One by one, the pavement tiles passed by beneath her feet. Black as tar, her shadow grew longer and longer, only to fade into the night without a sound.

There was something romantic about walking down a deserted street, she thought. As she watched a crumpled newspaper sheet take flight in the wind, she couldn’t help but imagine that tonight, she was all that’s left of this world. Beneath the skies colored by toxic chemicals, humanity laid in a pile of ashes, never to rise back up again.

Tonight there are no rules. Tonight she is God.

She would rewrite history as she pleased, wiping away nations with the flick of her wrist. She alone decided mankind’s future, for she was the sole survivor. For the first time, she felt in control of the world, instead of being just a cog in the machine.

Life is all that you make of it, they said. So be it, she thought.

With a quick swipe of her paintbrush she painted the world in shades of gray.

“Smile, why won’t you smile”, he said to her one night. “I just want you to be happy.”

“But what if I don’t want to be happy?”

The thing about melancholy, she explained to herself, was that it was so simple. The climb towards happiness is long and tiring. But melancholy, well, is the opposite.

Melancholy is all about free fall. Melancholy is the sound of air as it rushes by your ears. Melancholy is the sense of weightlessness, the feeling that you’re finally free.

And as she swung her paintbrush, pouring her favorite color upon the world, she laughed, and she laughed.