She’s naked, red and blistered; me, too. I ignore silvery flashes in my peripheral vision to scrape drops of water from my fingertips across her cracked lips before the wind can steal them.
It’s funny; I once thought those nacre afterimages were a tumor.
Everyone sees them: they’re alien life forms. Scientists said they were out of phase with us. I doubt they even know we exist.
The air tastes like bread: I loved bread. I ask her if she can taste it. Her throat works reflexively and her wide eyes flicker away before settling on me again, chest collapsing between inhales loud as gunshot.
I think we’re the last.
The aliens constructed everywhere because of their phase shift. Their structures were toxic; anything we’d built crumbled: wood, metal, plastic, stone. Clothes. Cities sublimated to dust. Crops failed. Only water remains.
I never understood how hard it is to kill a feral dog weaponless: grab a leg, swing in a high arc hard into the ground then break its neck. Nothing comes near enough to kill anymore.
I can’t believe I got sick of eating meat every day.
Her chest stops but her eyes stay open. Her last breath scatters into shades of alabaster.
I want to cry but five weeks of starvation numbs me.
The world is a desert. Nothing grows. Nothing stops the wind. Everything that ever was now blows in endless dust storms.
The last thing I will see is mother-of-pearl in the corner of my eye.
© William Keller, 2015