A4, digital, 2010

The world is ruined.  A shattered city shows the remains of objects that are so familiar to us – cars, girders and the skeletons of once-tall buildings.  Our civilization appears to have been irretrievably smashed.

And this may not be a man-made disaster.  The huge rent in the ground suggests some natural catastrophe which has broken the surface of our planet.  Perhaps there has been an asteroid impact, or volcanic eruptions on an unprecedented scale.  Whatever the cause, though, all that we treasured has gone.

But perhaps not.  The Sun rises as always and sheds its life-giving warmth on the Earth.  Light clouds scud across the sky, and our atmosphere is still there to support life.   Two human figures hold hands and watch the sunrise.  We don’t know what is going through their minds, but the fact that they hold on to each other shows that they still cling to some vestige of hope.  And there will be other people who can work together to build a new, and perhaps better, world.

Text: Richard Hayes

Hope is featured in Erin Lale's 2012 science-fiction eBook anthology, Anarchy Time Yarns.