Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Five Minutes In Eternity

"Five minutes," he said, closing his book.

Around the outside of the house, the sounds of war were near deafening. Who was right, who was wrong, who had started it; none of that mattered anymore. The world was falling to pieces, and soon only the dead would be left to argue about it.

A spray of bullets hammered the side of his study where he sat. Screams of women and children, and the voices of anger blended into a symphony of calamity. In the distance, bombs were starting to find their targets, shock waves spreading out, shaking the earth.

"We don't have five minutes, dad," a young man pleaded.

The old man laid his book on the table and stood up.

"There was a study, a few years back," the old man said. He scratched at his silver, curled beard.

"What are you talking about? Sarah and the kids are in the basement, we need to get down there before the bombs get any closer."

"The study showed that our minds --our consciousness, stays with the body five minutes after death. It's almost a dream-like state. Five minutes. In a dream that's practically an eternity, don't you think?"

The old man's son stared at him blankly, unspeaking.

"Maybe that's our Heaven and Hell. Maybe we judge ourselves for our lives and decide what eternity we spend those five minutes in."


The old man smiled at his son. The house was shaking more and more with each percussive hit. He put his hands on his boy's shoulders and looked him in the eyes.

"It's okay, boy, you go to Sarah and the little ones. They need you." He held up a finger when his son began to speak. "Go."

His son gave his father a hug before turning and running for the basement. The old man, also left the study, but instead of following his son, turned left to the staircase that ran up. His hand slid over the banister's smooth wood as he pulled himself up the stairs against the creaking in his knees. The house shook and pictures that hung on the wall going up the stairs began to crash down. Pictures of his kids. Pictures of her.

He picked one up. His late wife, young and beautiful, from the start of their life together. He clutched it to his chest and made his way up the rest of the steps and into his bedroom. He was feeling very tired as he walked to his bed. The bottle of pills he'd swallowed earlier were starting to take effect.

The bed seemed to reach up, grabbing his arms, pulling him down into itself. The old man rolled over, facing the ceiling and clutching the picture of his wife. Outside, the chorus of bombs was almost upon them. He closed his eyes, closed the sounds out.

"Please forgive me," he whispered.

"Took you long enough," she spoke from behind him.

He turned around, facing a beautiful young woman, who stood amidst the tall grass in the fields of his father's old farm. It was a sunny day, warming his face. He could faintly hear the sounds of something drumming in the background, but it was fading quickly.

"Mary?" he asked.

She nodded, smiling.

"Mary, I-I'm so sorry. All those years ago...I never meant to hurt you."

"Are you still holding onto that? Come on, I've got us a picnic, and after that I want to dance like we always do."

Mary reached out for his hand. He grasped hers and noticed that his own was not the old tired hands he was accustomed to, but young and full of strength. As was the rest of him. He took her hand and followed her lead.

Outside his house, the bombs had finally reached them. He no longer heard them anymore. They'd been replaced by the sound of her laughter, together as they danced, five minutes, into the growing light.

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