The couple sat together on the top of a tall, gray building. Their clothes were tattered and gray with the exhaustion of a rough life. Things had been going down hill for a long time. It started when the economy collapsed and fell until it hit rock-bottom. The next to go was food. Then shelter. People were being evicted and thrown out to the streets, left to starve because there was nothing else to do. That's what happened to this couple.
They had tried to find a place to stay, but all the homeless shelters were full. Their friends were long gone, having already fled to some remote corner of the city. Eventually, the shelters were closed because they couldn't afford to feed th swarming masses of families.
People started dying. Bodies lying in the street became a common sight to see. All day, you would hear babies and children crying and men fighting over a stale lump of bread. It wasn't long before dogs and cats were being killed for meat. People were getting desperate.
Other countries took note of the weak and impoverished country. They did not see a chance to help, to aid a dying people. What they saw was an opportunity. One for war.
They sat, tired arms wound around each other, the woman's head resting on the man's shoulder. They sat in a static-filled silence, gazing at the rotted city before them. The city was once more-than-beautiful, bustling with the life of youth. Now, it was fading away, a single thread separating it from death. After a long time of sitting, the young woman broke the silence.
“Do you think there's an afterlife?”
The man sat for a moment, shook his head, spoke slowly and said,”I don't know. Why?”
“Well, I know that you and I, we're both atheists, but...” Presently, tears began to well up in her eyes. “What if...what if I never see you after this? I'll miss you so much...”
She clung a bit closer. The man continued to gaze forward to the city.
The woman looked into his face. “Do you think we'll see each other after this?”
The man slumped down and stared off into space. “I don't know.”
Tears were now streaming down her pale cheeks, perhaps the only sparkle in the city.
The man turned to her and took her face in his hands. Somberly, he spoke, “We've had a good life together, right? Before all this, I mean. Right? We should be happy for what we've had...What we have now.” He caressed her cheek with the palm of his rugged hand.
The woman sniffled and nodded, a reminiscent look in her eye that disappeared with the next blink, brushed away. “But, but I want to spend forever with you.”
He could no longer hold back the tears in his own eyes.
“We've talked about this before, years ago, remember? We promised we'd make the time we had the best as we both lived, right? We did, didn't we?”
The woman nodded, “Yes...” The man smiled and kissed her on the forehead, brushing aside her hair, then on the lips.
Again, the man and woman held each other on top of that tall, gray building.
There was a faint humming sound. The man and woman held each other tighter. They were coming.
The faint humming became a loud drone. They looked into each other's eyes, and each died a bit in that moment, knowing it was the last.
The planes were now in sight.
Whispering, “I love you.”
The bombs were falling.
Whispering back, “I love you too.”
Skyscrapers toppled, and in their place fiery clouds rose. Faint screaming. Distant panic.
The held each other close as they fell with the building, as the building crumbled with the nation, as one love was extinguished.