Melanie wishes her mother was swimming past the window but outside it’s the jellyfish farmer and his pet turtle testing the water for red canker. They have to be so careful now. Always testing the horrid grey lumps for the toxic parasites. She dreams of a hamburger and fries, things long forgotten in the blasted wastelands of the dry. The turtle is picking a sea louse off its fin. Sam calls the lice cockroaches of the sea. They survived the bombs that stirred the world. Melanie wonders if she is a cockroach too.
Twelve of them share this metal box with its endless rattling hiss of compressed air and the damp scent of rot that never goes away. The only twelve that made it through the airlock as iron-grey waves crashed over the Blue Mountains. Sam thinks they might be the last people on Earth. At least the blue depths protect them from the actinic glare of the wasted sky.
She pushes her book aside, frustrated by the pointless activity and wishes once more her mother had made it through the airlock before the tide came.
About the author: Carleton Chinner is the author of the Cities of the Moon series of science fiction novels and a reviewer for the Aussie Speculative Fiction Review. He is an Australian born writer who grew up on a remote farm in South Africa, where the trip to the town library was the highlight of his week. He devoured anything science fiction, fantasy and horror. And, when that wasn’t enough, turned to urban legend and traditional tribal histories which combined to provide a heady brew of stories.
He settled in Australia as an adult but not before turning up unarmed at a gunfight, discovering dead bodies and fighting off sharks while spearfishing.
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