I always cry at the end of the world. I know it is coming. After all, that’s what the movie is about. But it is still sad.
My dad doesn’t notice my tears or he pretends not to. He was the one who compiled the list of apocalypse movies on one of his yellow legal pads using the Internet and began working his way through the list methodically, just like the engineer he used to be.
There are so many lists. It’s all about the process—and the supplies. Bottles of water, cans of beans, iodine tablets, bullets. “The first 72 are on you, baby girl,” he says. He thinks the idea of three days won’t scare me. But I know he doesn’t believe the hours will be that few.
The combination on the gun safe is my birthday. He is confident that I will remember that no matter what happens.
I add to his list as I come across things, a Nicolas Cage movie about the Rapture, a another television show with zombies. I’ve started my own list of apocalyptic books, but my dad doesn’t have time for fiction. These are the books I read during seventh period returns when I should be working on geometry.
Mrs. Parsons leans down and whispers to me: “Is everything ok?” I can’t tell her about the comet and the little red-haired girl. I can’t say anything at all.
I take the hall pass she has ready for me and spend the rest of the class in the bathroom holding cold paper towels against my eyes.
Colleen Kearney Rich has been published in the Smokelong Quarterly, KYSO Flash, Minerva Rising, So To Speak, Phoebe, and the anthologyAmazing Graces, among others. Currently a fiction editor for Literary Mama, she lives in Virginia.