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And It Was Beautiful

by Em Keeler about a month ago in Sci Fi

A Story About The End

And It Was Beautiful
Photo by Aleksandar Kyng on Unsplash

The sky beams fuchsia.

The sun is redder than a bleeding heart. Willows weep roses. Pale shades of pink scatter through long strands of cotton candy-coloured grass, as they stroke against my skin. My body lends into the earth, still soft from the daily, New Earth Agrituals.

If I squint, I can pick out the nozzles between bubblegum clouds. I see them for a half-second before Lensie corrects the image back to strawberry field skies.

A warm hand grazes mine. Nora hums against my skin. She sighs, “I love this new Lensie update. Everything is so beautiful.”

I laugh, “I don’t know if I would call it new, dear - it has been three years, now.”

Nora smiles at nothing, “Has it been?”

Her curls, once onyx in the blinding daylight, are now cherrywood red. The Lensie update makes everything gleam in rose-tinted hues. Nora’s voice never condescends; the neighbours always smile. There is only ever good news on the television. When I speak to strangers both in-person and over the WebNet, they too, seem optimistic about the ever-improving world.

Nora kisses my cheek, “Oh, I’m so glad we were able to turn all those global environmental crises around in only three years’ time. What an incredible miracle! And all thanks to Lensie.”

The alarm against my wrist buzzes and I echo Nora, “A beautiful future, all thanks to Lensie.”

I kiss Nora on the forehead. Her skin is warm and slick as if she’s been laying in the sun for too long. The map of emotions that used to line her face has transformed over the past three years into smooth, rubbery canvas.

She begins to cry, “Tom, I feel so empty.”

Lensie corrects the image.

Nora coos, “Tom, this is the happiest I think I’ve ever been.”

Her smile is the warmest I’ve ever seen it.

She continues, “All I see now is beauty. I wake up and I don’t even have to put the glasses on, anymore - they’re just right there on my face! Technology is amazing, isn’t it? So rapidly progressing in order to best benefit our society’s needs?”

I stroke her hair, “Yes, dear. It’s so true. And I do just love the pair of Lensie Glasses you picked out.”

Nora smiles. She wiggles her nose against mine, “And yours are oh-so-dashing, too, my love!”

She leans in to kiss me and I feel something sharp against my lip, curt and quick. Before I can blink I hear a low plea, “Tom…”

Her face looks different for a moment - it looks familiar; like a face that I used to love.

I begin, “Nora…”

Nora’s face changes, though. She is once again the cough-syrup-curled, smooth, and delicate woman of my dreams.

But she is not the woman I married.

Nora winks behind her huge heart-shaped sunglasses, her eyes trapped behind those little pink lockets. She giggles, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, silly!”

The Lensie Monitor buzzes my wrist, gently. Peace washes over me. I look at Nora and I feel nothing but a calm sense of content. Her face looks soft, glowing in the sweet, strawberry sunlight.

She whispers in my ear, “We could take them off.”

She unbuttons my shirt.

Her fingernails stroke my hair. They massage my temples as she kisses the side of my face. My body is an explosion of tickling grass and whispering skin. Nora’s voice is hot in my ear, “Are you ready, Tom?”

I close my eyes and nod, “Yes, Nora.”

Oppressive, numbing peace lifts from my chest. I open my eyes, and my mind exhales relief.

She’s there: Nora with her tired eyes and dark hair; Nora, with all of her worry-lines and laugh-lines, with her palms traced with blue-tinted heart-lines.

The woman I married is there.

The world that we left behind, though, is not.

Beyond her, beyond the rose-coloured glasses, there is nothing but dark, cracking earth. Friends and family lay in rows on sandlike dirt, each one with a pair of pink Lensie Glasses comfortably fitted to their face.

Nora holds my cheeks between her palms. Her eyes are the richest brown I’ve ever seen, deep like the earth where seeds wander to grow.

She whispers, “We don’t have long before Lensie discovers we’ve unplugged. We’ll get a notification any minute now, I’m sure.”

I look over to see Nora’s sister, Allie. I ask, “Can they see us?”

Nora shakes her head, “When we’re unplugged we’re invisible to the rest of society.”

Suddenly she turns to me, “You don’t remember the other times, do you?”

Nora laughs, continuing her conversation with herself. “Right. You never remember. And I never remember that you forget.”

She closes her eyes. She touches my face, leans into my chest, and inhales. I hold her body, soft, sagging, and beautifully human. Her hair smells like rain.

I push her back so that I can look into her eyes. I want to soak up every bit of earth that lives within them.

She is that place called home.

I say, “Let’s just make the most of right now.”

Nora smiles, exhausted and hopeful. She whispers, “We always do.”

I feel a buzz against my wrist, the swift placement of plastic arms against my skull, and an overwhelming sense of peace.

The sky beams fuchsia.

If I squint, I can pick out the nozzles between bubblegum clouds. I see them for a half-second before Lensie corrects the image back to strawberry field skies.

Sci Fi
Em Keeler
Em Keeler
Read next: Marie's Gold
Em Keeler

she/they | level 25 | bipolar 1 | take what you need 💗

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