We had found tents in a field by the road with a supply of food and water. It seemed a good pace to survive the seven minutes,
according to the instructions they had given us over the radio.
A group of children playing football nearby made us forget about the tragedy, showing that life went on in spite all the difficulties.
Passing the ball to each other, they ran around the field, avoiding the craters left by the quake and shouting to each other.
“They don’t have a future,” my friend said.
Ignoring the terrible scenes of death and suffering, they had fun in a world turned upside down during the last few hours.
“Yesterday we were all right,” I said.
“We had a life.”
The voice in the radio interrupted our conversation.
“Scientists think our star might explode as a nova,” the presenter said. “The word means new as stars appear
in the sky, where nothing was there before. We have an alarm to transmit all over the world if this is true.
“You will have seven minutes to lie down with your head on the floor, far from rivers and buildings. We will say over
the radio and in all languages: We have seven minutes.
“Attention” Attention! We have some more news. Attention! Orbital observatories and artificial satellites have
been destroyed. Mercury, the closest planet to the sun has exploded, according to some Australian observatories. We repeat
the latest news: Mercury has broken in a thousand pieces. One of these fragments might come close to the earth.
“Our orbit around the sun has suffered some changes. The moon they see over Australia is much bigger. We believe our
satellite has come closer to us.
“Attention! Attention! You’re listening to the Spanish speaking radio for the entire world. When we transmit this
alarm: We have seven minutes; you must get ready in seven minutes to lie down in a safe place. If you follow these instructions,
we will have fewer victims.”
I hoped the seven minutes never came and the sun stopped playing games with us.
My friend listened to the news, his face full of mud and blood.
“It’s not fair,” he said.
“Death is never fair.”
“This is the end of the world.”
As we talked about the sun, life and death, the pace of time brought us closer to the end.
“I was in the backyard, when the earthquake started,” he said.
I nodded. “It went on forever.”
“I couldn’t save my family.”
Wiping his tears, he spread the mask of mud over his features. We had all been something else in that other life an eternity
People prayed to their God, while some others delivered food and water to the crowd from a lorry parked down the road.
I never imagined society collapsing around us in such a way, reducing us to our most basic things.
I ate a panela but my companion had a mango, its juice running down his clothes
“It’s nutritious,” he said.
We had to enjoy life before the seven minutes came, ending with our sorrows forever.
The shouts of people struggling to get to the food reminded us of the end of man, even if everything might end soon.
Making love by the body of a dog, a couple of teenagers interrupted my reverie as thick clouds stopped us from seeing the
sun, and music filled the place with happy melodies.
An old man wearing a sheet moved at the rhythm of a salsa, his thin legs splashing in the puddles, his beard going down his
“Hello sun,” he said.
Sending kisses to the ladies, he grimaced to the men, while singing a salsa, his voice awakening everyone.
“We have seven minutes,” he said.
A few people ran around, their faces full of consternation, scenes of panic everywhere. Children ran to their mother crying
for the sun to leave them alone.
“Fools,” the old man said.
Moving around the field, he looked happy until he fell on the floor and didn’t get up again. No one care anymore.
I heard a mother explaining the complexities of time to her child.
“What happens after seven minutes then? He asked.
Unable to explain the behaviour of a sun in the throes of death, she caressed his hair, trying to calm him amidst the chaos.
They burned human bodies in a nearby field, the smell of frying flesh spreading through the place, while smoke went up the
sky, and naked people moved through the camp, their souls dead to the world.
It resembled a pop festival, where everyone had gone m