A.J. Walker


The Memory Of A Sun

Forest in Ash
#MidWeekFlash - 28 April 2021

The Memory of a Sun

The woods were beautiful in their way. The old majestic trees towered above us like columns in a cathedral. We were walking faster than we would in a religious setting though. We were unsure of the time as neither of our watches worked any more, mere decoration and remembrances now. We couldn’t see the sky through the walls of trees, but we knew what it would look like: the same as always these days: flat and grey.

Gina said she hadn’t had a night without dreaming of the sun for months and I was the same. It was strange, I could hardly picture it in my mind when I was awake but my dream sun seemed real: I could almost feel the heat from it. The heat from the memory of a sun. I couldn’t tell Gina whether these were dreams or nightmares. They seemed to taunt me now: ‘look at what you had. What you lost.’

The map we had showed the woods would open up to a few houses soon, assuming we were on the right path. Without the sun and no idea of topography because of the trees ascertaining our position and direction was more than problematic. When we’d stopped last I’d napped and dreamt we were on the right road. But who knows? Maybe Gina dreamt we weren’t.

Our dreams were better than our real life now. In our dreams there was no need for food, no need for water. Warmth was all enveloping. In our dreams.

We were both worried now about food and the cold. We had little between us. Our walks and fights against the cold were wearing us down. I felt us slowing in the silent dead cathedral. I wondered if we’d ever get out. I longed for something more than scraps. I wanted real food: warm food. Eaten with laughing people, care free from life.

There was no one to pray to in this grey cathedral though. No one was listening. Gina hardly spoke to me, nor me to her now. There was nothing to say.

The trees were silent. There were no signs of life here. My fear of ravenous dogs had drifted away days ago. If packs of dogs, or even a single dog had come we couldn’t have done a thing. No weapons to defend ourselves and no energy to run. It would be a blessing. A decision taken away from us.

Gina grabbed at my arm as we neared a turn and I wondered if she’d seen or heard something I’d missed. But she hadn’t. She just turned to look in my eyes. It felt like the end was near. I wiped the fine ash from her face, which continually fell coating our hair, our being. A reminder if we needed it of what had happened to the world. Without saying a word we sat down on a fallen tree.

‘It’s beautiful here.’ She said. ‘If you didn’t know you’d think this was snow.’

I nodded and brushed her hair with my hand, feeling it stick in the thick mess of ash and grease.

‘It was beautiful. It is. Shall we stay here a while?’

She said nothing as she rested her head against my shoulder. We both knew we would go no further.


WC: 547