Sunday 17 March 2024

Sunday Serial, 240 x 70, Gill James, 8. Clouds 5 June 2018, rain water,

A clear blue sky.  Great wide chimneys belch out what they say is only steam.   A threatening black spreads across the sky, obscuring the sun.  Oh the irony. The sun gives us life and warmth and light. We create this power to run, heaters, light bulbs and machines that save lives.  When everything else goes wrong the sun carries on shining.   Except it doesn’t now because we have covered it up.  We’re putting out the sun.   

Mary Phillips could not breathe. She could not quite get her oxygen mask to her mouth in time. She died uncomfortably at 4.30 p.m.

Robby McArthur had given up the fags ten years ago but still had a hacking cough. During a coughing fit he lost control of his lorry on the M6 and ploughed into the crash barrier.  The lorry jack-knifed. He was killed instantly.

Farmer Peter Robinson’s crop failed because there weren’t enough sunny days. He couldn’t pay his bills. When the bailiffs came, his wife and daughters left in a hurry.  He tried to hang himself from the old oak tree in the top field but fortunately – or unfortunately – it was dying and the branch broke. 

It carried on going wrong. The squirrels and the birds in Mary’s garden realise there was something amiss. The flowers they left for Robby wilted. Peter never saw his family again.  It never came right.

No one was aware of the main problem, though: the trees were all dying and soon would no longer be able to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. And that the sun had had enough of the folly of the human race and had decided to look for a new home.            


About the author

Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown.  

She edits CafeLit and writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation.

She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing.


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