Five Minutes to Eternity

Five Minutes to Eternity.

By Paul Cousins.

Copyright: I wrote this story on my own. This is an original story. As such, I own this story.

(_)

It was early at night, just after dark, a car drove down a deserted pave road, up a mountain that looked over a city.

As strange as it seemed it has only been ten minutes since the news that the government had ordered the launching of nuclear missiles. Meaning, that those nations would respond in kind, with them sending their nuclear missiles back to destroy the nation of the government that launched them, along with their allies. With the allies firing their nuclear missiles at those attacking nations, and their allies nations.

And all this became a cascade effect of leading to the end all life on the surface of the Earth. It through the nuclear blasts, the radioactive fallout, of the multi-year nuclear winter.

The government attempting to keep the populace unaware of their impending deaths, as they headed like cowards to their bunkers, in attempt to ride out their genocide of humanity.

With the those in government fleeing to their bunkers had orders that communication lines and electricity for the entire nation to be cut off. So, those that were on the surface would be completely blind, as their impending doom approached them.

But, those that has been ordered to cut communications and electricity, instead refused to do so, and instead left to be with their family and friends.

And so, word was able to quickly get out. With the news spreading like wildfire, on the internet, phone, TV, and radio. Along with how long their had left.

There were no riots. There was no revolution. There was no time to do so. For the life of the human race was now measured in minutes. Not even an hour.

And when humans were faced with such a situation. They do what they feel is the most important to them. As their acts on Earth.

A few members of the populous were trying to head to their own bunkers. Though, those people also realized that chance of long term survival was nil, and all they were doing is delaying the inevitable.

If the nuclear exchange, and resulting, ground penetrating blast wave, did not kill them. And they were able to out last the nuclear winter. When the weather finally broke, and the exited their bunkers. They would still have nothing to eat, nor drink, when walked the surface. With no civilization to aid them. And their supplies gone. They would die a slow, lonely death.

During a siege, a castle can become a tomb. And this was the greatest siege in human history.

All they were doing was heading into their own graves.

And many people preferred a much quicker death with those they cared for, than such a slow death.

Everyone dies. It was just a question of how people were going to go.

As such most were trying to contact, or physically reach, their friends and family to say goodbye. To say their final words. Or, just apologize for any slights of the past.

Or, attempting to get drunk as fast as possible, because they could not face the end to everyone, and everything they knew, while sober.

Some were having sex, to gain as much earthly pleasure as they could, with the little time they had left.

And a handful people were settle old scores. Both good and bad.

For the population it does not matter who started this nuclear war. Because they would soon be no long else to even record that the event had happened.

The man currently driving up the mountain had already said good bye to his family. And unlike others. He wished to spend what time he had left alone, enjoy a few quiet, peaceful moments, with a pleasant view, before the end.

The man driving the car was going over the speed limit, but not too much. He had been to where he was heading several times. So, he already realized how much time he had left, before the bombs dropped. And he figured, by the time he reached there, he would have around five minutes to enjoy the view.

Also, the man knew there were no cops on the road, they were with their families. And mountain did not have any caves, nor homes. So, no one would try to flee to this mountain. As such, he was not worried about speeding.

The man destination was an open space that overlooked his home town.

He figured, since it was the apocalypse, he might as well put the place with the best view for literally the last show on Earth.

Strangely, even though it was the end of the world. It was a clear cool night, with no clouds, with a nearly full moon, on a starry night. Allowing the man to see fine.

The man found it a bit paradoxical that the world would end on such a peaceful night.

And it was not that he was going to die that bothered him. It was everyone else dying, as well. While the man did not value his own life highly. He did value the lives of others.

And what was happening broke his heart.

But, the man also realized that he literally did not have time to stop and cry over the situation. If he was going to complete his plans, in the time he had left, he had to act, now.

Among other things, the man was wearing a t-shirt, pants, belt, socks, and shoes.

A few seconds later, as the man reached the clearing he was looking for, he saw something he did not expect.

Another car. With the front of the other car near the edge of the open space. And there was someone sitting on the center, front of the hood of the car.

As the man drove his car closer, he saw the person turn in his direction. He saw that the person was a woman.

Fortunately, the man did not have on his high-beams, so he did not temporally blind the woman.

