Like an hourglass, sand spilled down from the hilltops, counting centuries rather than minutes. Wind and rain, along with every other element in nature, collaborated to turn the sturdy mountains into flowing mounds of useless sand.
Jedidiah rode Smokey down the desolate trail that lead to his once flourishing farm. “I know girl, I don’t want to leave either; but do we have any other choice?”
Smokey took another half-step before coming to a complete stop. She looked over her shoulder and up the reins to Jedidiah.
“Don’t look at me like that. She doesn’t want me around anymore.”
Smokey huffed and stomped one hoof.
“I know because the seven stitches behind my ear tell me so.” Jedidiah gently dug his heels into his friend’s gut and made a clicking sound with his tongue. “C’mon, we need to make it to Landsfall before the storm hits us. The sand is worse than usual for this time of year, if we get stuck out here, we’ll be nothing but bones by morning. Besides, her farm is next to go anyway.”
Smokey huffed and sidestepped once, but obeyed. Jedidiah looked around at the acres of useless land and cursed his family’s misfortune. They had made a good run of it, just over two hundred years and six generations of his kin had farmed their plot on Mars. That good fortune had started to run out sixty years ago when Mars’ landscape decided to fight back against the humans’ terraforming project. The planet was crumbling all around them, some areas like Jedidiah’s farm, more quickly than others.
The storm rolled in faster than Jedidiah had expected; before long he was sand-blind, shortly after that he was unconscious.
Jedidiah woke to a moist cloth wiping his face. He looked up to see the most beautiful woman to ever hit him with a baseball bat.
“Goddamned genetically enhanced horse.” Jedidiah muttered.
“I love you too.” Natalie said. “Welcome home.”