Twelve Hours...

She was asleep on his chest when the ground began to shake. He'd been lying awake and thinking about the Chinese colony on Mars. There were over a hundred people there now, and though they were still dependent on the unmanned supply barges they had proven themselves nearly self-sufficient when one barge malfunctioned, burning up in the thin Martian atmosphere. With some difficulty they had used their ingenuity to get by until the next barge landed. Perhaps if they had managed nearly a year without supplies they could last forever. Perhaps.

He wondered how they would react when contact with Earth was abruptly broken. What would they think when their telescope showed their mother planet grievously wounded, and perhaps all of humanity dead or dying?

The violent shaking woke Mary.

"Anton?"

"It's an earthquake Mary."

"When will it stop?"

"Soon."

Eventually it did, and he found himself hungry for some reason.

"Come to the kitchen with me, Mary. Let's finish off the chicken."

"It's the middle of the night, Anton!"

"Well, I think we might have worked up an appetite with all the dessert we had."

And so she joined him at the table, her back to the window, and they ate reheated chicken filo. Not quite as good the second time around, but outstanding just the same. He took a piece of bread and buttered it. She reached out and touched his wrist and said, "I love you Anton. With all my heart I love you."

He replied in kind, watching as a malevolent glow appeared on the horizon, approaching rapidly. It gave the illusion of an aura around his wife's silhouette. She turned and saw the approaching firestorm, and whispered: Anton, look! He took his bread and with one quick motion wiped his plate clean, leaving no trace of his meal behind.

Wiped Away...


THE END

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