George began his routine, breaking the silence of the room and starting coffee on the stove. As he listened to the news, he watched the sky, waiting.
A suspicious mushroom shaped cloud appeared in the city of _____ North Korea yesterday, prompting leaders around the world to decry the pursuit of nuclear weapons by General ____ and bemoaning what seemed to be a secret test performed by the North Korean government. A spokesman from General _____ office denied the accusations of the existence of nuclear weapons.
United States war planes struck points in ____ overnight, claiming the lives of twenty eight people, according to sources. In a related operation, American ground units engaged the enemy in close gun battles, which were reported to be fierce in some locations around the city of ____. A military spokesperson said a significant number of insurgents died in the battles, leaving American forces in control of several key sectors of the city. The spokesperson predicted the complete annihilation of the enemy in coming months.
Outside, George saw the first of the rose petals begin to fall, with greater density and frequency than the previous day. He went outside and stood on the porch as the pedals fell, looking around as he did yesterday to see whom if anyone gave notice. The same man stood in the same spot smoking the same pipe, this morning watching George.
“Do you see it, sir?” George asked again. The man waved at him, as if to suggest impatience, and turned to enter the café.
“Wait,” George yelled, crossing the street at a run, a few petals sticking to his chest. The man waited for George to reach him, a hand resting on the door.
“What is it you want?” the man said in obvious annoyance.
“Did you see the roses, the black roses?” George asked.
“You are crazy,” the man replied and entered the café. George returned to his apartment, more disturbed than ever, his mind twisting and turning in various directions.
“Am I the only person that can see?”
He did not attempt to work that day or evening and sat motionless on the couch, with his eyes closed until well past nightfall. He made a note in his journal before preparing to sleep, underlining the sentence several times.
Something is going to happen.
George suffered another sleepless night, filled with anxiety and a growing dread about the day to come. When the first rays of morning began to break the darkness he got out of bed, his legs weary beneath him from lack of sleep. He took up station by the window and watched while the television gave dire announcements of the day. Hours passed as did a repetition of the day’s headlines, without a repeat of the phenomenon. Noon and a total of five hours spent at the post by the window came and went, his legs burning with fatigue.
The news crawled onward, again and again.
North Korea possesses nuclear weapons.
America marches into Iran.
George saw the first petall of the day fall. He opened the front door, but remained within hearing distance of the television.
An explosion rocked lower Manhattan, leaving many dead.
A riot begins in south central Los Angeles, heightened gang tensions giving way to an eruption of violence.
Thousands of Mexicans rushed the border overnight in protest of recent rhetoric by American politicians, leaving several border guards injured.
Puerto Rico declared independence from the United States today. The symbolic announcement made by liberation party officials followed firework displays around the country and protests at the American consulate.
In quick order, China, Russia and North Korea declare war on the United States. The President offered no comment, but promised a response within the hour.
Black filled the sky, petals falling in great numbers and intensity. George watched the man with pipe pointing at the sky, his cries bringing several café employees onto the sidewalk.
George looked to the sky, the pile of roses at his feet growing, the light of early afternoon fading. He saw a great darkness descending, covering the entire sky with terrible speed. He hears, first singular and then with greater frequency, fell screams pierce the air, moments before a blinding flash of light and deafening roar rip the horizon.