You’re reading the original version of this post. If you want to read a newer, rewritten version, head here.
On that last night, the air was chilly and harsh, and the earth still water-logged from all the rainy days of the past week. The black clouds assembled with threat above the land we used to call our home. The sudden downpours came unannounced as an omen of the forthcoming evil.
Looking back, we made hundreds of mistakes, and one of them was neglecting the mighty enemy that nature itself turned out to be. We were fools if we thought we could seek a quarrel with such a strong opponent, with no consequences.
That’s what we were like. For years, we had been destroying what we had received as a gift. We took it for granted and didn’t care about a thing.
Meanwhile, nothing was certain. Something had made us forget about our own fragility and the impermanence of our lives; how easy it was to lose everything in barely a blink of an eye. None of us wanted to think about it, yet we were all aware that, sooner or later, it would reach every single one of us and there would be no turning back.
People spread in panic in all directions. Clouds of dust were hovering above the ground like fog, shrouding the scenery all around.
The two of us had been wandering for a long time, without saying a word. As if silence became an unwritten rule we wouldn’t dare to break. We had a sky thick with stars and a full moon above us. Wide plains were going far out of the range of our vision. We were all alone in the middle of that chaotic wilderness.
Silence echoed in my ears. I remember the fear in your eyes and how hard I tried to hide my own terror from you.
We walked through the empty fields, finding no signs of life. The landscape around us was comprehensively destroyed. Something in the air brought along the sense of death. We couldn’t be assured how much time we had left.
However, we still had each other. Holding hands, we reached the top of the hill, where the only tree grew, spreading and tremendous. One of the rare left over symbols of life that we used to know, the life that had crashed surprisingly on our unaware heads.
We sat under the tree and leaning against its solid trunk, we watched the moon gleaming on the night sky, perhaps the last one we were given the chance to see.
I plucked up the courage to look at you. You were sitting right next to me, with the lost look on your face. I noticed a tear slowly running down your pale cheek. Pulling you closer to me, I let you cry into my shoulder.
I was just as scared as you were: scared of what tomorrow would bring; if tomorrow would come at all. I feared what would come next, what would happen to our world. While thinking of it, the words “our world” sounded ridiculously abstract to me in that instance. Nonetheless, it was all nothing compared to the thought that ran through my head the same moment – today was probably the last time I was seeing your face.
Then we were lying limply in the grass, without a word, listening to each other breathing. I could feel your uneasy heart beating, so similar to my own. When you turned to me and I met your gaze, your eyes were shining brighter than all the stars above us. In that one particular moment our faces were just inches away and a second later we reduced the distance to minimum. Our lips finally touched and desperately united into one.
I felt as if the sky was about to crash down on us, as if what we were doing was something forbidden. Even if it was our last night on earth, moments like that were worth dying for.
Then everything we had known disappeared.
The ashes were falling down as tiny snowflakes. I wasn’t able to tell you whether the end had already come or maybe it was hardly a small part of what was still ahead.
We woke up in a strange life, a world none of us knew or understood. We had nobody else but each other. I couldn’t even be sure if you and I were still real beings. I couldn’t tell the illusion from reality. Because what was the reality now, anyway?
Everything came so quickly, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, without any announcement. We – people – were the ones to blame and we had to pay the price eventually.
I wasn’t sure of anything anymore. Maybe we both died that night? Maybe that was how afterlife looked like? Or maybe that was our new beginning? Maybe we were given a second chance, to build our another world, piece by piece.
As you once said, every ending is a beginning of something new, every last chapter closes an old story, but also opens a completely different one.
We saw a new sunrise.