Humanity had lessened since its peak of billions; selfishness proved to be as mortal as they were.
Now there is only one beach. One final shore before the abyss of clouds. Sky void remnants of what no longer shines.
A woman stands before the water. Her toes feel the sand. Plastic. It feels like plastic.
Her eyes wander over the ocean. Oh, sea. Oh, reef. Forgotten words of a distant past.
Far over the water, a neon rain begins to fall. It is green. And when the lightning reaches down to touch the water, it is red.
There are no boats out at sea. All of the wanderers have found their way home. Every road has been traveled. Every path to be seen since discovered. There is nothing else left to know.
There is finally peace.
The woman clears her throat, turning to the bottle in her hand. Strawberry mead.
She lifts the glass bottle, the distant echoes of raging thunder sharing her final toast with her.
But she smiles, beginning to take a sip.
With her eyes closed, she does not even see the flash. The brief instant before contact.
The forever stillness. The road finding its way home.
Who is to say we did not know this was possible? The last beach, finally free of swimmers and tourists? A quiet world of acid rain? Acid rain, neon lightning, and desert forests.
Balance has been restored in the natural world. There is peace.
Writing and photography by Hazel J. Hall.
Previously published by Shambles Literary.