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It was dark already, but it was still too early to put the lights on. She sat beside her stove in the dim light and indulged in a rare moment’s stillness.

This was not the life she had hoped for when she first wed.

She had quickly become an expert at making the best of what was to hand; at preserving food and cultivating fruit and vegetables, some of which she had never even heard of just a few months ago. She pickled, canned and salted; made jams and jellies, and made it all stretch throughout the harsher months when nothing grew.

While her husband went out hunting, she stayed at home, in the house that they had built together, and mended clothes that back home would have been thought beyond repair. When he came back, bearing the carcass of yet another strange beast which had no name in their language, she would set to work once again, preserving the meat and making blankets from the hide.

When their meagre fuel ran low, she did most of this in the dark.

The door opened, and her husband came in.

“I can’t live like this any more,” she said quietly.

He muttered the usual familiar platitudes, the usual encouraging empty words about how they would adjust, how they could get used to anything.

“No,” she said. “I can’t. I don’t want to live on the frontier, I want to go home. I want to live in a town, with other people, with shops that are less than three days travel. With a doctor that can reach us in minutes, not days. I want to go home.”

He sighed and turned on the lights. He had always hated to argue in the dark.

“Why,” he asked. “Why now, all of a sudden?”

She looked down for a moment.

“We can barely feed ourselves here. And we’re going to need food for three.”

He stared at her and a smile began to spread across his face.

“Please,” she said. “For the baby’s sake. Let’s go back to Earth.”

© Kari Fay

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