Learn How To Sing
"So...this is it."
"This is it."
"Who knew it would be so quiet?"
Silence. The smell of sulphur and ash was in the air. The sky was black and it was probably one in the afternoon. Silence.
"Are we the only ones?"
"I think so."
Silence. The city that had stood tall and proud and light was now nothing, the buildings turned into ashes, the noisy people were now quiet, horns no longer barked. Silence.
"How are we still..."
"I'm not sure we are. Maybe everybody else is alive and we are the only two to die. Maybe this is death."
"How can we find out?"
"I'm not sure."
Silence. There were a thousand smoke tornadoes in what used to be the city. There were a lot of little fires scattered about, faded memories, on their way to ashes, they looked like fireflies in a burnt forest. Silence.
"If we're dead, where are we?"
"I'm not sure, maybe hell?'
"It looks a lot like the city we used to live in."
"If we're alive, where is everyone else?"
"How do you know?'
Silence. A burnt branch was silhouetted in front of them, it creaked and moaned in the wind. That was the only audible sound out there, then the wind stopped. Silence.
"I can't hear anything."
"So death is a silent arena or...everybody's dead."
"I'm going to miss some people."
"Yeah, me too."
"Do you remember that time we sat in the sun all morning, doing nothing but just sit there."
"That was yesterday."
"Really...oh, well that didn't seem like much at the time, but now that I look back..."
"Yeah that was nice. How about the time you brought me used book shopping on our first date."
Silence. The branch cried for a second in the wind. Everywhere was rubble and other rude reminders of reality. Nothing moved except for the smoke, nothing made a sound except for the branch, everywhere was nothing but...nothing. Silence.
"Or how about when Jimmy got drunk, he was always drunk, but do you remember when he got into that fight with the blackberry bushes on his walk home from the bars, bent his jeep key trying to open our apartment door, then kicked down the door like a frustrated savage."
"Ha hea hea...that pissed me off at the time but now..."
Silence. There was a sun setting somewhere on the horizon, but it was hidden by a black veil of smoke. This is the time you usually see birds flying in the sky, procrastinators, hanging onto the last moments of light before they return to their nests. There weren't any birds in the sky this night. Silence.
"How about the time..."
"No! Please stop that. We could do this forever."
"It's okay, it's just...that that's all gone... we'll never..."
"I know, I just don't know how to handle this."
"So what do we do."
"I'm not sure."
"Isn't it weird that we only think about the important things in life when something bad has happened."
"Are you sure this is bad?"
"We're dead right, or everyone else is...that's pretty bad."
"Not necessarily. We don't know what's in store for us. Maybe this is just the beginning."
"I'm not sure if I can deal with this isolation, this lack of life, I mean just listen...it's eerie..."
Silence. The burnt branch was barely visible now but it continued to sing and moan in the smokey air, its song only increasing in intensity as the visual distractions disappeared.
"Doesn't that almost sound like a violin?"
"Music, fuck, I forgot about music. I'm going to miss that the most. What are we going to do without music?"
"If you could have either music or the people back, but could only choose one, which would it be?"
"But we would need people to play the music."
"Are you sure?"
The burnt branch had been singing in the dark all the while, but then ,suddenly it snapped and fell to the ground. Silence.
"So what do we do now?"