I rolled onto my backside and wiped my eyes with the insides of my sweatshirt sleeves.
“Amber, are you alright?”
I cautiously cracked open my eyelids and turned my head to the right to see Chris heaving a large piece of white drywall off of himself.
I coughed another time, and then threw my hands down to the sandy floor underneath me.
“I think so!” I shouted at him.
I pushed my back up as I watched him shakily stand from not too far away. After that, he stepped over to my side and lent a hand down to me. I took it, and then pulled myself up to my feet.
“Where’s… Bud?” I muttered out.
I snapped my head to the right, where nothing but one half of the partially still standing room sat, and then to the left, where I found my own words could barely even describe what I was seeing.
The entire sky was blindingly white and green, and an entire wall of the facility had been blown down to create my view of it now. There was also a highly uncountable number of purple streaks raining from the cloudless atmosphere to the ground all around. At the same time that each one struck the earth, a burst of yellow-orange fire spat out along with a shower of large stones underneath it.
The trees ahead were slowly becoming destroyed by the meteoroids, and some of the collisions they made with the ground were as close as just a few feet away from where I stood.
I felt my breaths rattle in my chest as the ground swayed slightly more softly under me than before, and then wiped my wide eyes away as I turned from the scene.
“Where’s Bud?” I repeated, now scanning the debris around my feet hastily.
“Oh, God, Amber,” I heard Chris say, and then looked up at his frightened expression. “We… We got to go.”
“Not without Bud,” I spat out.
Just then, I picked up on the sound of a soft whimper from behind my back. I spun myself around, threw my hands out in front of my sides, and frantically searched my eyes over a piece of fallen ceiling ahead of my feet.
“Bud!” I yelled, and then stepped around it. “Bud!”
I threw my head down once again, and then saw the tip of my dog’s nose barely poking out from underneath another slab of drywall. I immediately dropped to my knees and reached out to push the broken piece away.
“Oh, Bud…” I mumbled, now looking over his collapsed body, his big brown eyes gleaming up at me without any usual head or neck movements.
I locked my stare with his, and then threw my hands over my nose and mouth to let out a soft cry.
I reached out a hand to gently rub the top of his forehead. At the same time, I felt a stronger touch grab at my left shoulder.
“Amber,” Chris urged into my ear. “We need to-”
Just then, before he could finish, a loud bang erupted from behind, and then I felt myself pushed over by the force of a falling slab of wood.
“Oh-” I sputtered out, now collapsing onto my back, the heavy weight of ceiling tile heaving my chest down. I turned my head to one side and blinked through the blurriness that suddenly clouded my eyes.
After a quick second, though, the weight from my chest was removed, and I felt a hard grab at my left wrist.
I twisted my head dizzily back to center, and then saw Chris reach forward to snatch up both my hands.
I felt a pounding pulse in my forehead as he yanked me up to my feet.
“Come on!” he shouted, right before he jerked my hands forward, toward the opening of rummage leading out of the entirely destroyed room we were once in.
I tripped in his footsteps, but hurriedly regained my balance and managed to follow him to clearer ground outside. Once there, though, I stopped and looked up while he continued to move.
The sky was changing from white and green to deep purple and red-violet once more.
All around me, fiery rocks and chipped stones fell; some were even inches from my toes.
“Amber, come on!” Chris yelled, tugging at my right sweatshirt sleeve.
I turned into his direction and saw him glare at me from over one shoulder. I then switched my gaze to the blasts of about a hundred meteors with the ashes left in the fields ahead and spoke.
Chris narrowed his eyebrows at me, let go of my sleeve, spun away, threw his hands behind his head, and then turned back to me.
He shook his head.
“I-I don’t know,” he said.
Immediately after his words left his mouth, I heard a high-pitched, human shriek scream out from somewhere behind me. I jumped in place and shot myself around, then saw a woman sprinting away from a blazing fire capturing the width of the road far ahead, her own clothes also on fire.
I threw a hand over my mouth and gasped when I next saw a heavy rock fall on top of and physically crush her.
“Oh, God!” Chris yelped.
I spun back around to face him, and then grabbed at his hands with mine. I watched a similarly large asteroid collide with the earth a few yards behind his back, blowing chunks of pebbles into our direction, and then locked eyes with his.
“I’m so scared,” I whispered to him.
He looked me over a moment, and then dropped his gaze to our hands.
“My car…” he mumbled, and then dropped my grasp.
He turned to walk around my side.
“Come on!” he ordered, now rushing toward the road behind my back. Hurriedly, I obeyed, and rounded the corner of the half-standing gas station beside us. I soon came to see the completely ruined pumps and station sign, along with the sight of Chris’s old blue Jeep next to a newly formed crack in the dusty ground and road nearby.
We both ran to it as smaller specks of rock pelted the earth around us.
“Get in!” Chris yelled as he approached the driver’s seat; I complied and rushed to the passenger-side door. After that, I swung it open, threw myself in, and slammed it shut at the same moment Chris did.
I turned my head to watch him try to insert his keys and ignite his engine; however, the vehicle would not start.
“God damn it!” Chris shouted as he punched the sides of his steering wheel.
I took a shaky breath, and then looked out of the windshield.
All I could see was a dark, blurry mess of purple sky and fire-ridden earth.
I turned back to Chris as he put his head in his hand, and his elbow on the cup holders between us.
I paused and searched the new blood stains on the back of his forearm.
And then I reached out, snatched his hand away, leaned forward, and, as he turned back to me, smashed my face directly into his, purposefully crashing our lips together for the slightest moment.
I leaned back after a few seconds, and then let go of his hand.
“I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time…” I started, opening my eyes to search his. “And I didn’t want to miss my last chance.”
Suddenly, a harsh shake caused the Jeep to tumble tightly on the ground underneath us.
And then, just as abruptly, Chris grabbed my hand back and delivered a soft kiss right back to me.
Though, this time, we embraced a tad longer.
I closed my eyes and felt him hang on to me through the force of the earthquake surrounding us. I tuned out the sound of the destruction outside, just for a moment, and felt the warmth of his hand in mine. As soon as he let me go, I glanced up at him, and paused to watch him speak.
“Me, too,” he said.
The quaking around us began to strengthen, and I grabbed at his one hand with both of mine. I then heard an even louder and closer bang than even before from behind my backside, gasped, and turned to look out the darker window from over my shoulder.
Before I could even catch a glimpse of what was outside my door, Chris squeezed at my hands with both of his.
I snapped my head back to him and looked over his calm demeanor as he spoke to me.
“But this isn’t the last one.”