“Click & Scroll” – a short science fiction story.
Lucy Teague was the most amazing person he’d never meet. She had the most beautiful smile, wore cherry-red lipstick in every photo. He didn’t even like red, at least he hadn’t until he saw her.
She looked so happy. That’s what caught his attention; he’d never seen anyone look so happy before, couldn’t understand how such a happy face could exist, what with the War, the rising crime, and air too smoky to stand outside for long. He couldn’t help but click.
Click and scroll, no different to any other day. Clicking and scrolling, searching for the spark when someone clicked back. Lucy Teague wasn’t an exception, but he knew right from the start nothing good would come of it. Yet, every day he opened her profile page, clicked to see the oldest posts first, and spent the day scrolling, rubbing his finger smooth, reading until the last.
Hi, y’all! New account, come find me! 😀
It made him feel better that she’d asked, that she wanted to be found. Didn’t everyone?
She liked the same things he did, virtually and literally – funny how those words mean the same thing. He saw her name on pages he frequented, pages on bushcraft. He imagined them together by a campfire, exchanging sleepy kisses after a hard day’s work.
She’d linked a foraging guide to her profile with the caption, Please be careful. If you’re not sure what it is – leave it!
That little bit of kindness lured him in deeper.
She made things too, like him. He collected junk from around town, when the air permitted, and stuck them together so they looked nice. Nice enough, anyway. He wasn’t much good at it. She did it better. She bought her supplies and they were much more neat; cogs and little clocks, sprayed gold and bronze, glued onto notebooks and photo frames.
He wished he could buy something off her, or exchange one for something he made. She would have liked his stuff, being made out of old junk. She loved the planet, but reasonably unlike people today who caused riots.
He should have stopped when he saw her husband.
There were a lot of pictures of them, and they always looked good together. Her smile was more beautiful than ever. In one post, there was a picture of their faces tucked close, showing off their clasped hands with matching silver bands. The caption said:
Happy anniversary, hubby! Love you so much!!!!
They’d gotten married at 21, had three children, a daughter and two sons. She was very proud of them, had over a hundred posts saying so.
By the end of the day, bleary-eyed and finger raw, he reached her last update. It was a picture of a bow-shaped insect, as pretty and red as her cherry-lipstick.
What a rare sight these days!
That was her last status update, 102 years ago. He’d seen it first, known all along, yet couldn’t help but fall in love with a dead woman.
Header Photo by Soumil Kumar