My latest short story, “Intro to Prom,” is out now at Clarkesworld! It’s about fish, waiting, and the end of the world.

Jack had promised to pick her up for fishgazing, but he’s late, and by the time he comes out of his house she’s forgotten her promise and started counting the windows.

“Celandine,” he says, quietly. Disappointed. He can always tell when she’s been counting; they’ve had time to get used to each other.

She makes herself look at him. She smiles, smooths her hands down her skirt, swings a leg over her bike. (One hundred seventy-two dark windows—she hadn’t gotten to the end of the last row, and it feels like leaving something undone, like a door’s still open or water’s boiling.) She pedals until her legs are shaking. Behind them, dark windows. Ahead of them, the sky.

They make good time even with the detour around Willow Square, and the fish are still feeding when they get to the hill. They leave their bikes on low ground—Mara and Robbie never come this close, it’s fine—and walk on foot up the path they’ve worn into the grass.

Dead birds are everywhere underfoot (they kept trying to escape), and it takes a while to reach the top of the hill without stepping on the bones. Back in town, the strings of streetlights are glowing yellow; she can see her bedroom, if she turns around.

“Don’t look back,” Jack says. The hill’s steep, and he’s out of breath, and he sounds more frightened than he is.

“Coward,” she says anyway, just so he’ll frown at her. She likes when he’s angry. Makes her feel better.

At the top of the hill they lie back in the grass. It’s brittle after so long without water—even the insects won’t live in it now—and it scrapes her calves, the backs of her arms, the palms of her hands when she sinks her fingers into the dirt and grips as hard as she can.

Above them, the fish swarm in darts of blue and gold and black. It’s day; they glint, sometimes. Sometimes, the long thin shadow of an eel slides across the sky.

She’d thought the crack in the sky was an eel, the first time she saw it.

“Just pretend it is,” Jack had told her. “Close your eyes and count to ten and try.”

He’d been looking at her like he wanted to kiss her. “It helps,” he’d said. Jack’s a fucking idiot.

The fish move above them, never touching.

“It’s bigger,” she says after a while.

After a while he says, “Yeah.”

It’s a lie, but she keeps looking up, hoping.

When it’s too dark to see anything, they go back down the hill toward the grid of lamps in Venture, through the wide dark avenue that splits the West Side from the East; their bikes are the only noise, all the way home.