I had heard that the world would end but I did not believe it. The news reported the asteroid, named Kat would strike the Earth in three days. It would hit the North Pacific, it would destroy all life. I went out the first night, walking from my home to the edge of town where there is a large Hill named Kirby Hill. There was a crowd and there was a strange quiet feeling hovering above us all. I saw the postman standing by a large granite rock and I went over and stood next to him. No one spoke. The sun was setting in the west and the last rays were over the horizon, we all waited for the night, then we could all see the asteroid. I did not believe this was happening, I looked down at the highway and saw the vehicles passing, an air plane went overhead, nothing was different but everything was. It is hard to explain.
The postman turned and recognized me, I worked in the post office last Christmas and we knew each other.
“Does this all seem real to you?” he asked, “I mean do you think it’ll hit?”
“Everyone says it will. they all say it’s heading straight into us.”
He nodded, he was calm, there was no panic or terror, it was like the first minutes after all bad news.
“Michael died.” he said. “Cancer.”
“God. It must have come on quick.”
It was dark enough now, we had waited and the air turned cold and damp. The stars, the ancient flashing lights could all be seen and they had not changed. They were gently twinkling, beautifully cold.
“There it is!” A woman called out and pointed and there it was.
A bright light right down on the horizon, really close to the curve of the earth. It did not look like the other stars. It was huge like a plane on fire or a tall light over a sports stadium. It flashed and tumbled, it did not twinkle, it burned. It was like a tiny sun.
“Oh shit, is that it?” the post man asked me.
“Yeah that’s it.”
“It looks like it will definitely hit us.”
I did not answer.
“Man listen to me,” he said turning to me.
I looked out over the faces of the people all around, they stood and stared out at the sky, some of them had their mouths open, some looked worried but most looked amazed, like they were watching a good movie.
“Listen!” the post man repeated the leaned in and whispered to me. “I’ve a basement, that’s where my wife and I will be when this thing hits, you can come and stay with us if you want, I’ll save a space for you.”
“Thanks,” I said. Why would he offer me, of all people a space in his basement I wondered. We were friends but not that close. I walked home that night thinking about it all.
The next night I went back to the hill. There were less people there but the cars on the highway were still driving about, the town was still all lit up and people went about their business. It was all ready dark and the asteroid was huge in the sky now, bigger than my fist. It was still low in the sky.
A woman came up to me, she had red hair and a small child followed her. She came up to me and looked at me.
“Hi,” she said. “Come here!” she yelled at the boy and he came up shyly and hugged her leg. “I can’t believe this is going to happen.” she said to me.
“No, it’s sad.”
“Do you have kids?”
“This is my son. His father left this morning and he did not come home. He sent me a message saying he has gone to the military base in Manuater, where he says they have bomb bunkers.”
“Manuater? Thats across the country.”
“I know, he just left us. I don’t have a car.”
She looked away at the asteroid, it was giving off enough light that the moon looked dull in contrast. “It feels bad to know my boy won’t grow up.”
“Don’t say that,” I said to her, “It might miss us.” I lied.
She hugged me and we sat down in the darkness cuddling.
The last night I went up the hill again and there was no one there. The asteroid was huge in the sky now, like the moon. There was no traffic on the highway, there was no one moving about in the town but the lights were still on and everything was peaceful and quiet. It was like the gentlest Christmas Sunday where everyone was out of town. I sat on the hill and felt cold. I wondered if I should go and see the post man and go in his basement, perhaps they’d survive and at least we’d have each other. I wish I had gone home with that woman yesterday, she was nice to be with.
I sat on the hill, I was tired but I did not want to go home. I had let the cat out, I would rather he was outside when the thing happened. I watched the huge odd shaped ball coming at us, it had been yellow yesterday but now it was red and it was right above my head or so it seemed. I watched it come, a single semitrailer headed north on the highway. It was the only thing I had seen moving all night. I wondered what he was doing, he was still at his job even now. The red lights on the trailer and the headlights on the road looked so lonely. It disappeared up the road and I watched it go.