Free for all

Mirena had noticed the change almost immediately. Not the change that the rest of the world saw, but the real change, the dark change, the secret change that other people refused to believe. At first.

Along with the announcement came the expected fear, the demand for more information, and the splinter groups who rejected the government’s plan. During the first few months there was a sense of panic, of instability, of doubt that the plan could work. But then slowly, inevitably, as the people saw the massive shifts in manufacturing, in government programs, in overall focus, hope began to gleam once again in their eyes. In general, people returned to their responsibilities, dedicated themselves to the good of the whole, and worked together to save what could be saved. They may have their fate sealed, the date and time of their death known well in advance, but they were, after all, first and foremost Citizens of the Human Race, and they would not go out without a fight.

But Mirena saw past the jingoism. She saw past the selflessness. She saw the calculating in the eyes of the people she passed in the streets. She saw their nervousness, their maneuverings, and their deceit. She couldn’t put her finger on exactly what gave it away. Perhaps it was her own distrust of people. Perhaps it was her intuition. Perhaps it was only a fear that screamed loudly inside her head, that questioned how anyone could act rationally and responsibly when faced with their impending doom.

And so she saw it, and was prepared for it to hit. She would take great care that when it did, she would keep her family safe from its effects. Somehow, she would preserve herself, and her husband, and her son.

Her precious son. He had come into a world destined for destruction. What would he ever know of love, of hope, of happiness? A sorry life awaited him. A sorry life and a short one.

And so she vowed to not only protect him, but to give him a reason for his life, to fill his brief time here with joy and meaning. To teach him that there was always hope, even when there was no hope. Somehow, there was always hope.

She would protect him from the storm. Hold tight to their little family. Create a tiny bubble of paradise in the storm that would surely hit long before the meteor came. She would do this, and present it to him as his final gift from her. A gift that nobody could take away.

But even so, even with all her knowledge, all her preparation, the free for all came sooner than she had imagined, and it took much more than she had expected it would.

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