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22.09.50 – Day 6 of Journey – Rana

When we woke up that morning, we started to realise that the strangeness of yesterday was just a herald for something worse. Cora tapped me on the shoulder and pointed over the horizon.

“It can’t be,” I said, voice lost beneath my mask.

But we could all see it. Thick hot air rising over the rubble, condensation shimmering in the air. It was moving towards us, past the rocks. I pulled my mask down for a moment.

“Could we have lost track of time?” I said

We all looked to Cora, who shook her head. I bit my lip.

“How long do we have before the rain starts?” Jasper asked.

“A day, at most, I’d say,” Cora signed back, “we can’t get back in time.”

“Should we dig a shelter?”

“That could take even longer,” I said, “the ground is too hard here, and we’d have to dig for mum, too.”

We turn and look at her, sleeping in the cart. Her oxygen mask covers most of her face, wispy grey hair poking over the top.

“You shouldn’t have brought her,” Jasper said, pulling her mask down too.

“It’s her expedition,” I said automatically, “she’s waited too long.”

“We’ll suffocate,” Cora signed, “even if we manage it, the floods will last weeks from the looks of things. Put your masks back on, for fucks sake.”

“Rain isn’t due for another week,” Jasper said, “it’s probably just a pre-storm”

“No,” Cora replied, “the mist is too thick.”

We looked up at the rolling cloud of red-tinged grey as it crept towards us. I pulled my mask back on and signed an apology at Cora, but she and Jasper were busy glaring at each other. I clapped my hands.

“What other choices do we have?” I asked, when they looked over.

Cora pointed up to the rocks. The thin peak was just visible above the clouds.

“We might be able to make it up there. It’s our best option.”

“I’m not walking through the mist,” Jasper said. But she pulled her mask back on, hauled her pack higher on her shoulder, and followed us anyway.

I glanced back at Mon Semblable, rising twice as high as the fog in the distance behind us. From here it looked like a haze of green and white against the stony rubble. In a week, maybe less, it will be engulfed in fog all the way to the top level. The whole city will be sealed tight, and inside the thick layers of glass everything would be tinted grey – the soil, the plants, the workshops. Even the vines that grow around the outside become invisible, and the red and brown insects would fall hundreds of feet and form a thick layer of tiny dead bodies on the ground outside. Soon after that, the rain will start. Even if we make it to a cave in the rocks without suffocating, the floods will wash us all away.

We all knew it. But you can’t just sit down and wait to die, so we put our masks back on and kept walking.

30.09.52 – Perdita – TDA

This screen was given to you for therapeutic purposes.



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try to write down what you’re feeling

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What’s the first thing you remember?

Everything hurt and I woke up.