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The party had been going for a while. Everybody was drunk, or trying to get there as fast as possible. There was no holding back for anyone. Not tonight.

He stood at the edge of the roof and looked down. There were fires burning throughout the city. He could hear shouting and screams down below. Breaking glass.

No sirens. The world was too far gone for that.

He raised a bottle to his lips. It was nearly empty. Maybe there was still time for another one. Maybe not. He drained it and dropped the bottle over the edge.

“Hey.”

He thought for a moment that his mind was playing tricks on him – he couldn’t possible have just heard her voice – but he turned and there she was. Standing there, smiling at him, two beers in her hand.

“What the…” He blinked and stared at her. “What the hell are you doing here?”

She shrugged. “I heard you were throwing a party.”

“But… the last ship. You had a ticket. You left!”

She handed him one of the beers and took a swig from the other. “Yeah, I left. But I came back.”

He took a swig of beer and stared at her, incredulous. “Why?”

She moved closer to him and looked out over the city. “I got there and I saw people everywhere, crying. Wives who had tickets but their husbands didn’t. Husbands who had tickets but their wives didn’t. Mothers who were gonna have to leave their children behind. Just… everywhere I looked, there were people being torn away from their loved ones. And I realised that I was, too.”

She turned to look at him, tears in her eyes as the sun exploded in the sky behind him.

“I couldn’t get on that ship knowing you were still here. I gave my ticket to the woman in front of me, so that she could take her son, and I came back because I… I couldn’t live without you.”

He dropped his beer and kissed her. She wrapped her arms around him and they kissed until the world burned.

© Kari Fay

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