The woman stopped getting dressed into her nightgown for a moment. She looked at herself for a while before turning to her husband who was sitting at the edge of their bed.
“Paris,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted to see Paris.”
“Oh. That’s nice, dear.” The man responded calmly.
“I’ve heard the tower is lovely.”
“We can’t afford to go there.”
“We could have gone last year.”
“Well, It’s not last year anymore.”
“We could go next year.”
“No we can’t.”
“Oh why not?” she huffed, grabbing her nightshirt. “We’ve got money, a car, we could easily go!” She looked out the windows to see the neighbors frantically packing their belongings into their car.
“See? The neighbors are going!”
“What do they know?”
“We can at least try to-“
“No dear, we can’t.” he responded, picking up a magazine next to him. “You know we can’t; all of those flights are booked, and even if they weren’t you’d have to have a small fortune to get a ticket. Never mind two!” He pushed up his reading glasses, going back to the issue of Life Magazine. The woman looked at the magazine her husband was reading. She chuckled.
“The magazine you’re reading.”
“What’s so funny about it?”
“You’re reading Life magazine.”
“How is that- Oh. Yeah, I guess that is humorous.” He chuckled. The wife smiled. He hadn’t laughed at a joke of hers in a long time.
“Hey, do you remember that joke that I told you?” She asked. “The one with the Scotsman and the two school teachers?”
“I remember that one!” He chuckled. “I told it to you!”
“Oh you did not!” She smiled, lightly slapping his shoulder
“Yes I did! I told you it during new years!”
“I don’t remember it like that.”
“Well, that was a while ago, I wouldn’t blame you for getting it confused.” He held her hand, pulling her next to him on the bed. Their laughter hung in the air as he gently stroked the back of her hand with his thumb.
Outside, the sun began to rise, getting brighter by the second.
“I wonder if it’ll hurt?” she asked with a half smile.
“You know that it’s the Russians-“
“Oh, let me have this.” She huffed, resting her head on his shoulder. He hesitated a bit before kissing her on the forehead.
“I don’t think it will. It’ll be quick, I imagine, like a camera flash. I hope so, at least.”
“Yeah, that’d be nice.”
There was a long moment of silence in the air. The wind outside began to blow a little stronger as the sunlight became more radiant. The wife’s face grew more concerned.
“Are you sure we can’t just leave now? We could try, at least.”
“Honey, you can’t outrun sunlight. It’s like trying to run from your own shadow. Plus, it’d take too long to start up the car. Should’ve gotten one of those newer models.”
She sighed, knowing that he was right. She hated that he was right.
“I love you.”
“I love you too, dear.”
The wind grew stronger and stronger still, breaking down the walls and windows. The light burned through the walls, and onto their backs.
When the dust settled, all that was left was the after shadows they cast.
Food for Thought
What do you do when the end is inevtiable and cannot be outrun? Do you try anyway? Do you accept the inevitable? Should you go screaming into the night, struggling up to the end or accept the inevitable with the resolve of a Stoic?
About the Author
Benjamin Nutt is a current student at FullSail University. His flash-fiction for Sci-Phi is his first published work. Previous flash-fiction works have been given awards for the 2014 and 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing awards. Ben likes to write, read, play Smash Bros. and spend time with family. He’s got three older sisters, three dogs, and two loving parents.
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