11:12

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I.

“Cookie, did you see the framework?” he asked me between drags; “The fabric is tearing.”

Outside, the blinding white light screamed from between tree limbs and turned the wasteland into something beautiful—something I knew he had always wanted. The smoke was channelled into the hungry fire at our backs, curling into the ash. It twisted through his dark moustache. 

“People enjoyed being stupid. Stupid became fashionable.” He spat the word out as if our need to convey even that concept was ridiculous. He muttered, “Lying became fashionable, too.” 

I pushed a glass of tea toward his hand; “Lavender is relaxing,” I said.

He grinned at me, his teeth glinting windows to a brighter dimension. “We were signalled.” 

“All of you?”

“Every last one. Though some didn’t understand the message or were,” he paused, “ill-equipped to receive it.” A tendril of smoke curled from his nostril and quickly dissipated when he laughed lightly and sneered. “Fortunately, there were some who not only could pay attention but also possessed a greater potential of sorts. There were a few who were lead by their unfathomable, unconscious minds to places they later understood.”

“And during the war?” This conversation would force me to recall a time when my so-called relentless vigilance had faltered. “When the siege was laid and the universe reached out to Earth, where did everyone go?”

His cigarette was almost spent, the cherry burning dangerously close to the cotton filter. With narrowed eyes, he tossed it into the fire. “Most people died,” he said. “It was about time that some form of population control had a go at us. With the ignorant in frenzied chaos, there were small factions, most of which were destroyed by the scientists.”

© 2012 Bari Adams. All rights reserved.

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