It rained, and rained, and rained. An endless cacophony of sound
bared itself to every corner of the house, every dark cupboard and
splintered recess. A girl sat by the window, comfortably settled on her
bed. Readers, parchment, quills, novels, and jumbled heaps of clothing were
strewn about her. She was bent over a journal, her lips silently forming
the words as she wrote. A book lay open before her.
"Why did the Federal Republic of the Western Secessioned States war
with one another after their split from the former United States in 2020?"
A sudden flash of lightning threw her face into sharp relief. The
fair skin looked a pale blue, deeper than it really was. The cheekbones
were high, the nose narrow and curved. Rich brown locks of hair covered her
shoulders and the back of her calico gown.
Silently she moved on to the next question.
"Explain the cultural change in North America and the surrounding
region after the atom bombings of such cities as Chicago, New York, Los
Angeles, Paris, and London."
A great roar of thunder exploded frighteningly loud and mercifully
far away. More lightning stabbed down, and she counted the
seconds.one.three.thunder erupted again, and the rain fell and fell and
She pictured the faded headlines: Key Cities around the World
Destroyed.. Moscow, Berlin, Tokyo, Edinburgh.. Her grandmother had told her
of the time when women wore men's clothes and girls exposed their ankles.
Her grandmother had told her of the time when she exchanged her sandals for
slippers and T-shirts for ball gowns.
"Yes, love. They were cotton. They were a blessing in the summer
"From the Americas."
"I lived in the Americas, dearest."