Another piece for the failed NaNo entry. Meela, as a character, stayed in, as did Richard from the previous Theme.
Meela stared out the window. The rain spattered against the pane, droplets combining to form rivulets that dribbled down over the windowsill and fell the twenty storeys to the ground. Her forehead rested against the cold glass, breath misting up a small circle.
“Why do you have to go?” she had cried.
“If we want a healthy child, I have to go.” He had been so careful to keep his expression warm, loving, despite her outburst. Damn him, he had always been so good at that.
“There are other ways we could get in the OxyDomes. We could buy our way in.”
His eyebrows went up. “How’re we going to find the money, love? It’s not like we have the savings.”
At the memory of what she said next, Meela’s face reddened. Richard’s response had been suitably heated.
“No! You’ll never have to do that again, love. Not as long as I’m alive.” He had hugged her then, and a matching tightness wound around her heart as she looked out at the grey rain.
The flat seemed so empty. The power had gone off again for the whole block and the only light was coming in through the window; everything was picked out in greys, blues and blacks. It was as if the colour had leeched out of the world when he left.
The 3V screen flickered into life. Suddenly the room was washed out and Meela went and sat on the threadbare sofa. It was lumpy under her, the stuffing bunched into hard chunks that resisted all but the most dedicated pummelling.
The 3V set, independently powered, was muted. “Volume up,” Meela said, and in response the room slowly filled with the sound of an announcer speaking in his cultured Dome 1 accent.
“...tonight’s matches will feature some of the fifth-round contestants, a third-round contestant and, finally, the newest contenders. Stay in your seats while we have these words from our sponsors.”
Meela sighed. Richard was on the second round; he wasn’t fighting tonight. “Off,” she said hopefully, but the set bleeped and stayed resolutely on. Viewing wasn’t mandatory, but the picture wouldn’t go away until the Central Broadcasting Board stopped putting out a signal. She curled up on the sofa, in the space where Richard would have been, and tried to shut out the noise and the light and the emptiness. She opened herself to tears, but there were none; her sorrow had emptied her days earlier.