A Long Sunset

Craig’s world was falling apart.  He watched as the cracks appeared like a hatching egg.  Halving angular lines that snagged into a small section, it floating up and out.  Followed by a spume of orange that squirted into a million fragments.  Almost simultaneously he saw a separation into halves and quarters and a million assorted pieces enveloped in a cloud of what was once solid or liquid or molten but now a gas refracting like a giant rainbow and expanding further than his peripheral vision could cope.  It seemed timeless slow-motion.  Soundless. That was the weirdest thing.  His brain expected sound.  Noise of some sort was required.  Usually these visuals were accompanied by the rush of appropriate noises of burning, gushing, gaseous explosions; not forgetting a hectic crescendo-ridden orchestration of strings, brass and tympani.

There it was, all before him.  The moon trying to slingshot away then being re-harnessed briefly before scattering like birdshot of burning crystals through the edge of the expanding gas ball that once was Earth.

And the balance was gone. Before his eyes he watched as the distant planets, aeons afar, burst like ripe grapes and sank as melting snowflakes into the red bloody sun.

“A long, slow, sunset.”  He said quietly into the clear window.

They all stood watching the fatal show.  As many as could dare were facing the last of the old world through the outer ports.  More were crowding the screens on the decks wherever they sat or stood.   At workstations, leisure sections or the mess, they huddled round to watch the vast, silent, slowscape of the old worlds’ demise.   And eventually they grew bored and drifted back to their work or conversations.  Many just turned over on their bunks and closed their eyes to sleep before they needed to rise for their shift.  Those children not already asleep were shepherded back to their dorm-bunks by their unity-mothers.

Inside this tight little world life moved back into its rhythm over the next few hours, doing its best to retain the circadian rhythm for those on board.  Outside the inked space reached out to infinity allowing the sparkling glimpses of other systems to hang in the distance.  Even the remnant red sun slowly sank out of the people’s thoughts as time moved on, as it darkened and dwarfed.last sunset

Sunset, and a new dawn to look forward to.