It was the end of the world, they said.
It was the obliteration of life as we know it, they said.
It was inescapable, they said.
It was beautiful. It happened at night, where I was, the chunk of spacebody from some far distant system that had come trucking across the empty bits between stars and planets and comets and rock belts, cruising overhead not nearly as quickly as I expected because for all they said such doom and gloom I had expected it to zip across the sky in a thin white streak like shooting stars which aren’t really stars, they’re bits of rock or dust or martian shit on fire on the doorstep of our sky – but it wasn’t like that at all, brightening the one side of the horizon like the sun coming up except the sun doesn’t come up in the north by northwest, and the sun isn’t irregularly shaped, and doesn’t arc across the bowl of the sky above us like a thick and heavy flag being swung by a revolutionary, like a jet plane just big enough to watch trucking along but high enough to not hear its engines until it was well ahead of the sound, and there was only a little bit of sound to this, a hesitant hiss that I could have sworn crackled but maybe that was just because it looked like fire trailing yellow and red and orange against the stark dark blue, and it disappeared mostly behind some old broken walls that had gotten given up on as Never Getting Fixed long before the land was mine to bother taking care of, orange and blue just like my nephew was trying to show me was everywhere on posters and DVD covers and such, and since this had never happened before and was never going to happen again I stopped and watched it all the way across the sky, and when there was nothing but its feathery, burning tail left streaking past the stars, I hoisted my wheelbarrow to follow the old back road back up to the barn.
It was radioactive, they said, and we’d all be sterile, and in a hundred years nothing would be left born, and we’d all die out even before then maybe from starving. Maybe that was so, but the calf in my barrow was alive.
I don’t understand why they called it Phoenix.
This was written as part of the 31 Things In 31 Days project, being run on the page of the same name on Google+. For more information or to participate, go there.
Day Five Prompt: