They spent the last two days hiking the trails in the park as a family. Now, at dusk on the Seventh Day, a community of five families gathered at the base of the Spire, talking quietly among themselves. No one said it, but they all knew it was very near. The moon was a blood orange, wicked and sinister, poking through the metallic colors in the sky. Jodie held her kids near her, relishing every second, knowing each one could be their last. Ronnie looked up at her, a smile on his face.
"I love you, momma," Ronnie said, hugging her belly.
"I love you too, Ronnie." Jodie wanted to cry, to tell him what was going on. It felt like a betrayal to keep it from him. It would be to tell him. "Did you have fun today?"
He nodded eagerly. "A lot. Can we come back here next year?"
Jodie's heart broke. "I hope so," she said. "I really do." President Hombs' speech once again flashed through her mind. Relinquish any hope that you may be clutching. This is an irrefutable and inescapable event... She wanted to be mad at somebody, something, but all of her anger burned out with two blasts from a shotgun. A strange peace filled in its place, coated heavily with a dose of catastrophe.
The sky began to flicker, like a loose fitting lightbulb. Stars began disappearing. Kyler wrapped his arms around her other leg, squeezing tight. "I love you, Mom. I love you, Ronnie," he said.
Ronnie laughed. "I love you, too, bubby." Wind howled, buffeting the Spire with a furious assault. "Is it always this pretty out here in the country?"
Tears were flowing unashamedly. "Yeah, always. The city lights drown out a lot." She didn't know if Kyler could hear her over the wind.
The moon vanished. A second later the Spire followed. Jodie's breath caught in her lungs. I love you boys.
Time failed. The planet ceased rotating, ceased orbiting. Atomic reactions turned inert. All matter dissolved away, leaving nothing behind.
That's it. My personal challenge was to make a story focusing on the letters H-M. Most obviously it had to do with the title, but the title also reflected a thematic element, too, I think. Does it wrap up neat enough, or does it leave you aggravated that I didn't say what happened between Jodie and Darrel? Are the discrepancies between the world of this story and our world too subtle (i.e., former President Austen, the St. Louis Nationals, etc.)? Do they even matter?
Whatever. I hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading!