My post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story "Wintering Ground" is out at Aphelion Webzine, in the August issue.
I watched my father sleep. My sore eyes were on the verge of popping out, like too much air had gotten behind the eyeballs, the lids sliding down every so often before I could catch myself and shake my head, forcing both body and mind to remain awake.
I knew his turn was up. I was supposed to stir him, get a wink of rest on the cold ground myself while he kept watch, but I couldn't bring myself to drag him out from sleep and into this colorless world.
His belly quivered as he breathed.
Later, the horizon began to lighten from black to dusty gray, and he woke up.
Years of living under dead heavens had taught him to recognize daylight, poking its soiled fingers into his eyes, even in sleep. He sat up. Stared at me. “I overslept.” Smacking his lips, brushing dirt off his beard. “Why didn't you wake me up?”
My shoulders slumped as I watched smears of white appear on the horizon, a sun seething behind clouds. Another dawn, another day.