Nia, her family and friends were having their last dinner together. It was the final meal they would ever have. All were quiet, including Emily. In a sort hysteric delight, their Aunt Nora served them food. A lot of it. Food that they wouldn’t see again. Aunt Nora, with a weak tone, asked everyone to come together at the table. Her voice sounded weak, as if Aunt Nora had given up her dreams and hopes that day. They gathered slowly around the table. The dinner was a mash-up of all the things they loved. The past tense of “loved” refers to food that they won’t be able to eat ever again. Nia filled her plate with food and ate the whole thing. Emily ate until she was stuffed. Anna, their cousin ate until she was so full that Nia’s mother threw up all over the rose garden. It was a mess, but nobody cleaned it. The time was valuable. The wind grew stronger and blew leaves off the treetops. It also spilled water and food everywhere. Nia’s mom’s rose bush had been a total wreck. It was as if the rose bush had been through its own apocalypse.

After eating, the children formed a group to play London Bridge and then ring-aring-rosies. They recalled childhood games as they watched. Anna suggested that they sing a song together. The children gathered around their parents to watch the end of the song. The wind grew stronger. Cracks appeared in the garden lawn. Nia’s father and uncle Ben managed to get everyone in. Cement bunker in basement. Nia, who was 5 years old, thought building a underground bunker was terrifying. Nia, who was 19 at the time, realized that the world had become scary and her bunker provided the only refuge. Under emergency lights and candles, the family began to discuss what was to come. The adults were whispering to each other, and the children became confused. They found comfort with candy and crayons.

Aunt Nora asked them to share their secrets and last wishes. Dave, Anna’s brother, said “I will go.” He admitted, “When Anna first started learning to ride her bicycle, it was me who failed to fix the trainer wheels. This is why Anna had a mark on her elbow.”

Nora said, “good that is good”, as though to reassure her.

She smiled and asked “What about Nia?” Nia replied, “I have no secrets.” Nia was unable to say anything else as the booms began to rattle and shake. With the strong winds, the house above them began to crumble and burn. The emergency lights and candles dimmed.

Nia was also startled and started crying. Nia’s mom embraced her and said, “It’s alright.” The woman’s face was pale and lifeless. All the colors that once made her so beautiful had been drained.

Nia, reassured by her mother, confessed: “I’ve done it.” I am causing the Earth to fall apart.”

Aunt Nora patted Nia on the head. Dave could see Earth smoldering and rain pooling through the tiny window in the bunk bed. The end was close.

Nia cried out loudly, “But I did it!”

Emily shook Nia’s hand tightly, resting her head against Nia’s shoulders. Everyone was sitting around, some were crying, and everyone was leaning against each other.

Under them, Earth began dying.


  • paulwallace

    Paul Wallace is a 44-year-old anthropology professor and blogger. He has been writing about anthropology and other topics for over a decade. He has also taught anthropology at the college level for over a decade.

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