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  • No one at the Home recalled the air raid sirens.

    "Remember?" Lisa prodded every newcomer. "The bomb, the search lights, the noontime sirens?"

    The dining room smelled of week-old piss and the acrid scent that clings to the elderly just as, fifty years earlier, the women had walked in a trail of Arpege.

    Lisa didn't want any new experiences. There were too many old ones crowding in, demanding her distraction.

    She and Tom squirmed with excitement every Monday before noon, knowing the sirens would scream them out onto the playground when both hands hit 12. Sprinting past the monkey bars and swings, flying over the lower baseball fields and tumbling into the tangled sideline brush where they would fall upon one another, laughing, in chaparral redolent of licorice sticks.

    In the time of the sirens, they were the planet's last living creatures, surviving on foraged nuts and berries. They ground acorn seeds between rocks and the low stone wall that separated them from what appeared to be other children playing. Dream figures, they'd decided. Only they existed on the blasted plains. Tom and Lisa. The end and the beginning. To drown out the others they tuned Tom's red transistor radio to static, as loud as it would go.

    It was 1959 and the Reds had dropped the bomb. Never again would sour berries taste as sweet or rumors of war stir such passion.

    236 words. 1 hour.
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