She liked to imagine that they fucked among the ashes.

“The” ashes were not just any ashes, but the ashes that remained after the world burned.

She could see it burning, in the news, in scientific articles, in the asphalt. It didn’t take much imagination to fast forward to a time when humans had finally destroyed all the oxygen-producing algae in the ocean and driven themselves out of existence. Everyone would be gone except, for some reason, herself and this man she was fucking.

While the daydream unfolded in her mind, the reality-bound man was doing most of the physical work. She meandered along a fictional path while he stroked her, put his fingers inside and out, and flipped her around like a rag doll.

So what came next? What creatures would rise up to inherit? She saw red, ten-foot long worms in the sea that processed methane, turned it into sugars, and became food for an enormous anaerobic jellyfish with a blossoming consciousness.  On land, a species of cockroach would evolve to breathe the strange new air. Perhaps they’d have families and clans, wars and cockroach dramas acted out on their empty stage.

At this point, the man was persisting in his efforts and even increasing his momentum. She met him partway, tightened her muscles around him, and let a moan or two escape her quiet lips. Was he doing this for her, or just for himself? Was she selfish to take a backseat, let him achieve his own pleasure while she mentally wandered off? It might have been different if she hadn’t already climaxed alone with her vibrator, earlier in the day, several times in frenetic succession.

No fantasies played out when she masturbated, only blank physicality. It was mechanical, the only clear thought a deafening “YES” amid a vague, shadowy backdrop of sensation. In fact, it might be the sole moment in the day when consciousness and reality aligned, unassailed by daydream.

Now the story carried her along until the earth was again writhing with new, unimaginable life, and her right ankle rested on his shoulder while he jerked back and forth, and her hips responded in rhythm, until it was over and he wiped the slime off of her stomach and breasts. She immediately grabbed her notebook from the bedside table, which was no longer ashes, and took her pleasure jotting down a few ideas to expand upon later.  

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