The bright light was blinding. It was exactly like the TV showed it, but bigger and scarier. A giant mushroom shooting into the sky displaying, yellows and oranges, gray smoke and lightning, deep within it.
He decided the shelters were not for him. He hated the dark and being trapped inside a concrete tomb for who knows how long was not appealing. He knew he would soon die, but somehow he was ok with it. After all it wasn’t his fault the earth was being battered like an insolent Oliver Twist. Besides he would have missed this amazing display.
There was another one, and another, and another. It was like a weird fireworks display of radioactive explosions. He held on to his thick book. It wasn’t a Bible; he had given that up long ago. It was a collection of works by HG Wells, a gift so many years ago from his long dead father. He had read it about 100 times. He thought of “Food of the Gods” and wondered if perhaps the radioactivity would make him grow to an astounding size. Of course it was silly, but it amused him during these final moments.
He did not care about the start of the end, or the doomsday prophecies that apparently were ignored. He had thumped a rather annoying Jehova Witness only last week. Coming to his door to tell him it was over and to get ready for the Rapture. Well he gave him a bit of old fashioned rapture all right. He was smiling at the memory when he felt the breeze get a bit harder.
Is it starting already? He thought to himself. The wind, full of radioactive poison, It would make him quit ill. He took the time to read up on this event, just to prepare. He was hoping that one of these lovely clouds would form closer to the hill he was on. It would be much quicker that way.
Behind him he heard a noise. He turned and there was a large cougar. He stared at it frozen. He mused in his head how funny it was that this animal scared him more than the death exploding all around the planet. Perhaps human instinct was more powerful when face to face with death, rather than waiting for death to wash over you.
The cougar crept low. It had already sensed the man’s presence. It slowly made it’s way to the large stone the man used as his perch. Its ears were back, eyes wide and each step was a deliberate one. It seemed like a lifetime before it reached the old man.
He gripped his book, holding it as one would a talisman. The cougar’s head lunged forward. The old man closed his eyes tight waiting for the pain. Instead he felt a rubbing against him, like a kitten against its mother. It stared into the eyes of the man. The man stared into the eyes of the big cat. The man held out his hand and the cat pushed its large head against it.
Tears flowed freely from the old tired eyes. He sat, no longer alone, but with a piece of nature resting beside him. An old man and a wild cat, both looking for company at the end. The man stroked the cougar’s fur as he would any house cat. It seemed the end of things was not just something known to men.
The teary eyed man watched the dot of light fall from the sky. In his left hand was the book from his youth, his right hand slowly patting the head a most beautiful creature. He looked like some old Idol from some lost civilization. “Phil, the God of Nature and Science Fiction.”
He laughed out loud as the another mushroom burst into life. Seconds later the old God was gone.