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Playing in the Street

Chapter One

Moscow, Idaho. July, 2030

A fine layer of gray dust covered everything. Old cars, rusted, tires flat, lined the street like a huge metal fence. Every car coated with the dust. No animal footprints, not even that of a cat crawling on the hood and sleeping in the sun. Nothing since the gray dust fell.

Litter had spilled out of a garbage can in front of one house and was now glued in place by the dust. The trees were dead, black skeletons, making the street appear to be in the grip of winter all year long. A stop light at the street’s end, three dark round eyes in the sky, watched the complete lack of movement on the quiet suburban scene. It watched the mailboxes and the child’s bike. It watched the basketball hoop above the garage door of the split-level and the bare areas that had once been green yards.

Before. The evidence of before was all along the street. It lined the street. It was the street. There had been a time of life here before the dust had settled over it. The dust had fallen at night, then it had rained and the dust had become hard, like a child’s clay exposed to the air too long. It still looked mostly like a layer of gray dust, but it never altered. Not even the winter snows and spring melts could move or change it. And there was nothing anyone could do to clean it up. The dust was there to stay for centuries to come, of that there was no doubt.

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