The Last A.
The class was silent, their heads bent over the paper like a herd of antelopes grazing. Sarah Gord noticed one of them had his pencil in his mouth, chewing away, his brow furled as he tried to understand the difference between Canada and Columbia. She walked over, bent over the kid, and looked at his paragraph.
“Canada isn’t spelt that way,” she said, pointing to the map, “do you see?”
“Yes, Miss Gord.” The kid said, but a single look at his face made Sarah relent. He looked flushed, a little embarrassed. Sarah knew he found writing difficult.
“Now class,” she raised her voice, “We’ll do another ten minutes of this. So get as close to finished as you can. Then, we’ll do the story.”
The blinds were closed. Sarah walked to the door, looked through the window, directly towards the outside. The sky was getting darker. That was what the scientists said was going to happen. The sky was going to get darker, almost like an eclipse.
She looked back to the class.
Other friends had run around, been hysterical. A few of the parents had wanted to take their kids, flee up the mountains, but everyone knew that was a waste of time. No one could hide away from what was coming.
She’d persuaded them to let the last hours of the kids lives be normal.
That was why she was walking up and down, on the thin brown carpet that only functioned to quiet feet, looking under the desk at the wet marks from a dozen feet that had walked to school in the rain.
The bell went off, ringing, and one student looked up. “Is that the fire alarm?” Tim asked.
“Sorry, Tim, it’s just a drill.”
The eclipse would end soon. She looked over to the window again, saw the light returning to the world. Then she walked to the front of the class, and got the children to surround her, listening to her reading. She looked down at them, their faces scrubbed white, smiles, and couldn’t help wanting to cry.
But she read anyway. What else could she do?
The day ended, kids hugging each other and running through the gates, and Sarah was left alone. She walked to the light switch, but before she turned it off, she looked around the classroom. It was her habit to tidy the chairs away for the cleaners, but she knew no one would be cleaning tonight.
She turned the light off, and then walked out into the car park.
Normally, there would be a hundred cars parked, waiting for the kids, but cars had run out of petrol after the first strikes. A few parents were still waiting for their kids outside the gate. Some even waived to her. Sarah waived back, then walked through the back entrance, towards her house.
The streets were empty. Those people who had fled had already gone. Most people just wanted to be with their families today. Sarah reached her home, unlocked the door, and sat down in the comfortable chair she and her fiancé had selected. He had chosen to run to the mountains. Sarah couldn’t blame him, but she had a school to run.
As night fell, Sarah looked up into the sky, and saw the new star. It was bright, so bright that the night almost had a new moon. This last orbit, it had made an eclipse, but now tonight it brought light to the world.
She could hear in the distance the church bells. People taking comfort in their belief. She wished she could do that as well.
But, as she looked up, and saw the beautiful object that would kill her, she couldn’t bare to go to church.
She walked towards her bed, took two sleeping pills, and scrunched up into a ball. Sarah wanted to be asleep when it came. Despite the pills, he remained awake for some hours, looking up at the white ceiling, wondering what it would feel like. Whether she would hear it, wake up, feel the terror and the horror.
Then, her eyes got heavier, and she closed them, and slept her last, deep sleep