a Short Story by Raquel Swann
On a small island, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a man and woman walk down a beach at dusk holding hands. They swung their arms back and forth, which would normally indicate feelings of love or exhilaration. Perhaps they were celebrating life and happiness. Perhaps she had recently found out she was pregnant. Which would be a welcome surprise, well, with her lover having a low sperm count and all. Miracles can happen and that was merely speculation. Contrary to all of this nonsensical information, we will not focus on those two lovebirds. I hope that you aren’t particularly interested in hearing more about them. It’s a distinct possibility that you have tried desperately to surmise what kind of people we had been discussing. Perhaps we could elaborate a bit, but I will warn you it won’t do any good. The man’s protruding muscles and his ability to cry even during the most obscure moments could be a quality that some woman would love. The woman could possibly be the kind of girl who enjoys a good beer and allows her lover to the have friends over for the “big game” and even go so far as to serve snacks for him and his freeloading friends. Quite a catch I presume.
Does the fact that in precisely two minutes these unfortunate expendable characters will die, and they haven’t an inkling it’s coming, mean anything to you? Oh, there’s not much you can do about it now. And when I say not much, naturally, I mean nothing. They will perish. It is suggested that you just read on and find out how. Don’t feel bad. People die unwittingly and unknowingly all the time. The less details you are provided – the quicker and easier this massacre will go. As a narrator in these situations, I wouldn’t normally place dialogue but the man decided to break the silence as a flashing light broke the horizon.
“Gabrielle, it looks like the fireworks display from the resort have started. Look,” he said, his hands still clenched to his lover. He loved the way her name just rolled off his tongue. It was as exotic as she appeared to be. More flashing lights shot into the sky as they both admired the colors.
“Are you sure that those are fireworks? And from the resort? It’s on the other island a few miles away. Would we be able to view from here?” Gabrielle questioned. For as long as they lived on that small island in the Pacific Ocean, eleven months to be exact, there hadn’t been anything of the sort.
“Goji told me so. I brought you out here to ask you a very important question. I thought the fireworks would be a nice touch. A little romance for my girl!” He tugged her towards the water until their feet were submerged. Calm waves rushed in one at a time lightly splashing against their ankles. Very relaxing and befitting of the moment they were sharing.
Explosions in the air revealing different colors and patterns proved that the fireworks display was in fact a real thing. Gabrielle wrapped her arm up with his and rested her head on his shoulders. They both looked to the darkened sky and marveled over the display.
“Jodu,” she whispered without taking her eyes off the sky, “what is it that you’d like to ask me?”
At this point I’m sure we all wish that these two hadn’t even uttered a single word before their imminent death. Since they did, however, my duty as a narrator is to report it. They are making things extra complicated for all of us. Where there was a question, unfortunately, an answer usually followed. Jodu bowed to a knee and reached for a pocket in his shorts. She took her eyes off the sky and could barely see him as the sun had gone down moments ago.
“Gabrielle, there has been times in my life when I felt unsure of things-”
“Wait, are you unsure now?” She asked.
“No, why would I be darling?”
“Well you just said-”
“Yeah but you didn’t let me finish my thought.”
“Okay, Okay, Okay,” her voice squeaked with joy, “continue. Please.”
“Like I was saying,” he continued, “there were times when I felt unsure. Now, I have never been nor never will ever be unsure of anything ever again. Everyone has their problems-”
“What are ours?”
“Our what?” Jodu quizzed. Behind his back he clenched a small red box. He awaited the right moment.
“We have none. I was just going to say that-”
“Well this is very weird. I may not be picking up what you’re putting down,” Gabrielle was confused.
“You just have to let me finish my love,”
“Oh my god. Totally just go for it. I’ll shut up!” She bounced a few times filled with elation.
“We seem to hold strong. Our love is everlasting-”
A flash of light emitted from the beach, followed by a sonic boom. The last light of sun vanished and all was hushed. For those of you wondering whether they were dead… they were. I don’t feel it necessary to go into the gruesome details. Let’s just say that it will definitely be a while before any doctor can figure out this one thousand piece puzzle.