.

“What's wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she said. She pressed her body closer to his, out of the rain. “I was just having a nightmare.”


This story originally appeared at 365 Tomorrows.


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