First Monday Free Fiction: Picnic at Seashell Beach

After the End - Stories of Life After the ApocalypseWelcome to the August 2020 edition of First Monday Free Fiction. To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on every first Monday of the month. It will remain free to read on this blog for one month, then I’ll take it down and post another story.

You may have noticed that there was no First Monday Free Fiction in July, because with the July Short Story Challenge and everything else going on, I just plain forgot.

This month’s free story is called “Picnic at Seashell Beach” and  may be found in the collection After the End – Stories of Life After the Apocalypse.

So join Pete and Marcie for a post-apocalyptic daytrip and a…

Picnic at Seashell Beach

“Okay, so what are we doing here again?”

Marcie jumped out of the solar car. She put on her shades and adjusted her shawl, even though the sun was already dipping towards the horizon, hanging like an overripe Satsuma in the late afternoon sky.

“It’s an outing.” Pete got out of the car and activated the lock. He opened the tiny trunk and picked up a cool box. “We’re going to have a romantic picnic on the beach.”

“A picnic? Outside? Really?” Marcie applied sunscreen stick to her exposed cheeks and nose. “That’s an… interesting idea.”

“It was my Grandma’s idea, really.” Pete gave Marcie a sheepish look and pulled his cap deeper into his face. “She told me when she and Grandpa were dating, Grandpa didn’t have any money to take her for dinner, so they had a picnic at Seashell Beach instead.”

“And when was that?” Marcie wanted to know. Cause Seashell Beach — which had neither seashells nor a beach these days — was about the least romantic place she could imagine.

Pete shrugged. “I dunno. Sixty, maybe sixty-five years ago. Granny’s getting on in years and Grandpa — well, he’s been dead for almost twenty years now.”

Noticing Marcie’s questioning glance, Pete added, “He died when I was seven. Melanoma got him. He refused to wear sunscreen, you know. Said he never needed any when he was young.”

“Fuck. I’m sorry.”

Pete shrugged again. “There’s no need, really. I barely remember him and what I remember is hospital beds and mottled skin. But Granny, she remembers. They’d been married for almost forty years, you know.”


This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in After the End – Stories of Life After the Apocalypse. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.

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