The world was tired.
Sometime in winter.
The Calfera Gardens stood still.
Bone cold air, dry dusk. A barely visible kind of thin soot
covered the ice and snow. Unfaded blue Synthas and other
white flowers swayed in perfect nano-governed symmetry
against a blank white plate of post-suburban landscape.
Calfera Drive gripped the residential lines of sparse, high
gaunt trees scraping light from a canopy of dark clouds vaulted
above. Bare limbs of tall white oaks meandered in the air slowly
breathing threads of wind like flies swatted by a newspaper.
Pockets of scorched black ground seeped through holes in the
melting snow. As one approached the house.
Dr. Damiand’s front door cried a defiant red.
Enormous bay windows came jutting over an excess part of
the driveway like a steamship’s bow hanging over a dock.
A shiny navy colored D-Mailbox, untouched by the
elements, read in machine carved font:
“UnaDriven Fairview DIPLOMAT District Seg. 255.”
Inside the house someone was crying. And lightly gasping for
air. Of the entire neighborhood only the Damiands had managed
to remain animated.
“Are you still there Johanna?” He was speaking to his wife.
No one said anything. Her mouth motioned itself open.
“Johanna,” he said again, more firmly than before.
She put a hand on his after a long attempt.
“I love you Johanna,” Mr. Damiand told her in a soft,
distant, murmuring voice. “I will always love you.”
This time he could feel the muscles within him stretching
against bone. Something was slowing down, he knew it.
“If you make it out of here Johanna, tell them we had no
idea. Tell them Helen had no idea.”
He knew she wouldn’t make it. He knew he wouldn’t either.
She turned to face him with an endearing smile full of tears,
pain and adoration.
Surrender. She tightened her grip around his palm one last
time before she froze completely.