Eight Hour Redemption
Eight Hour Redemption
The gruesome news had spread at fever pitch. A known asteroid (ES52145), roughly the size of our moon, had unexpectedly shifted orbit and was on a direct collision course with Earth. NASA, and other government space agencies, were unable to confirm due to catastrophic system failures. In fact, only a few reputable news sources remained online and they confirmed and predicted that, within a brief eight hour’s time, Earth would be rendered to fiery rubble.
Chaos ensued worldwide. All flights were canceled. Cars were abandoned on roads and their occupants hastened along sidewalks, wailing. Strangers embraced. People were intimate in alleyways and parked vehicles. Desperate calls to loved ones rarely connected due to system overload. Yet, despite the impending apocalypse, the vast Texas sky was a vivid baby-blue.
In Wimberly, Texas, Luis and Lynn, having recently filed for an amicable divorce after forty-five years of marriage, consigned to perish together. There was little choice. All their relatives lived on the West Coast. They phoned their daughter in California and after tearful I love you’s and we are so proud of you’s, they said their final farewell. Subsequently, they made breakfast and ate unhurried, stealing glances periodically. They recalled fond memories - laughing and crying, until they finally succumbed to a mutual embrace. Hand in aged hand, they watched their favorite movie, Somewhere In Time and wept faintly. “Since it’s the end, I need to confess that I slept with Tony,” Lynn said after the movie. “I know,” Luis replied. “It doesn’t matter now though. May I have this dance?” he asked, standing and extending his hand.
They danced only to the rhythm of their heartbeats before Luis whispered, “Since it’s the end, I slept with your sister.” Instinctively, Lynn slapped him and pushed away. “Why?” she asked. “Because she was closest to you and you were no longer here,” Luis replied. Lynn sighed deeply then embraced him again and said, “Since it’s the end, I forgive you. Besides, I’m so much better in bed.” They giggled, played their favorite songs and danced and sang emphatically. They drank Zinfandel then kissed and made love, as if it were their first time, and caressed each other in the passing moments after. Within a mere seven hour’s time, they had rekindled a profound love that had long since dissipated.
As the eighth hour approached, they dressed in their favorite outfits and moved to the back porch, that overlooked an emerald-hued pond, and sat. Their dog Ella lay at their feet as Lynn placed her head on Luis’ shoulder, trembling. “See you on the other side?” Luis asked. “I hope so,” Lynn replied, kissing his hand. They closed their eyes and waited but the dreaded eighth hour crescendoed without incident. Bewildered, they turned on their TV to find a solitary blinking message on the screen with Earth as its background:
We are Anonymous. Heed this: live life, here on, as you did in the past eight hours, and the world will be beautiful again.