The man then slowed down, and drove his car to a stop, to the left of the other car. With about ten feet between the two cars.

After the man put his car in park, and turned off the ignition. He kept the keys in the ignition, because he knew he would not be needing the car, where he was going.

The man opened his left car door, and got out of his left side driver's seat. He then shut his unlocked door behind him.

As the man walked around to the front of the car. Fortunately, there was more than five feet between the front of the cars, and the edge of the drop off of the mountain.

The man soon came to a stop, in front of his car, as he turned to look at the woman in front of him, whom was sitting on the front hood of the another car.

The woman was looking about at him.

In the clear moonlight, the man saw that the woman was around his age. She wore a short sleeved blouse, long skirt, and flat soled slippers.

The woman calmly said, “Hello.”

The man calmly replied, “Hello. I guess I was not the only one with this idea.”

The woman commented, “I guess not. Not that I mind the company.”

The man requested, “Thank you. I appreciate that. Care if I join you? I don't think I have time for the my hood to cool off, so I can sit on it.”

The woman giggled a little. She then answered, “Sure.” She scooted over, on the hood to her right.

Meanwhile, the man calmly walked over to set on the front of the hood, beside the woman.

The man saw to where he was two feet from the woman, to the woman's left side.

The two of them look at each other.

The woman turn looked at the lights of the cityscape, as she stated, “I see what both came here to see something nice, before the end.”

The man looked at the cityscape, as he commented, “Yes. I have been here a few times before. It is very peaceful. I figured this was a good a place to be for the end, as anywhere.”

The woman said, “I agree. I have been here a few times, as well. I guess we just missed pass each other.”

The man replied, “I guess. I already said goodbye to my family. Now, I am just waiting for the end.”

The woman turned to look at the man. The man noticed this, and he turned to look at the woman.

The woman commented, “Same here. I said my goodbyes. And I am ready to move on. And this is better than ending up a rat in a hole.”

The man stated, “I know. And no thanks. That is a slow death. And even if that survive, starting from scratch is never easy.”

The woman mentioned, “I have done farming in my life. Tilling the earth is not easy. Even with machines. And they will be doing so with hand held tools.”

The man commented, “Yes. I have done that, as well. When my family had a simple garden. It was not fun.”

The woman stated, “It is ironic that all the super-rich will get for surviving the apocalypse is a lifetime of menial work that they had previously thought was beneath them.”

The man agreed, “Yes. There is some poetic justice in that.”

The woman sighed, as she said, “Well, it's over. Everything is over.”

The man commented in a sober tone of voice, “I know. Seems such a waste. All over arrogance and foolishness.”

The woman gave the man a weak smile, a she responded, “Perhaps. Though, it is only a waste if you did not learn anything.”

The man complimented, “That is a good point. So, did you learn anything?”

The woman answered, “Yes. That one can find peace even in the worse of circumstances.”

The man shrugged, as he replied, “There is some truth in your statement.”

The man then turned to looked out, in the distance, as the lights over the cityscape, on front of them.

The man commented, “You got to admit the view is pretty good. And the weather is being cooperating.”

The woman looked around, and then out at the city, under the clear, starry night sky. She stated, “I agree. It is quite beautiful, here. This is a good place to die.”

The man said, “We all got to go sometime.”

The woman agreed, “True.” She turned to the man, as she inquired, “So, do you have any kids? Or lovers?”

The man looked over at the woman, as he answered, “No to either. You?”

The woman responded, “No, on both counts.” She took a deep breath. She then slowly let out that breath. She asked, “So, do you think it will hurt? The blast, I mean.”

The man stated, “I don't know. At this range, we will get the full hit in an instant. With luck all we will experience is a blinding white light.”

The woman inquired, “So, what do you think is on the other side?... Life after death?”

The man said, “I don't know. But, I hope so. And the whole of humanity is about to find out.”

The woman commented, “Personally, I use to hope for reincarnation. Given the situation, I realize that is not an option.”

The man stated, 'Well, something is going to have to be done with the billions of souls that are going to die, today. Us, included.”

The woman said, “I would hate to catch hell for that one.”

The man agreed, “Same here.”

The woman asked, “So, what do you want in the afterlife?”

