A Lit Candle

”...not a light of hope left,” the loudspeaker proclaimed with a mechanical bite.

The young man threw his arms up in frustration, “That’s it. We’re all going to die.”

An older man grunted and held a gloved hand harder over the growing dark spot on his belly. “This isn’t over till it’s over. I-” He paused as the lights flickered and dimmed. “Light that candle, please.”

There was much grumbling, but the younger man stuck a match and put it to the wick with great care. As the flame grew tall, electronics began to die, as if the candle were burning the life from the room. It did little to illuminate the cavernous space.

The two sat in silence for some time, until the young man began to sing softly, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” His elder frowned. “You’ve seen too few years to know the end.

Unidentifiable noises echoed from a great distance. The young man looked up in alarm, but the older one never took his eyes from the small flame. “It’s time for you to leave,” he spoke softly and forcefully.”

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