All things must, eventually, come to an end.
“And she who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her through Our angel, and We made her and her son (Jesus) a sign for the worlds.” (Quran 21:91)
“So, are you the father of the little one?” Duke asked the guy who looked like he must be the father.
“You could say that,” the father-like guy responded. “Then again…”
The father-like guy let his words fall onto the stillness of the scene. What had happened was beyond him, beyond anything he had ever known. He had memories of a previous life, but they were only far-flung and already fading. What was now before him, had always been before him, had existed just below the lid of sleep. He knew the woman and he knew they were together. He knew that she carried his child, but knew not how it got there. More than anything else, he knew that they were safe for the first time in all of that which had gone before.
And he knew that he loved the woman and the child that she was about to give him.
“Hey, Joe, do not think so much,” Marzina whispered. “Let’s just take each day at a time.”
“Did I ever tell you how much I loved you?” Joachim whispered.
“You have now.”
Noel watched the couple and felt pride. He felt something that must have been happiness, although he had never felt that thing before. The last time he had this feeling was when he had been in the high mountains with his goats. He had trusted his goats in the way that he had not trusted members of his own species. But these new people, he did trust. And they trusted him. He especially liked the big guy, Duke, who had taken him in and listened to his advice. Without Duke, they may never had made it.
When he had told the big guy to hit the accelerator, he had done so. Noel sensed his fear and realised the faith that Duke had placed in him. For all that Duke knew, they would soon be crashing into oblivion instead of entering sanctuary. But they had entered. Their entire convoy had entered and many others had followed. The bad Santas had not. Their particular chimney was still housing a fire.
“What do you mean by we’ve lost them?” The President was now not so happy. “And that North Korean, what’s he think he is? Firing nukes at me? Does he not realise that this could be the end of the world?”
“Mr President, It looks like that is just it.”
“What do you mean by IT?”
“I mean the end of the world.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“No, sir. No joking here. The weapons that you sent off have been matched by North Korea. They, in turn, have been matched by China. China’s have been matched by Russia. There is Iraq’s. Then there is ISIS. Yeh, they’ve got stuff as well. And let’s not forget the Europeans, they’ll be getting involved as well.”
The long-suffering aid looked towards were the President was now sitting with head in hands.
“Can I just take this opportunity to say…” he paused for dramatic effect, “to say that you have been one of the greatest ever morons that I have ever had the displeasure to work with. Merry Christmas, you arsehole!”
The world was truly erupting. The big guns had been summoned along with the little guns. The desperate last hours of the Earth were to be spent in an anarchy before the storm of forever. In the cigar, above the wreckage, the three travellers looked on. A long sigh issued from one of them.
“Should we do something?”
No answer immediately hit the air.
“We can’t just let them…”
“Let them what? Let them reach the end of their last chance? How many more chances do they get?”
“Until they get it right.”
The others stared out of the cigar.
“That could be a very, very long time.”
On the mountain above the plain, Marzina gave a final push and the baby was delivered. Noel held its head and body before cutting the cord. The baby gave out a cry and they all smiled. This was different from delivering goats. It was like nothing he had ever done before in his life. The blue light of the sanctuary was now spreading further and further towards the horizons and more and more people were arriving. Beyond the farthest point that his sight could reach, Noel saw the last of the lightening strikes that were now being swallowed by the sun’s new light.
Noel held the baby towards Marzina and Joachim.
“Do you want to hold your daughter?”
“Well, if we didn’t change the recipe it may just have turned out the same again.”
Merry Second Chance, One And All.