by Roger Dale Trexler
Stephanie and I lay for the last time beneath the trees, and watched the sky boil.
Above us, the clouds rolled in upon themselves, a mélange of colors, all dark and foreboding. The breeze grew warmer by the moment. It was still comfortable but, soon, the heat would grow unbearable. We would not leave here, though.
It was our special place, and we wanted to be together in the end.
It took nearly one hundred years, but the chain reaction in the atmosphere finally reached critical mass. The final fires came. We all knew the stories of how the scientists had thought they’d set fire to the atmosphere with the first nuclear tests. But, it didn’t happen — then. They were laughed at as foolish scientists then; no one was laughing now.
Fortunately for them, the scientists who had started the hidden inferno were long dead before what had been confused for decades as global warming became evident as their worst fears realized.
The very oxygen we breathed was on fire.
No one knew what to do. It was too late now.
The earth was burning.
I pulled Stephanie close as the red clouds of flame rolled toward us.
“I love you,” I said as a blast of heat singed our hair.
Turning, her lips already chapped, she kissed me.
It was our goodbye kiss.
And, as the world burned, the tears of one hundred billion eyes crying in unison were not enough to extinguish the flames.