The date was the 24th of December, 5622 and the time was exactly 12:27, according to the advanced atom half-life clock in the middle of the giant space age city. A great artificial sun could be seen projected onto a huge dome within which the city was situated. The base spanned a total area equivalent to five times the biggest earth city and the protective dome, made entirely of thick, transparent poly-plastic, had it's peak at over ten kilometres. It was the biggest man made creation in history, yet it was never meant to house all of man. It had initially been planned to use the dome as a holiday resort for the rich and famous, but when the apocalypse finally happened, the earth was destroyed and mankind's only hope was to flee to their neighbouring rock. About ninety percent of them could not escape their fate, but what was left still lived and, after the explosion, now floated through space, surviving on the artificial life support of the city itself. The entire of the human race, under one great dome on The Moon.
In Section B, known as Beijing, lunch break was just ending for the businessmen and accountants, because, after one thousand years of "Space drift", life had returned to a relatively normal state. Business had been recreated; there was even an agricultural section for crops and livestock and a residential section, etcetera. There was a man sitting on a bench in a more green area, eating a hotdog and getting mustard all over his fingers. He had a rolled up newspaper in his armpit and he wore a rather expensive pinstriped suit, yet he looked quite melancholy. In fact, everyone in the city spent their days in mild depression. Even though the apocalypse had happened a millennium ago and everyone had been born into the Dome, it seemed as though the lack of a fixed solar system or even a fixed sky had a natural affect on all living things. It was very unsettling at night, when they switched off the projector to allow the city to gaze at the moving night's sky.
Then again, in comparison to all of his friends, Mark was a relatively cheerful fellow. He was always quick with his wit and sharp with his humour, but he did wonder what it had been like back in the time of Earth. Back then people had dreamed of travelling on planets and passing through time, back then people had believed. He spent a lot of his time researching how Earth was - especially the traditions of the various countries.
As he finished his lunch, Mark stood and looked up at the artificial grey of the clouds as they occasionally covered the waning sunlight. From his education in the Earth part of history, he realised that this was a feeble attempt at recreating weather and seasons. He found it strange that the scientists of The Core found this as an important feature of The Dome. As far as he could tell, seasons were an inconvenience and, bar rain and sun, weather only ever contributed to small talk. It didn't even look that impressive. He couldn't tell whether it looked real or not, but it didn't seem very substantial. Grudgingly, he threw his rubbish at the nearest bin and went back to his office.
When it came down to it, the scientists of The Core hadn't at all done a bad job. In the last thousand years they had developed weather, artificial soil, water purifiers for recycling of waste and even seasons. They had made frequent developments on The Dome itself as well as, before the apocalypse, inventing The Dome's unique "realistic" heating and conditioning system. It was because of all of this that the tower in the middle of the dome that reached to the peak was generally seen as the focal point of leadership when it came to the city.
The rest of the day was uneventful for Mark. He spent it mostly at his desk, sorting papers and calculating annual averages. He exchanged a few jokes with his peers on the way out of the building and walked home. Although there was a rather faster method of getting from one place to another, namely the zero-gravity corridors where one could simply fly to their stop, Mark enjoyed walking. In fact, it was mainly because everyone used the tubes that he liked it so much. In the rush hour, there was literally no one in the streets. He could admire the artificial sunset and see the night's sky as it moved above him. He could listen to the provoked wind as it whistled through the trees. Most of all, Mark could think to himself. It would be Christmas tomorrow, he thought.
Halfway back, he saw a small figure step out from the tube entry station ahead of him. She wore a bright pink coat, some fluffy gloves and a scarf of the same colour and, as he approached her, Mark recognised her as his next-door neighbour. "Sarah! Wait up!" He shouted, waving his hand. He ran to catch up with her so they could walk home together. When it came down to it, Mark loved Sarah. They always remained as good friends and infrequent acquaintances, but every time they were together, he had this lovely feeling of safety within him. They talked quite a lot when they could, as they were both interested in the same things, mainly Earth history. They would even sometimes joke that they would spend an old holiday together and re-enact the good cheer. Unfortunately, when the time came, Sarah always seemed a little hesitant, which reminded Mark that she probably didn't share his feelings.
They got to his New York style home after a further half an hour and said their goodbyes. Mark quickly went to the kitchen. He had something to eat and spent the rest of the night watching net-clips of Earth movies and programmes, until he finally went to bed and lay, staring through the skylight. It would be Christmas tomorrow. He knew that it was no longer a holiday and that the word would probably not even matter to anyone except him and Sarah, but it just so happened that Christmas was Mark's favourite part of Earth history. The stories and songs and poems and pictures filled him with joy and wonder. He loved the concept of Christmas and wished to the bottom of his heart that he could experience it. He thought of the gifts and the food and the snow. All of what he had read in books and on the net had made him as giddy as a child, and always would. Like every other year of his life, Mark went to sleep with thoughts of family and friends in his head, and dreamt of Christmas cheer.
For as long as he could remember, he had always been this excited at Christmas. He remembered watching an old American movie about how many couples were brought together by the love of Christmas. He watched it with his parents simply because they had nothing else to watch, but they never knew that he watched it again, repeatedly in his room. Joyfully, Mark would sing along to the songs and carols and close his eyes to pretend he was there. Since then, every year, he had had an irrational excitement for Christmas and sometimes he wished that when he awoke, there would be a family to great him with presents under the tree and that there'd be snow outside.
The next morning, he awoke to doors slamming open, laughter and shouting. There seemed to be a tense quiet in the air that he had never experienced before. As he arose, he saw a bright light coming from the window and all of his hopes and dreams filled his head once more. He ran to the window to get a better luck and began frustratingly pinching himself to check that it was all real. White. Everywhere outside of his window was covered in white. The sky had a blue tint to it and the sun hadn't come up, yet the clock claimed it to be morning. Mark quickly dressed and ran outside. He jumped and fell on the soft snow that covered the street. Sitting up, he noticed Sarah stood at her door. "It's snow, Sarah! Remember? From the textbooks in school? It's Christmas! It's actually happened!" She came out and looked around. A grin appeared on her face as she too became overcome by childishness. She came over to him and kneeled in front of him. Looking him deeply in the eyes, she said "Oh Mark. You were right, it's lovely." She kissed him softly. "Merry Christmas, Mark. I love you." Then, as a blush crept to Mark's already red face, She pushed a clump of snow down the back of his jumper. "Now come get me." She said, dodging away.