One by one they entered the room, forty men and women exquisitely dressed. Long ballroom gowns with flawless diamond necklaces. Perfectly tailored suits and thousand dollar watches. The guests were catered to by sleek robotic servants. Fear, sadness, and disgust wore heavily on everyone’s faces. Suffice to say it was the worst of times. Juniper shifted back and forth on two uneasy feet. After only four months of planning the sentiment was not as positive as she imagined, as she hoped. There was supposed to be a celebration that night, instead, it was replaced by a harsh, staggering reality.
“We made a mistake…” A man with a thick Nigerian accent mumbled to himself.
“We most certainly did not. We serve a purpose greater than ourselves. You all knew how hard this was going to be,” Juniper said to no one in particular as she tried to corral and comfort the room. Her smile was charming and soft. She glided through the room, elegant with poise. She provided everyone with a kiss on the cheek and a warm handshake.
“How long. How long must we stay up here?” A man in a white turtleneck said as he peered out the window. The tip of his nose was an inch away from the window, beyond the window there was only darkness.
“Three weeks. Then we can reassess, I promise you we will all get to go home. Patience my darlings. Patience.” Juniper responded with more gusto in her voice. Just then a woman, rotund and consumed with grief, pounded on the window.
“We have to stop it! It’s not too late!” She begged, as her words were muddled with gasps and crying. It was beginning to feel as if all the oxygen had been sucked from the room.
“Always remember the bigger picture, we made the choices no one else could, that no one else would. Take solace in that,” Juniper coughed dryly, the confidence in her voice wavered. A hint of doubt perhaps, or maybe it just proved she was human, A short balding man with pretty leather loafers and gaudy necklaces keeled over in the corner and vomited. Sweat beaded down from his forehead. He stood up, wiped the dribble from his mouth, his eyes were wild seeing everything and nothing at the same time. Mesmerized by the sheer atrocity that was before them, he slowly waddled over to the buffet. He held the carving knife high above his head, one could assume this gesture was spiritual in nature, yet this was not a man of faith. With a terrifying slice, his wrist opened and a river of red poured on to the floor. Multiple people rushed to his aid, fewer than expected. The despair weighed heavy, the questionable morality confronted each and every patron. There was no more polite conversation, just the echos of sobs and all-consuming sadness. A neon yellow clock lined the ceiling above, only thirty seconds remained. Those who could bear, who could stomach it, slowly crowded the window. The earth could be seen from a distance.
“Will we…be able to see it?” A man asked with trepidation, his words dropped off quickly as he did not want to hear the answer.
“There will be a flash. That is it. Remember the billions of brave men and women. They traded their souls for the eternal preservation of humanity. And,” Juniper’s booming voice was interrupted by a loud screech, a symptom of the zeros now displayed on the neon clock.