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Nia and her family were eating their final dinner, the last meal they’ll ever eat. Everyone was quiet, even her sister Emily.
Their aunt Nora in a sort of hysteric joy started serving food, heaps of food, food they’ll never see again.
Aunt Nora called for everyone to gather at the table in a weak voice. Her voice seems as if she had abandoned all her hopes and dreams on that very day. They slowly gathered around the table and slid into the garden patio chairs. Dinner was a mixed hodgepodge of everything they ever loved. “Loved” past tense, referring to the food they will never get to eat again. Nia piled her food in her plate and ate it all clean. Her sister Emily even went for seconds and ate till her belly was full. Their cousin Anna stuffed herself with food to the point where she vomited all over Nia’s mother’s precious rose garden. But nobody bothered to clean it up. Time was a precious thing.
The winds began a quiet howl , the soothing breeze felt good at first , then it suddenly showed it’s true colours. It grew stronger, blew the leaves from tree tops, and spilled food and water everywhere. Nia’s mother’s rose bush was a wreck by then. As if it had experienced it’s own apocalypse.
After their meal, all the little kids started forming a circle to play ring-a-ring rosies and moved on to play London bridge. The older cousins looked on reminiscing their own childhood playtimes. Anna suggested they all sing a little song. They song ended and the children all went to stand beside their parents. The winds became more stronger and cracks started forming in the garden grass. Nia’s Father and Uncle Ben got everyone inside. Through the basement was a cement bunker. 5 year old Nia thought that making a bunker underground was scary. Now the 19 year old Nia knew the world had turned scary and the bunker was the only safe place. The family all huddled together under candles and emergency lights started to talk about the events to come. The little ones confused by the whispering of the adults found peace in crayons and candy.
Aunt Nora suggested they all reveal their last wishes and secrets they’ve kept from each other. “I’ll go.” Said Dave, Anna’s older brother. “When Anna was learning how to ride a bicycle, I was the one who forgot to fix the training wheels and that’s how Anna ended up with a scar on her elbow.” He confessed.
Nora shook her head and said “good that’s good”, as if saying this to assure herself.
“What about you Nia?” she asked with a slight smile. “I don’t have any secrets.” Nia answered. Before Nia could utter another word the rattling and shaking booms woke a sort of urgency into the situation. The house above them started to collapse and burn away with the big gusts of wind. The candles flickered and the emergency lights dimmed even more.
The sudden shock startled the children as well as Nia and they started to cry. “It’s okay.” Said Nia’s mother, engulfing her in her warm embrace. The woman who once astonished people with her beauty looked as if all the colors had drained from her face leaving behind a pale lifeless flesh.
With her mother’s reassurance Nia confessed “I did it. I am the one who is causing the earth to break.”
“No you didn’t.” said Aunt Nora patting Nia’s head. Through the little window of the bunked Dave could see the Earth burning and rain starting to pool. It was near the end.
“But-but I caused it” Nia said in between loud sobs.
“No you didn’t” said Emily clasping Nia’s hands tightly and resting her head on Nia’s shoulder. The whole family now sitting together, some crying, all leaning on each other, everyone holding someone else’s hand.
Beneath them, the Earth began to die.
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