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Written by Jafei Pollitt





RYAN sleeps restlessly in his bed. He wakes to the sound of a broken siren wailing eerily outside his apartment.

He rubs his eyes and walks to the curtain drawn window where he opens it to reveal a red haze settling in the sky. He yawns and walks to the kitchen.

A small circle underneath his skin on the wrist flashes blue and chimes repetitively. He taps it twice and it turns off.



The coffee machine begins stewing. He goes to the bathroom where there are packets of powder stacked up besides the shower. He undresses, opens a packet, and dumps the remains into a container besides the shower.



A white haze fills the bathroom from the vents above. The falling powder attaches to him and begins to form a thin, silicone-like barrier around his skin. He turns on the faucet of the showerhead to which air bursts through like a hairdryer. He “washes” himself under it. The barrier becomes tight and the room clears of its haze.

He redresses into fresh clothes and goes back to the kitchen. He taps his right temple twice with his finger and we hear the low sounds of murmuring music spilling out of his ears.

RYAN rubs his eyes and reaches for the coffee. As he sips, he double taps his countertop and a small screen appears inside. He opens the “air quality app.”

The app opens to reveal the warning sign “TOXIC AIR, PLEASE ADVISE TO WEAR HEAD PROTECTION AND SUIT.”


I hate summer.

He finishes his coffee while scrolling through Facenet, an app where you can see who has been thinking about you and what they’re thinking about you. It shows only two people thought of him today. His mom and his dentist. His mom thought he was going nowhere and his dentist missed him.

RYAN puts down his coffee, goes to his closet, and pulls out a heavy-duty suit complete with a back panel for oxygen and a large helmet. He struggles into it.

Once in the suit, RYAN dumps his coffee into the “sink” and picks up a minuscule square kept in a little bowl for keys. He tosses it into the air, opens the door, and walks into a dusty, deserted landscape full of polluted skies and the low screaming of sirens.


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