by Nick Johnson
The pillars of fire ignited the sky, spreading an ebony cloud of death that quickly engulfed the glowing blue and green orb floating in the infinity of space. All over the planet, the bright clusters of lights that had once stood as a testament to the power of man were smothered by darkness. To the men and women watching from their observatory on the edge of the cosmos, the lights dotting the surface of the Earth were more than just the burning glow of civilization, the illumination emitted by billions of lives. These lights were a reminder of their homes, of their families, of their lives, and in only a matter of minutes, it was all gone.
For the astronauts on board the international space station, the burning red flurry of atomic explosions was like a silent fireworks show. They were deaf to the Earth shaking roar of the blasts, the howl of the scorching nuclear winds that were carrying the screams of billions across the dying world, and just like a fireworks show the pyrotechnics eventually stopped, and everything went dark. They floated in silence. The only sound from their communications equipment was the static transmitted by a dead world.
The gravity of the apocalypse instantly crushed the brave souls of the cosmonauts. Everyone was dead, and everything was gone forever. There was no way home. The space station they inhabited that once symbolized the accomplishments of an entire species had become their titanium tomb, and while their families were instantly incinerated on the ground below, they would be subject to the slow death of starvation. In due time the cold specter of desperation would find its way into the hearts and souls of the astronauts. The once revered and respected men and women would try in vain to delay their descent into oblivion by consuming the only things they had left − each other.