The day the sky went green
I turn on the radio, and a voice tells me that hundreds were barricading themselves indoors for fear of the unnatural green sky. The sky is green? I have no idea, because my windows are opaque to shield me from the world.
“Are you okay?” asks a voice seeming to come from far away.
“I’m fine,” I say, but I’m not. I know what’s going on, and no one else does. It doesn’t seem right to keep it a secret but I can’t see what else does. Bekah comes in. She’s deadly pale with fear and I flinch involuntarily.
“You know, don’t you?” she says. “What’s going on and everything.” That’s the thing with Bekah and me. We’ve known each other so long that we cannot have any secrets.
“Yeah,” I reply. “I do.” She doesn’t press me. Bekah knows I’ll tell her in my own time. “Doesn’t mean I can stop it, though.” She smiles, and I wonder why.
“You can stop anything,” she says. Bekah’s the only one who knows about my condition. I met her ten years ago, when at the age of seven she ran away from home. How she survived I haven’t the foggiest idea, but she arrived, somewhat dishevelled, outside the flat I had bought with the money I made by weaving. I can weave anything. It sounds funny to say that, but for someone like me who can’t really go out much, it is a good way of making money. After three years of weaving pretty baskets and other tiresome things, I saved up enough to rent a flat. Which was lucky, because I was living on the streets and I was going to have to break into my savings to buy food and shelter at some point anyway. It wasn’t a great flat and it wasn’t big, but it was enough.
“I can’t, Bekah,” I say in reply. “Not anything.” Don’t think of the past now, I tell myself, don’t think about the fact you’ve never had a family. But it is a bit late, and the tears well in my eyes. Bekah must not see them. I turn around on the pretext of pacing aimlessly, and wipe the rebellious tears away. “I couldn’t stop the invasion last time, and I couldn’t stop the plague. Why should this be any different?”
“If you’d told me what was going on maybe I could answer that!” says Bekah, her temper flaring. I suppose it’s not surprising: I’m not the easiest person to live with. It’s rare for the two of us to argue, because to live as we do takes co-operation amongst a lot of other things.
“I’m not sure, exactly,” I say, but it’s obvious my story is not convincing Bekah.
“Don’t pull that one on me,” she says. “I know clear as day that you know what’s going on out there. If you don’t tell someone, people are going to die! People are dying!” I look at her in a strange way. Her blonde hair is lank around her thin shoulders and her eyes are wild.
“I’m doing everything I can,” I tell her. “Get all the furniture into the loft.” She stares at me wordlessly, and then fetches the wide ladder that leads to the bit of loft the flat contains. Heaving, with a homemade pulley of wood and ropes, we get all the furniture into the little loft. It doesn’t take long because we don’t own much. Just five minutes after the door is closed, the doorbell rings. I open the door.
“Hi!” I say. “Come in.” And I lead into the hall a young lady with her daughter and two sons. “Show her to one of the rooms,” I instruct Bekah, then open the door as fifty or so more people come. They all fit into one small bedroom, and Bekah stares at me.
“Like I said, I’m doing all I can,” I say with a wink and a laugh.