follow us:

WHAT is supposed to happen is this: the sun will die. It will expand and swell and the sand fields that were the earth’s mountains and cities a billion years before will melt. Then the sun will slough off and leave behind lakes of glass. The caves, we think, where we’ve lasted, will linger a few more years. Though no one is in them now, because we all want to see.

This, the last flare of the sun, is the shift of the millennium. Of all millennia.

We are out in our heat-shield suits and tinted shades on the first sand hill far enough north that we deem the temperature safe. That is, here the temperature will not reach the melting point of silica, and we can watch the sun as it dies and morphs the southern sand fields.

And Lisa is here with me, with the rest of us, despite the fact she’s pregnant, and her belly has stretched her heat-suit to the point of ripping. She’s here, and I’d rather she wasn’t.

“The suits aren’t made for two,” I tell her, but she won’t listen. She never has. Not last night when I told her to sleep, not five months ago when she wanted to start a baby with me at the world’s taper, and not right now, when I wish she’d stayed in the caves, kilometers under the sands.

“I want this because of the baby,” I tell her. I told her that earlier too but she overruled me, like always. As if she was god, the way she can go on.

Lisa brushes a film of dust from her shades with her flip-off finger. She turns my way to make sure I notice. The movement crackles her suit garnet, reflecting solar sparks, and I feel torn with the nerves she’s causing me.

I say nothing. Already the sun is darker than usual, supple and rouge, the sky deep and brindled with day-stars: constellations that in the past were hidden by a flat young blue. Lisa stretches her arms out and up. Looking at her gleam I want to swat her for that reach, for that risky grasp at nothing. Her suit’s already so tight.

To the south the heat wavers and the dunes look alive.

“I’ll go too,” I say to Lisa, and I mean to the caves, but also I mean sorry. Sorry that at this moment we are arguing, and sorry that we ever argued.

“I’ll go too,” I repeat, and I start to turn in token, then Lisa grips my arm through the heat-fiber and I keep still.

We wait.

And while I’m still thinking of how to get Lisa below, it starts. The light hits us first, well before the heat, and I realize from the intensity that we’ve made a mistake: the heat will kill us. Even here, at this distance. Even if we had stayed in the caves. The sky’s rouge purples then blues and brightens and the day-stars fade. There’s a shiny collapse to the world kilometers off. Lisa lets go of my arm.

We spent years preparing for this: reinforcing the suits, hand layering flexible carbon-carbon, soldering seams in the bio-fluoresce of the caverns. The heat of our blow-torch wafted sparks upward, though nowhere near the crested dome of rock. In the dirt, under the earth, Lisa had teased, surreptitiously plucking yeasty-shelled fungi from the walls before they began to spore. They had more vibrancy, she claimed, and it’s true. As she chewed her mouth took on the glow of crushed phosphorous.

The heat grows and starts to sear through the soles of my suit. There’s a roiling, primordial flux to the sand fields. We were wrong. And now, at this point, who says what comes next? Who says what will silicate up? What might pull our fossils into something sheer and new?

The sand under Lisa and me glints and shifts and Lisa gasps. I put a hand on her, and then I gasp too, because the baby has kicked. My first baby, Lisa’s first as well. And the baby’s first everything. As the heat grows the light of the dead sun dissipates and the stars shine through. So many billion years worth, a planet’s lifetime worth–enough that the sky is white with them. And still, even under the pain of it all, I feel in my palm that gorgeous kick. I feel life: what we made, the Goddess Lisa and I.


Erin Frances Fisher is a writer and musician out of Victoria, BC. Her stories have won awards and/or been published in The Malahat Review, PRISM international, Riddle Fence, and Granta. 

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LF #040 © Erin Fisher. Published by Little Fiction | Big Truths, April 2013.


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the goddess lisa

by erin frances fisher