I wiped the fog from the kitchen window with the towel I’d been using to dry the dishes. Rain. What a surprise.
When they’d told us on Earth that the planet was rainy, it never really registered with me. I was from Seattle after all. I was used to rain. Anyway, that’s what I thought. I sighed and turned back to the kitchen. The psychologists made sure our prefabs were bright and cheery. All of the lights, in every building, were full spectrum so that we wouldn’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder. SAD they called it back on Earth. Here it wasn’t something just the occasional person got. Apparently quite a few of the original colonizing scientists went mad and killed each other. Can’t have that with the permanent colonists.
I finger-combed my son’s fine hair, same as his father’s, and gave him a smile. “Finish your breakfast, Eddie.” He nodded, mouth full of scrambled egg, as he kept his eyes on the cartoon on the monitor.
I dropped sliced bread into the toaster and poured a coffee for Ed. I was still amazed at how well the agriculturists could mimic real coffee from the yeast vats. There was some squawking about when we’d get real coffee, real dairy, so on and so on. You’d think they were deprived or something. All we ate on Earth was yeast food. Just because the scientists said we’d get real food someday. I rolled my eyes. Takes time to raise animals after all, and plants. Nothing Earth derived could survive the climate here. Time, I thought. Need lots of time.
Ed came into the kitchen. He kissed Eddie on the top of his head and gave me a kiss on the cheek as the toast popped up.
Eddie finished his egg by pushing it onto his spoon with a slice of toast. Then ate the toast.
Ed buttered his toast and slurped his coffee. “Great bread, honey. I love that you make it from scratch.”
I smiled. As a botanist, I had a part of a greenhouse. I was developing a strain of wheat that might work here.
Ed finished his toast. “Come on, buddy. Time for me to walk you to school.”
They both put on their rain gear and walked out the door with a wave to me. I watched from the cleaned window. They got halfway to the next pre-fab and collapsed. I pulled the curtain and cleaned up the kitchen. The bread went into the disposall.
I was at my computer when the knock came. I answered, letting the colony leader and the security officer into the foyer. “James, Alex, what’s going on?”
James looked uncomfortable.
“Uh, Anna.” Alex pulled his hood down. “There’s been a problem.”
I looked at each in turn. “Problem?”
“Yeah.” James took a deep breath. “Your husband and son were found out on the walk. Dead.”
I blinked at them. “Dead?”
“Yes.” Alex pulled his pad from an inside pocket. “Something about poisoning. The local plant alkaloids. Was Ed experimenting with anything here at home?”
“No. No. He kept everything in the labs. Some of the local plant life is toxic even to touch.”
The two men nodded. “Sorry for your loss, Anna.” James took my hand and patted it. They pulled up their hoods. “We’ll send Mary by.”
“Mary.” I nodded. “That would be good.”
“Sure.” They left.
I went back to the computer. That would be good. I was sick of Mary, too.