A Blood Red Sun

April 27, 2011
A girl, vacant of expression, sat on the sofa in the living room. The room was silent except for the buzz of a television the girl was watching. She neither seemed interested in the show, which was black and white, or seemed displeased at the news items that flashed onto the screen.

It was when the weather was being announced, precisely at 8:30, that the clock chimed. No other sound was heard except for the television. The clock chime seemed abnormally loud.

No movement was visible throughout the house. No man clattering down the wooden stairs fixing his tie as he went, as he got ready for work. No mother calling her sleeping children to get out of bed. Only silence and the clock now chiming five times.
“The weather in Alaska today is going to be cold. Be careful—

“So make sure you wear extra protection as you head out—
“If you are traveling today, take extra care to—
“It is going to be cold tomorrow as well—
Breakfast was the usual affair. A gleaming kitchen with all new cabinets and even a brand new refrigerator were against one wall, while an empty table stood abandoned against the other. The sunlight outside poured into the kitchen. A radio hummed while a woman stood next to one of the countertops. Her smile was vague as though she were lost in a fog, deep within a cave, far from the world, empty of emotion. No pulse running through her body. She stood there, not calling her children for breakfast, not making breakfast, not doing anything but existing. Even as she did so, her unnatural smile was wasting away.
The yard of the house was ornamental grass with patches of snow. The quietness was like that of a church. It was too painful to bear. The sun shined but gave warmth to the man who stood next to a brand new car. It looked as though the man were going to get into it, but froze at just that moment, unaware, a smile still plastered on his face. There was, however, something different about the man. His face had cracks across it. One was down his cheek, the other down his neck. The third was at the corner of his mouth, giving the impression of a jagged face on a pumpkin.
The clock read twelve, but the sun was already setting. Or was it setting? Instead of the chime that was constant, there was a new sound. A siren. It echoed loudly, yet no movement was made. It rang over and over again. It wailed so loudly that nothing else could be heard. In the distance a sun as bloody as the most beautiful sunset, more beautiful than the world itself was, perhaps, present in all its glory, was growing larger by the second. In less than a second, in fact, it was less than a hundredth second, the energy overhead blasted into the quiet neighborhood, obliterating everything and everyone including the family, their grins un-phased as they blew up into many pieces. Fires sprang up everywhere, but no screams of panic could be heard.
When the dust cleared, only a haze of smoke and rubble remained. Among them was a plastic head of the still smiling girl, with a missing eyeball rolling into the now open refrigerator. Her body, which was half melted, lay a few feet away. The air smelled of burnt plastic, and through the silence a clock could be heard tolling until it was swallowed by the emptiness of the world.

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