Author: Rachel Sievers

The sky was painted with the deep reds and dark purples that can only come when a storm is pushing its way over the snow peaked mountains. I let the heavy cloth fall backward and into place blocking out the view. I tip my mug back and swallow the rest of the coffee I have reheated in the kettle on the wood stove.

Turning to the darkness of the house I look around. A storm would be good, we need the weather. An archaistically dry spring, summer, and fall has plagued the pacific northwest and drought has set in and taken hold like the sickness that had proceeded it.

The winter before the drought the world was plagued with something some called new, and some called ancient, and what some whispered as Gaia’s revenge.

The sickness brought a quiet to the world that I had never experienced. The cities ceased to drive cars, busses, and trains. The people ceased to buy. Groceries stories lay empty and their fresh produce left to rot. Department stores were ghost towns with only their clothing and sale tags there to watch in lonely forlornness. Even the television was not a solace, with the internet giving way to the dodo with no one to maintain its many faults.

I stand alone in the quiet of the house. The stillness I have tried to grasp so many times through meditation and yoga now available at every moment of every day. I sigh and go to the bedroom. I have placed them in a bed together. I think it helps, knowing they are not alone. The beautiful faces asleep like the princesses of old fairy tales.

I am lucky, I have medical training. I can keep them alive with fluids and feeding tubes. I shudder to think of the dead that are in all the other homes around the world. When the world fell asleep eighteen months ago many died just from neglect. Too many slumbering and not enough staying awake to care for them. As more and more became infected with the Sleeping Beauty Virus the race to find a cure was cut short and the dead piled up.

I run my hand over their sleeping forms. Check their IV bags and prepare the nutrient rich food that I pump into their bodies. I move their sleeping forms at least five times a day to prevent bed sores yet my husband has already developed two. I am not a surgeon so if the sores become too much I know he will die. My two children lay next to their father. They have peaceful smiles and I can’t help but smile at them. I sigh breaking the silence and move to keep the restful alive.