Faded Shades of Rainbow

A Sci-Fi short story by Melissa R. Mendelson

Faded Shades of Rainbow

by Melissa R. Mendelson
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A soft breeze rustled across deep green grass, perfectly cut to match its square exterior. Sun settled down over small, white houses with glass screen doors propped wide open. Shadows fell over newspapers now lifted up, last relics of a world gone quiet, but the road whispered of life to come. None ever did.

Good-morning, neighbor.”

Good-morning, neighbor,” he replied as he walked into the house. “Just another day of paradise,” and the door slammed shut behind him.

Sunlight streamed into the small kitchen. His wife, Lily was busy cooking breakfast. She always made scrambled eggs and bacon, his favorite, and she hummed as she cooked. It brought a smile to his face as he sat at the kitchen table and drank the O.J. that she left for him, but then he grimaced at the pills that were left for him too. But it was routine, and he quickly took them, chasing them with another gulp of his drink.

Oh, no,” he said a moment later as he opened the newspaper out before him.

What’s wrong, Harvey?”

Mrs. Deville passed away last night.”

Oh, no.”

Yeah. Another one gone. How many of us are left now?”

Not too many,” his wife replied, and then she resumed cooking breakfast to put the news out of her mind. “Beautiful day outside.”

It always is, love. Just another day of paradise.” He flipped through the newspaper. “I wonder if the mail will come today,” and his wife chuckled in response. “What? I say something funny?”

You always ask about the mail, but there hasn’t been any mail that has come here for so very long.”

I know. It’s routine.” He placed the newspaper beside the now empty glass. “It’s amazing we still have food left.”

We were the lucky ones.”

Were we?”

Harv, don’t start. Be happy. We’re living in paradise.”

Until we die.” She snapped the stove off and kept her back to him, but he knew those words cut her deep. “Doesn’t it bother you?”

Why? Why have you been talking about this lately? Why!” Harvey fell silent. “Harv, I need to know. What aren’t you telling me?” Now, she faced him. “Out with it.”

I’m sorry, love. I think it’s time.” Her lips shook. “I think it’s time.”

No. The doctor said that you were fine. You’re fine.” She brought his breakfast over to the table and sat beside him. “Let’s eat breakfast, and then sit outside like we always do.”

The doctor left isn’t the kind that saves lives. He’s the kind that tries to. There’s a difference.”

I don’t care. He said that you were fine, and that is good enough for me.” She slowly ate her breakfast. “You were right before.” He glanced at her. “There aren’t too many of us left, but I don’t want to think about that. It scares me.”

I know it does.” He patted her hand. “We’re getting closer to it.”

Don’t say the E word. I hate that word, and the newspaper always has that word on the front page. It’s mocking us. We lived here for so long afterward, but…”

But no one has come.” Tears filled her eyes. “We’re the last.”

All that matters to me, Harv, is that you and I are still here. You and I, and we, you are not going anywhere. So, please, just eat your damn breakfast, “ and he laughed at that. She laughed back. “Silly old man.”

Silly old nag,” and she elbowed him for that. “So, gardening today?”

No. I did that yesterday while you mowed the lawn. I think we should just sit outside for awhile.”

And stare at the road?”

I don’t see why.” She finished her breakfast quickly and then moved toward the sink to wash the dishes. “Maybe, take a walk?”

It’s a small neighborhood. Three miles at best.”

We haven’t walked in such a long time.”

Those empty houses bother me.” He looked out the window. “Now, the house across the street will be empty.”

But we’re still here.”

Yes. We’re still here,” and he finished his breakfast. “A walk would be nice.” His left arm twitched, but she didn’t notice. “How about ten minutes?”

Or less.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Silly old man,” and she left him alone after that.

My beautiful wife of fifty years,” he whispered. “How you will miss me.”

His body already felt weak. He still fought to stand up and walk outside. The cool breeze greeted him. The grass smelled so sweet. The last of his neighbors waved their hello’s and picked up their newspapers. The road remained empty. How he wished a car would go by or a mail truck, something to tell him that the rest of the world was still there, but he knew the answer. They all did. This was not paradise, but they chose to believe that. They needed to believe that, and another shadow fell to the ground. And as a heartbreaking scream filled the air, the breeze became bitter, smacking at a newspaper left across the street. Its headline screaming, “Extinction Is Near.”

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