The Edge of Light

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“I’m hot,” Ariel sighed, undoing all the buttons of her shirt. She sat cross-legged on the white plastic chair, with nothing but a lacy black bra and pink panties on, and picked up her bacon sandwich again.

“Is that really the last thing you want to eat?” Jacob raised an eyebrow.

“What if it’s just this crazy heat that reaches us, and nothing else?” she asked, ignoring his question.

Jacob stood up to look. A pale orange glow crept around the horizon—a spectacular view up on the 14th floor balcony. He stood up and went back inside, poured himself a cold glass of milk before returning to Ariel.

“Nah, it’s pretty much over at this point. It’s funny, prices of tickets to Siberia rose to $250,000 apiece this morning. The absurdity of it all blows my mind. What possible use can money have after today?” he said.

A few crumbs from the sandwich made their landing in between Ariel’s breasts.

“Oops, Jacob, can you get these?” she gave him a wink.

He rolled his eyes. “I’m not really in the mood.”

“Oh come on. How much time do we have?”

“Well, the thing must have struck and ripped apart Detroit, ground-zero, about two minutes ago judging by the instant heat. We probably have around fifteen minutes before the shock wave hits us,” he rubbed the sweat off his forehead. The sky in the distance turned red, and a small ring of grey was expanding. The streets below were empty, like the dead veins of some great beast that pumped no more blood.

“Great, that’s more than enough time for you to finish,” she teased and lightly jabbed him in the shoulder.

Jacob sighed. “I can’t get aroused when I know that in fifteen minutes I’ll be nothing but dust. Same goes for about half of the world, except places like Greenland and Siberia. They say they’ll be lush green paradises after this,” he said, pondering something in his head.

Ariel finished the last bite of her sandwich, and brushed off the crumbs that landed on her body. She stood up, stretched in front of Jacob while showing off her backside just before turning around and jumping on him. She stroked his dark hair through her slim fingers, and nibbled his ear.

“Jacob,” she whispered, “It’s the end of the world. All I want to do is have sex one last time. I want you right now, and there won’t be another chance after this,” she kissed his neck slowly, working her way down to his collarbone.

“Stop. I just want to watch the end of the world in peace. It’s an eerie feeling. I can’t stop thinking about it. Will we be remembered? Will future people, millions of years from now, find our bones in the dust and connect the dots?” he said, as he looked past Ariel and to the distant skies.

She looked at him, briefly, and let her lips bond with his. But it didn’t last long; Jacob ended the kiss and looked away.

“You’re such a bore! I’m trying to have the last bit of fun we’ll ever have and you just want to stare into the distance?” she pushed herself up from Jacob’s lap.

“I didn’t even get to drink my milk yet,” he said.

Ariel raised her arms and shook her head, “Seriously? That’s all you have to say?”

Jacob reached for the glass beside him, and took a generous sip. Ariel stood in front of him, her hands now on her hips.

“I can’t believe you,” she said, half-furious, half-sad.

Jacob looked down at his feet, somewhat lost in his thoughts.

“Imagine all of those people who worried about their finances a year ago. Or students who were stressed for their exams. Or all the civilians in war-torn countries. All of the people with worries, who were stressed, and who didn’t know how continue their lives. Some of them were trying to make a bright future for themselves, while others tried to escape the past,” Jacob took another sip and finished his milk. He stood up to look at the expanding orange glow creeping closer.

“And then today happens, and none of that other stuff matters,” he continued. “You had to file for bankruptcy a year ago? Couldn’t be accepted to your university of choice? Devastated after losing a loved one in a war? How do any of those worries matter now? Our collective story ends today, and I don’t want to worry about anything. I just want to keep thinking for as long as I can, because in few minutes, there’ll be nothing left to think about. Total darkness. Our thoughts and memories will be gone forever.”

Ariel turned around and moved closer to Jacob. They both stared out into the distance, and a wave of sky rippled quickly towards them. A few minutes of silence dragged on.

“Maybe there won’t be darkness after this, Jacob. Maybe one our religions got it right. Like there’ll be an afterlife, or reincarnation, or something. What if we sincerely adopt a religion now, will it still count?”

Jacob finished his glass of milk, and thought for a bit. “Better choose quickly.” The sky seemed compressed as the grey ring approached them, and they could see buildings being swallowed up and erased from the earth. Ariel grabbed Jacob’s hand, and squeezed as hard as she could.

“I love you—”

And then all was light, and all was dark.

But perhaps not in that order.

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