(Short Story) An anonymous character witnesses the death of his wife and a few others, and the causes are unknown.


1. The Beginning and The End

My wife moaned lightly as she awoke from her slumber, and I gently pulled her against me in the bed, lightly planting a kiss on her temple. "Good morning, beautiful," I whispered against her ear, smiling. I felt her nuzzle my neck, her warm breath comforting. I softly twirled a section of her hair around my ring finger, thinking of our wedding day, which was not too long ago. Evelyn was stunning in her tightly fitted bodice and floor length dress, glittering in the afternoon sunlight. Her hair was loose, expressing her care-free personality. I remember seeing the joy on her face as we said our vows; when we said the two words that changed our lives forever. 

"Evelyn?" I whispered, inhaling the fresh scent of her hair. She didn't respond, so I sat up in the bed and gently moved her hair away from her face. "Evie?"  

Suddenly, she frantically sat up in the bed as well, her eyes wide burning into mine. She gasped out, "He's here," and collapsed back onto the mattress abruptly. 

"Evie? Are you alright?" This wasn't typical behaviour on her part. In fact, I was starting to become alarmed. She wasn't answering me. "Evelyn!" I shook her shoulders with no response. My fingers rushed to her neck, but I couldn't feel a pulse. A tear ran down my face, and I couldn't breathe as I found no pulse in her wrist either. I ran my hands over her mouth, dreading the outcome I could foretell.  

She had died. 

The phone. With shaky hands, as well as a broken heart, I dialed 911 on my phone. The lines were busy! "No, no, no, no!" The phone flies from my hands and hits the wall with a thump, but it's barely audible my yelling. What did I do to deserve this? I'd only had her to myself for two years! The love of my life, gone in the blink of an eye.   

I rushed back into the bedroom and wiped the tears from my cheeks. What to do with her body, I wasn't sure. Slowly, I walked to her and stoked her cheek delicately. She was still warm. I checked her vitals once more, and even tried chest compressions, but she was gone.  

A sob is choked back and I gently closed her eyes. Her expression seemed to be surprised and mildly afraid. I thought about what she had said. "He's here." What did she mean? Obviously, no one was in our house. None of this seemed to be lining up. 

I slowly closed the door to the bedroom and exited the house through the patio door. My hands were shaking profoundly, so I gripped one of the white support beams on our small porch. My wife and I were never close with any of our neighbors, but I recalled that an older woman moved here recently of whom Evelyn knew. She told me that her name was Mrs. Hightower, and Evelyn used to drive her to church, which she used to attend before she met me.  

I decided the best thing to do would be to consult her. Hopefully she wouldn't give me some religious crap; ask me to pray with her or something.  

I jogged to her door and rang her doorbell. Some sort of small dog scampered to the door and started barking. I hated small dogs. Other than the yippy dog, I didn't hear any movement in the house. "Mrs. Hightower?" I knocked loudly and waited some more. Still nothing. 

I tried the doorknob and it was unlocked. The small Pomeranian violently jumped on my legs, yipping with the excitement of something new. "Get off of me!" I growled. The dog followed me around the whole house as I searched for Mrs. Hightower. While searching her kitchen, I glanced out the window into the backyard and saw a dark lump in the grass. 

I did a double take and my eyes widened. "Mrs. Hightower!" I yelled as I ran out the back door. She laid motionless with her face in the grass, her long gray hair spread around her with a few strands blowing lightly in the breeze. Her arm was bent at an awkward angle; she probably broke it when she fell. 

 I rolled her over to find a similar expression on her face as to my wife's. She was stunned, but instead of frightened, she seemed. . . happy?   

I began to panic and check her vitals like I did Evelyn's, finding the same result. Mrs. Hightower was also gone. I couldn't help but be saddened, even though I barely knew the woman, so I carried her frail figure into her room and laid her on her bed.  

I couldn't go back to my house without breaking down again, so I turned on the television to the local news and tried 911 again, finding nothing new. However, the news reporter seemed very panicked. 

"People all over the world have died for no apparent reason, as of thirty minutes ago. The members of the United Nations are currently in a conference call, deciding the best action for this tragedy. Meanwhile, doctors all over are trying to figure out why so many of the world's population have perished so suddenly." 


The woman leaned to her right and part of a man's profile came into the shot, and he whispered something unintelligible into her ear. The woman nodded hastily and gulped as she began reciting what the man had said. 

"New York City has just been attacked with an atomic bomb. Everything within 4.65 miles of the White House has been decimated. There are also reported signs of large unidentified aircrafts around other parts of the States. Immediately, if you see the first flash of intense heat and light of the developing nuclear fireball, stop, get under some cover, and duck or duck to the ground. Then get in a prone-like-position lying face-down, and cover exposed skin with your clothes. If no excess cover or cloth is available, cover the back of your head and neck with your hands. This is not a drill. 

If you are residing in a densely populated city, evacuate immediately and drive to the nearest bomb shelter. There is a high chance large cities will also be targeted soon." 

I stood there, speechless. The United States was under attack. Oh my God.  

After a few deep breaths, I came to a realization. I was in Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the United States. Crap, crap, crap. I needed to get out of here! 

I ran as fast as I could back to my house. The front door was thrown open and I began the seemingly endless search for the car keys. Where were they? I searched all the drawers in the kitchen. No, no, why would they be there? Maybe Evelyn had them? Yes! She drove home last night after work! 

I grabbed her purse and ran, jumping into the car. Of course, the keys were in the bottom of her bag. After at least two minutes of trying to grab them, finally, my fingers locked around the bumpy metal. I shoved them into the lock and turned. The engine tried to crank, but it wouldn't start.  

A bright flash filled my vision and my ears were flooded with a loud rushing sound. Then, an immense heat covered my body and my eyes burned. The pain was overwhelming, and I scratched at my eyes, screaming, even though I couldn't hear myself over the roaring in my ears. My head erupts in a fierce pain, as if my brain was boiling on my very skull. 

But, all that pain was nothing compared to what it feels like to burn in hell, today.

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