by Maya Spore
Eduardo and Luciana were walking hand in hand along the shoreline of Corcovado Beach. To their left side, the slope of the big hill rose above them, topped with the man-like statue that towered on the peak.
In spite of having lost its arms in the everlasting battle against acid rain, the Cristo Redentor was still majestic and breathtaking. A symbol of men being able to put their art above nature, telling the world that in their faith of God and Jesus, anything could be conquered.
When has God turned His back on us? Eduardo thought like he always did when he saw the mutilated statue. Who has lost their faith in the other first?
Faith had long deserted the place that Rio de Janeiro had become. Once a blossoming pearl on the Atlantic Ocean, it had quickly become a ghost town when all the sources of drinkable water had dried up. The city funds had dried up just as fast, when tourists had started to avoid the place. And when the expensive shipments of fresh ice from Antarctica had finally become unaffordable, the city had started to empty.
It had been the death stab for Rio, and Brazil in general. Up north in the Amazon Desert, gangs fought over the possession of the last oases. Clean water had become the modern drug, and criminals had always been creative in adapting themselves to changing situations.
Eduardo unconsciously squeezed Luciana’s hand. She looked at him and smiled with her eyes. He felt once again the same tingle he had felt forty years ago, when they had first fallen in love and they had carved their initials in the trunk of a tree here. She still looks as beautiful, he thought.
He stopped and embraced her while they looked out over the ocean on their right side. In the distance, the windmill park of Copacabana stood silently in the water. Their blades had stopped one by one when the funds to maintain them had perished. Now, they were silent guardians, placed in the ocean on the spot where once millions of people celebrated the yearly carnival.
Eduardo sighed and wished he didn’t remember how it used to be. Why did we let it come this far? He looked at his wife and suddenly felt a stir.
He still had the picture of her he had once taken, on which she was dressed as a carnival girl. She looked so proud in it, with feathers on her body from birds that no longer existed on this planet anymore. She had looked so sexy that sunny day, dancing the samba on the beach, only dressed to a minimum and making the blood in his head boil. Eduardo felt his body coming to life just thinkingof it.
“I feel like doing something wild,” he told his love from behind his dust mask. He noticed her looking at him, puzzled at first. But then her eyebrows rose when she recognized the naughty sparkle in his eyes.
“Eduardo… you can’t mean…?”
He didn’t answer but took off her mask, and then his own. He kissed her with the passion he still felt for her, and she answered him. He gently guided her body to the sand, and laid beside her.
It was a nice day. A mild 40°C and only a strong breeze. He no longer could hold back, so he started to unbutton the long-sleeved dress she was wearing. He slowly opened button after button while he kept on kissing her.
He shivered when he saw her skin appearing from beneath her clothes, and how the light of the sun gave it that special tone he always admired. The situation made him feel like a teenager again. It felt so dangerous what they did, so risky.
“Eduardo, you cheeky devil! We haven’t brought any precautions.”
“Don’t worry, darling,” he said, and opened his backpack. “I am always prepared.”
He took a tube out and started applying the sunscreen/mosquito repellent to her exposed skin. She moaned and kissed him again, suddenly pulling his shirt up. It felt so exciting to kiss in the open with their masks off and their skins exposed. So dangerous.
Suddenly, the sky started to darken. Strong, whistling sounds could be heard coming from the distant windmills, which could only mean one thing.
“A storm, there’s a storm coming!”
Unpredictable as the weather had become on the changed planet, the heavy clouds quickly gathered. Lightning bolts flashed down into the ocean.
“Quick, we need to seek shelter!”
They rearranged their clothes and started running up the road that lead into the dry, dead woods surrounding the hill. Abandoned, rusty wreckages of fuel-based cars were all over, making it hard to stay on the cracked road. Only the rich could afford electric vehicles anymore, and the rich avoided these regions of the world at all cost.
Hand in hand they ran for their lives. Thunder sounded continuously and the wind tried to blow them off their feet. Not a single drop of rain fell down though, as if nature wanted to mock the name which humans had once picked out for their city.
When it was nearly impossible to stand anymore, Eduardo dragged Luciana into the dead woods. The carcasses of the trees were acting as windbreakers, but it was harder to progress anymore. Where are the houses? he tried to remember in panic.
A blinding flash of light rippled the sky, immediately followed be a deafening roll of thunder. The sound overpowered the noise the tumbling tree was making. It missed them by mere centimeters.
Suddenly, a loud cracking sound could be heard uphill. Trees were being crushed to the ground as if they were only matches. Something huge and massive was coming their way, like a giant monster.
Their hearts almost failed when a big concrete boulder – almost 4 meters in diameter – rolled down from the hill a few meters in front of them, and came to a stop against a big tree stump. The giant face it bore stared at them, looking angry from this distance.
Mesmerized by the face of the beheaded Christ, they stood rooted to the spot. They never saw the tree that was tumbling into their direction. Together, they died under the crushing force of its trunk.
Three days later, they were found by a group of nomads. Their possessions were quickly scavenged and their dead bodies left for the sparse vultures that still managed to survive.
On the log that formed their grave, there was an old heart, pierced with an arrow. Underneath, some letters were carved.
E loves L – 2014