JP Fosterson

Latest | About

Story — The Shade


My story, The Shade, a peri-apocalyptic sci-fi love story, was published in It is about 5500 words, or a 22 minute read.

Here is the intro:

The Milky Way reached up from the horizon like the arm of a wraith in a shroud. In the hills of central Texas, a man set down the handles of a wheelbarrow, unzipped the hood of his parka, pulled down the front of his ski mask, and spat. The wad of saliva crackled as it froze in the air. He recalled a story that he’d read as a boy, about a man alone with his dog in the Yukon, where spit started to freeze in the air at seventy-five below. He wondered if it was true. The thermometer on the pecan tree in the yard had bottomed out at minus twenty.

He replaced his mask, zipped up his hood and hustled the wheelbarrow up to the cabin. Inside the mudroom it was warmer, but still freezing. He dumped his load of firewood, then stepped back outside and slammed the door. As soon as it shut, firelight backlit the frost on the window as his wife opened the inner door and started bringing the wood into the insulated interior of the cabin for stacking. This would be the last chance to get more firewood before it was too cold to go outside at all. He turned and went back for another load.

He decided not to check his watch. His face had nearly frozen before, when he opened his hood. He guessed that it was about five in the afternoon, if you could call it afternoon. Seventeen o’clock, anyway, sometime in the middle of August. He looked to the northwestern sky and tried to find the black void in the star field. Near it was the barest sliver of a new moon that anyone on earth had ever seen. There was no light pollution, the power grid had failed. There was no water vapor in the air, the snow had stopped. The sky was as clear as empty space itself. Not a whisper of wind; not a car on the highway; no birds; no animals; the pecan and oaks and mesquite encased in ice, the moon, the stars, the snow on the ground. He had never seen a world like this. He made a clumsy sign of the cross, though he didn’t know what words he was supposed to say when he did it. A week ago he had called himself an atheist. Now, the only choices he could see were to say a prayer and get back to work, or to sit down in the snow and die.