GENRE: YA Apocalyptic Sci-Fi
Whoever said breathing was effortless must have had oxygen, because I found it crazy hard. My breath came in short gasps, my lungs straining. I staggered to the front room in search of my helmet, using what little air I had left to curse a blue streak. Most people didn't have to deal with this crap.
Most people were dead.
A steady hum surrounded me, the generators providing my only break from the silence. Solar-powered lights flooded the room, making it easy to see the oxygen saturation meter flashing red at me. The level had dropped another five percent. Damn. Though the oxygen level in the shelter had been erratic for the last twenty-four hours, it hadn't dipped below ninety percent before today.
My father had placed all the important meters here, which was convenient in a twisted way--I could get all my bad news at once. I peered over at the water machine, noting the low water level, and more flashing red lights. God, I hated those lights. Lavender lights would have softened the blow a bit, but maybe that was just the girl in me talking.
I studied the air line inside the shelter. It was intact, meaning the problem lay above ground. Perfect. My choice involved braving Earth's scorching surface or breathing. Breathing won. I twisted my dark hair into a knot and tucked it inside the helmet. It wasn't like I could do much repair work if my hair burst into flames.