I started this blog a year and a day ago.
In honour of this – and in anticipation of a deeper writing-related post on the horizon, I’ve dug up an old short story for you – the first I’ve posted here. Enjoy.
One hot day in August, the sky burned.
The first sign that something was amiss came when the brushed fleece of the cirrus melted. Their wispy edges browned and shrivelled up, curling in on themselves like cellophane held too close to the glowing cherry of a cigarette.
Nobody noticed the demise of the aeroplankton, nor of the wind-borne mites and spiders as they flamed out of existence like doomed micrometeorites. Indeed, those who might have noticed had problems of their own, those holidaymakers and businessmen who began to roast as their gleaming aircraft stalled and began to plummet, trailing liquid metal droplets in their wake.
Bar-headed geese, Whooper swans and other high-flying waterfowl returned to earth like comets in comae of their own vaporised down, their charred pennaceous feathers disintegrating in the rain of lower-flying songbirds that came next.
Soon the sun began to drip golden beads of fire into the ocean, where they lay shimmering on the surface to form a blinding line where temperate sea met smouldering sky. The immense vista of the heavens themselves began to slough, sagging with heat-stroke, and the deeper blues of the zenith encroached into the paler cyans over the horizon, tainting them with oily streaks.
The clouds were but a distant memory, the sun a burning slick that stifled the frustrated waves. Suborbitals, X-planes and weather balloons had all but evaporated on their Hadean journeys back to earth. Boeing and Airbus competed to see whose slagged products were least toxic to salvage, and the former grace and beauty of the birds lay in broken chunks of charcoal on the increasingly viscous asphalt.
The first azure globes fell, warped by air resistance, striking the roofs of office blocks, banks and churches and exploding into millions of droplets of cerulean solution to paint the streets. Then sluiced down trickles, then streams, which swelled into rivers and finally great cataracts that drained the heavens and inundated the land.
Soon the hot August sky covered the ground, and all was blue. The naked moon gazed down from the inky depths of space and wondered what the hell was going on.