After linking hands, we sang to the sun sending us into this nightmare of blood and death. A man walked down the middle of
the camp with a skull at the end of a stick and drinking aguardiente.
“Have a drink,” he said.
As I passed it around the crowd, a truck went past us with speakers on its back.
“You must remember the seven minutes,” a voice said.
The wailing of sirens wailed disturbed the peace as a boy with a wound across his face looked for something in the ruins.
After finding a piece of bread, he ate it quickly, before anyone could take it away. It had taken the explosion of the sun
to send us back to the Stone Age.
Thousands of people had gathered in the field, as if waiting for Armageddon, a battery operated siren waiting by the gate.
"This is a good place for the seven minutes," they said. “It isn’t crowded.”
We acted like happy tourists, eating food and having fun. The end of the world seemed a long way away.
“I don’t want to die,” my companion said.
Tears ran down his face, mixing with the mud. We hugged each other, wishing the sun stopped acting funny and the seven minutes
The voices of people helping to deliver food and looking after the wounded brought us back to reality.
We listened to the news.
“Astronomical observatories are working hard to register the moment the sun has another perturbation,” the presenter
said. The Soviet Union will give the alarm of the seven minutes, taking the data from one of their surviving satellites.
“We have found a good place inside the ruins of a building to inform you about all of the things happening in the world.
“Attention! Attention! The chain of radios will give the alarm. You must be in a clear space, far from rivers, as we
transmit the phrase: We only have seven minutes, to indicate when the explosion of the sun will reach us.”
Most people had accepted their luck with serenity and calm. The aguardiente, the panela and the sugar made me go to sleep.
I heard people snoring when I woke up.
As I left the tent, I saw a big moon throwing its light all over the camp. The sky was clear and up on the north, a small
moon added its light to the night. My companion told me that was a fragment of Mercury.
“We'll be joining it soon,” he said.
“They might be mistaken,” I said.
He shook his head. “The sun is dying.”
I found the view strange but fascinating, while urinating nearby. As I lit a cigarette, I heard a voice shouting on the radio.
“…It’s getting worse by the minute. There is an earthquake. Attention! It’s trembling here again.
Cucuta and neighbouring towns are shaking under a strong seismic movement. We hear that most of Venezuela is also moving,
as Panama and Japan have disappeared under the sea.”
I saw a group of people carrying torches, while an orchestra came behind them.
They woke us up with their dancing and shouting, some of them had masks but they looked drunk.
Everyone danced a few moments later, rejoicing in the strange spectacle in the sky.
“If you give birth again,” a drunken man shouted to the moon. “We’ll be left in the bones.”
He discussed the name to give the newborn, until someone told him that was a part of Mercury.
“Has someone broken a thermometer?” he asked.
The musicians drank aguardiente and sang rancheras, waiting for death to come from the heavens.
“We only live once,” they sang, their voices getting lost with the cries of the dying.
Then they danced a Cumbia, the men holding their hats in their hands, and the women shaking their skirts, trying to seduce
“We must pray,” a man said through the microphone.
“Amen,” people said.
“God wants us to renounce to our sins,” he said.
The dancers sang a few alleluias, while shaking their arms.
“We must serve the Lord,” they said.
“Our Lord who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name,” the crowd said.
“His kingdom will come,” the preacher said. “On earth and in heaven.”
A bolt of lightning crossed the sky, drops of rain dampening our spirits, while people prayed for God to stop this punishment.
Moving across the camp, the preacher blessed the sick while exorcising a few others kneeling on the floor, begging forgiveness.
“You must repent of your sins,” he said.
Everyone looked at the sky, as he talked of God’s power over the earth and the universe.
“God will listen to us,” he said,
The dancers moved around the field, singing to the creator of everything, begging for him to stop the seven minutes.
“The media must have planned everything,” a woman said.
Muttering prayers, people begged God to stop all the terrible things happening to the world. The seven minutes must have been
planned by the government or something else like that.
“Armageddon won’t happen,” the preacher said.
“Amen,” everyone said.
“You must pray.”
Moving along the rows of people kneeling on the floor, the preacher sang about the powers of the almighty.
“You must trust me,” he said.”