Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






You Always Had a Thing for Silver Linings

Kate Sheeran Swed loves hot chocolate, plastic dinosaurs, and airplane tickets. She has trekked along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, hiked on the Myrdalsjokull glacier in Iceland, and climbed the ruins of Masada to watch the sunrise over the Dead Sea. Following an idyllic childhood in New Hampshire, she completed degrees in music at the University of Maine and Ithaca College, then moved to New York City. Her stories have appeared in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Electric Spec, Verdad, HOOT Review, and Words and Images. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Pacific University. You can find her at katesheeranswed.com, or on Twitter @katesheeranswed.
When the sky first changed, I thought it was pretty. Champagne gold, like a gift. Like a Bond villain decided on the color. The more I look at it, the more I think it's actually the vomit of some alien race that decided to use Earth as a trash can.
Could be.
No one expects to be around for the Last Day.
All those apocalyptic movies, they got a few things right. Like the cars jammed onto the freeway, which is where I like to do my picking. All it takes is a jimmy with a coat hanger to get me neck-deep into most trunks, stashing bottled water and canned goods in my pack.
What the movies missed? The silence. I guess that's because someone always saved the day before this point, so they never had to imagine the absence of that oh-so-human electrical hum, the water moving through pipes.
Weirder still is the absence of birds cawing and pecking, the rustle of cats in the garbage, the growl of dogs, the skitter of cockroaches (surprise! we thought they'd outlive us, but if they did, they've gone dark).
At least it's easy to sleep late.
Once you said, What if I were the last man on earth? Then would you want to... you know?
And I said, What's the point? Am I horny, or...?
You said, Repopulation, and I said You know, I never understood that, because if you're the last man and I'm the last woman, then our children would have to... you know... with each other in order to continue humanity, and we're not exactly hamsters.
And you said, OK, you're horny.
Now I'm spread out on the hood of a dead SUV, tucking canned peaches under the facemask that sorta-kinda protects my nostrils from the smell of decay. The peaches are too close to the color of the sky.
The sun filters through the sickly atmosphere like fluorescent light through cheesecloth, and I'm trying to figure out what I should do tonight.
If you were here, would I change my mind? I'm pretty sure that by tomorrow, there'll be no world to repopulate. Not enough time to fertilize an egg, baby.
Let's say that is off the table.
What would you have wanted to do on your last night, if you'd had a few hours to choose?
Video games. Food.
I could find you a board game, probably, and dinner's taken care of. Hello, peaches.
There's a hot pink iPod on the passenger seat of the SUV, earphones coiled as if lying in wait. I've long since stopped feeling guilty about looting, but still, I almost leave it. What do I need an iPod for?
Still, I hesitate.
I pop open the door.
The iPod has juice.
You used to sing that old Drifters song, as if it might change my mind.
This iPod belonged to someone young, because the singers are all Jessee and Kellee and Chad. No Drifters, no Frankie Valli.
What made her leave it behind?
I check the earphones for wax before getting off the highway. I skip down the exit ramp, pretending it's a slide. I should have found a town with a waterpark. Or I bet I could have made it to Disney World. So what if the rides wouldn't run? I'd have climbed the rungs of the roller coasters, just to sit at the top. I'd be lounging on Dumbo to eat my peaches. I'd be sleeping in Cinderella's castle.
I'd be wearing Mickey Mouse ears. No, Minnie.
The sky is getting too bright to look at, like a sunset gone wrong.
The park has the fewest bodies, which I know because I was the one who moved them. I drop my pack beneath a tree. There's no one to steal it, nothing to rip it apart for peaches.
You'd hum it under your breath: Save the last dance for me.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, April 11th, 2016

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.9 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us