Countdown

5

minutes, five, that’s all I’m giving you, honey, Ardashir says as he hurries through the bedroom. Liam stands over his open backpack, a pair of socks in one hand, a picture of his family back in Soctland in the other, frozen in a state of indecision. Where can we go he asks. The library, the old book vault, it’s underground and made of concrete and we’ll be safe there but we’ve got to go now Ardashir shouts. Liam drops the socks and tucks the picture in next to three cans of tuna.

4

weeks ago everyone was playing nice and now they’re threatening to throw nukes all over the damn place Ardashir mutters. Liam’s pack drags at his shoulder and he keeps switching it as he tries to keep up with his Ardashir’s faster pace. They are surrounded by people, some screaming, some running, some settling old grievances, some standing and staring up at the clear blue sky. Hurry up, Liam, you gotta move faster Ardashir says as he looks back; he doesn’t see the oncoming car, doesn’t hear it over the sounds of panic.

3

blocks to go, come on, just 3 blocks and that damn car and now my ankle’s twisted Ardashir shouts at the sky and doesn’t seem to notice that the ankle is not twisted but broken, a spear of white bone jutting through the skin. Liam drops to his knees next to Ardashir and a crazed-eyed woman grabs his backpack and darts away. Ardashir is crying now, one hand pressed to his face, and as he tells Liam to get up and run for safety Liam places his own hand over Ardashir’s.

2

months ago we met at the library, remember, and when I saw you I knew you would be the only one for me and I’m not leaving you now Liam murmurs into Ardashir’s ear. Ardashir shudders with his muffled cries and nods through tears and wraps his arms around Liam’s body.

1

last kiss Ardashir asks and as their lips touch there is a blinding light that covers everything

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