The man said, “Barring a few minor changes. In the scheme of things. I would not ask for heaven. Just some place nice with some friends.”

The woman complimented, “That is a good request.”

The man replied, “Thank you.”

The woman mentioned, “You know? In situations like this. With just two of us. Most people would probably end up having sex.”

The man commented, “Well, I am not most people. I find it would... Cheapen the situation.”

The woman agreed, “You're right. Besides, I never liked having sex as a woman.”

The man understood the subtext of the woman's comment. He inquired, “So, are you a transsexual?

The woman answered, “Yes. It is not like that matters, now. Do you have a problem with that?

The man commented, “No. That is so trivial to what is going on, that it is laughable.”

The woman said, with a bit of happiness, “I am glad you feel that way.”

The man mentioned, “Besides. So am I.”

The woman let out small laugh. She then stated, “The irony, of us meeting here, like this, would be hilarious, if the circumstances were not so sad.”

The man said, in a sober tone of voice, “I agree.”

The woman commented, “I would think, since it is the end of the world, you would be wearing a dress.”

The man responded, “And I would think you would be wearing a suit.”

The woman replied, “Touche.”

Th man commented, “Besides. There are no dresses would look good on me. And I would at least like to look decent, when I go.”

The woman stated, “I know what you mean. I don't even have any suits. I always found them to tight.”

The man commented, “You are preaching to the choir.”

The woman asked, “So, what is your name?”

The man answered, “John. What is yours?”

The woman replied, “Sarah.”

John complimented, “That is a nice name.”

Sarah responded, “Thank you.”

John replied, “You're welcome.”

Sarah commented, “So, given who and what we are. Do you ever feel that if things had turned out differently, we might have had lead better, happier lives?”

John said, “Perhaps. Though, I find thinking about, what ifs, to be upsetting.”

Sarah solemnly stated, “I can see you point on that. I never really had any friends.”

John soberly commented, “Me neither. No a one.”

Sarah said, “I wish we had met sooner. I feel that if we did, we could have become good friends. Maybe not lovers. Considering we don't like our genders. But, we still could have been good friends.”

John responded, “I agree. We could have been good friends. But, even at the end, I am glad we met. So, at least we could get to know each other, a little.”

Sarah stated, “Yes. I can die knowing I have one friend.” She used her left hand to reach out and lightly grip John's right hand.

John noticed this. He held out his left hand, to where their two hands were about midway between them. With the man also gently squeezing the woman's hand.

John said, “Same here.”

As they held hands, they looked down at their hand grip, then back up to face each other.

Just then, they saw, the blast over the city in front of them.

The two adults more firmly gripped each others hand, as they turned to look at the blast.

Sarah commented, “Here is comes.”

John stated, “Yes. Here it is. And I want you to know. Being with you has been best five minutes of my life.”

Sarah agreed, “Same here.”

The white light then enveloped them.

A few seconds later, the white light receded, to normal daylight, on a sunny morning.

Two twelve year old children were holding hands, as they stood, facing the entrance to a large building, about twenty feet from them. With the double-doors of the entrance being left open.

One was a girl and the other was a boy. The one of the left was a girl, holding her right hand to the girl's right hand.

For their age, the boy was handsome, and the girl was pretty. Both were wearing school uniforms. For the girl, this meant, among other things, she wore a shirt, a long skirt, and shoes. For the boy, this meant, among other things, he wore a shirt, pants, and shoes.

As the two children's eyes adjusted to the daylight, they looked around.

Meanwhile, children their own age, in school uniforms, passing them by, as they head into the school entrance.

The boy and girl then noticed they were holding hands. They looked at each other.

The girl asked, “Sarah? Is that you?”

The boy inquired, “Yes. John? Is that you?”

John answered, “Yes.”

They let go of each others hand, as they look down a themselves.

Then, they turned back to look at each other, in the face.

Sarah asked, “Are we dead? Is this heaven?”

John rhetorically stated, in a slightly hopeful tone of voice, “Does it matter?”

The two children looked at the school in front of them.

They then looked at each other, and they smiled.

They gently gripped their hands, together. John, with her right hand. And Sarah, with his left hand.

The two children turned towards the open school entrance, and they cheerfully ran inside, while happy to begin their new existence.

A good ending... And a good beginning...



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