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Every penny in Anna’s name had been poured into making the trip from her native Canberra, Australia to Chisinau, Moldova. It hadn’t been easy to get the connecting flights, but she’d managed it in the end.
From Chisinau, it was a journey south to the city of Comrat. She’d remained in and around the city since, even though the large majority of residents had since packed up and gone. That wasn’t such a bad thing as it meant she was able to loot without reprimand. All she was looting was food, so her conscience wasn’t pricked too fiercely.
Anna, like everyone else on planet earth, was preparing for impending doom. The asteroid, Peklenc (named for the Slavic god of fire), was on a collision course with earth; every avenue to stop it from happening had been explored and hit a dead end. The floating rock was roughly the size of Wales, much bigger than the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. There was no conceivable way in which anyone could survive the impact.
Unlike most others, who’d prepared for the asteroid hit by getting as far away from the approximate impact zone as they possibly could, Anna had journeyed to the place where the impact would take place. She’d already accepted her imminent death; she wanted to go out knowing her eyes would be met by the most amazing sight she ever saw before they were closed for eternity. She and a small hardcore of resolute folk had stayed around Comrat for the last week or two. The small hardcore had surprisingly grown. It seemed a lot of other people were prepared to accept their fate too.
There had grown quite the community spirit amongst the people in the small Moldovan city. They’d come together often, people of all different races, religions, sexual orientations, and genders, to talk to each other, make campfires, and sing songs. If there was any fear amongst the troupe then it was hidden well.
One thing Anna had taken particular notice to was that no children were present. There were parents amongst the throng; they had, however, chosen not to bring their offspring. They were happy to sacrifice their own lives; if there was even a slim percentage of a chance that their kids could survive then they were going to take it.
Somewhat surprisingly, in the short time she’d been in the Eastern European country, Anna had managed to find love. A young man of twenty-two, six years her junior, had swept her off her feet with his incomparable charm, intelligence, and zest for life. It also helped that he was achingly handsome.
He was an Anglo-Hungarian named Balázs. He’d grown up in the UK with his English mother and Hungarian father before taking off on a backpacking adventure around Europe when he was eighteen. His emerald-green eyes shined with enthusiasm as he told stories of his adventures. He kept his long, blonde hair tied back in a pony and often wore a bandana with it. He was nothing like the kind of men Anna had been with before.
Having been born and raised in Canberra, Anna had never left Australia until this point. She’d had her fun in her youth, though was still only nineteen when she became an office junior at an accounting firm. From that point, working her way up the chain was her only aim. She managed to do so after years of hard work and virtually no social life. Even her long-term boyfriend had been an accountant at the firm. Accountancy was pretty much her life.
At twenty-five, she realised her dream and became an accountant in her own right. She was good at her job and her clients trusted her implicitly. The problem was, now she’d made it, that she didn’t feel at all fulfilled. So consumed had she been by becoming a success that life had appeared to pass her by. Her friends were all but gone. Even her boyfriend had grown weary of her and found another love.
The problem was that she was cinched in. She’d worked so hard to get where she was that she simply couldn’t give it up. That was until she discovered that an extinction level event was on its way. Upon that stark realisation, everything changed for the twenty-eight-year-old. Everything had changed for many people, but knowing that she had only weeks to live any semblance of a life caused her to throw caution to the wind in a way she hadn’t done since her teens. Packing up a bag with as much as she could carry, she said a tearful goodbye to her family, who pleaded with her not to go on this suicide mission, before making her way to the airport and paying a lot of money for the first flight she could find going even vaguely in the direction of Moldova.
After four separate flights, the pretty brunette finally made it to Chisinau and used the last of her cash to tempt someone into driving her down to Comrat.
For the last eleven days Anna had been happier than she’d been since her teens. Balász was a big reason for that. He was her soulmate in every regard. It was deeper than that though. In the little Moldovan city, suddenly the most famous place on earth, there was no crime—with the exception of breaking, entering, and stealing food that would otherwise have never been eaten—no violence, and no anger. The hardy bunch who’d journeyed to Comrat had done so because they had accepted their fate. There was no need to commit atrocities to one another. They were together, kindred spirits. Everyone got on together in harmony.
Anna had proven tremendously popular amongst the people there. Notwithstanding she was a very amiable woman and exceedingly beautiful with it, she was the only Australian there and people found her interesting for that very fact. She felt she was anything other than interesting in herself; just a boring accountant who’d worked more with numbers than people for nine years of her life. She quickly realised that, from the outside looking in, anybody’s life would seem interesting to a person who’d never lived similarly. That gave her pause for thought.
The day of ground zero had arrived. The troupe had taken a short pilgrimage to the nearby Lake Comrat, the approximate location of the asteroid impact. Now that the hour was nigh there was a palpable fear. Some people wept. Everyone rallied around to comfort those in the greatest distress, garnering their own comfort from doing so.
Just away from everyone, Anna and Balász lay on the shores of the lake holding one another tightly. They weren’t fearful; they were calm. What more could either of them want than to be in one another’s arms? In the midst of impending disaster, they’d found one another, a greater love than either of them had ever known. To them, the nine days of being together, Balász having arrived two days after Anna, had been the most complete days of their respective lives.
Anna’s coffee brown eyes, fronted by a pair of stylish, thick, black-rimmed spectacles, bore into Balász’s. Her pink lips were arched upwards in a genuine smile. “Thank you for giving me the best time of my life,” she softly said.
“Of our lives,” he corrected, and then kissed her lovingly on the forehead.
Their attention was grabbed by the nearby throng singing. It was a song that somebody had started to sing several days ago and had since become something of an anthem for them all: Elvis Pressley’s ‘My Way’. Anna and Balázs looked at one another again and their smiles grew. Tighter they held one another as the striking yet ominous glow of Peklenc shone up above.
The singing was halted momentarily as a blinding flash from the asteroid illuminated the sky briefly, brighter even than the mid-morning sun. There soon followed a loud bang. Peklenc had just broken through the earth’s atmosphere.
The singing started up again and the people joined hands. They observed the flaming rock as it sped mercilessly in their direction, refusing to give in to fear as they sang more heartily and passionately than ever before.
Anna’s grip on Balász tightened as the fear began to grip her. A tear escaped from her eye. “Why does it have to be over now?” she whispered.
Balász wiped away the tear from her cheek and then proceeded to kiss her with more desire than at any point in their short time together. Memories of the love they’d made and the passion they’d shared rushed through his mind as he did so. He was scared too; he was going to be strong for her.
His lips parted from hers and he looked her in her eyes, a look that penetrated her soul. “It isn’t over. It never will be. We have this moment and it’s ours until the end of time.”
Her heart skipped a beat. Even in this moment, the young man knew exactly what to say. He truly was her soulmate and she felt lucky that she’d lived to find him. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Again, they kissed. They remained wrapped up in each other, failing to notice that the singing had stopped and that some of the troupe had broken rank to run away screaming in terror as Peklenc hurtled towards them. They didn’t even notice the roar of the gigantic flaming ball growing louder and louder.
Anna and Balász had turned up in Comrat because they’d wanted to see the most amazing spectacle before they died. As Peklenc struck the ground at ten times the speed of sound they really did see the most amazing thing they’d ever see: not a killer asteroid up close, but each other.