Lauren woke up, which surprised her. She shot a hopeful glance at Richard, in the bed beside her, and held her breath until she was sure she saw his. So they’d made it another day. Lauren didn’t know how long this could continue, people were starting to die. Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox had been the first; their old decrepit bodies seemingly had no chance against the bright burning sun. They’d gone out, she heard, and never made it back home. The sun spotted their hope and scorched it into crisps.
Then it had been poor baby Mia, only two weeks old, her weak newborn frame couldn’t take the sweltering heat. Mia’s mother, Tina, had stormed out into the garden and stayed there, too cut up with grief to care what happened next. What happened next was that she had baked fried scalded, blistered, burned, and shrivelled.
Lauren tried to blink away the images and the terror. What was worse? Taking on the sun like that or the slow crawl to the end, starvation and thirst? Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. She watched the rise and fall of Richard’s broad shoulders, the manly lines of his back and the eternal beads of sweat that covered them now. She moved up, her body brushing against his, skin on skin, alive. The unmistakable drip of desire, the electrical jolts caused her hand to snake around his body and feel for a response with confident fingers. They still had today.