As they passed a father with his two children, Jason wondered what they were still running for. The man was sitting with his two young children, wrapped in his arms, singing them a song to calm them down. In the distance, engines were roaring. The deep voice could be heard over screams and cries of the dying planet.
“It’s over,” Jason said and stopped running. He was panting from the miles he had been running, trying to reach the last ship that would take them off Earth into safety. Lilly looked from Jason to the large, metallic ship and back to Jason. Some people still kept running, but others started walking or fell on their knees. Friends, lovers, even strangers fell into each other’s arms. None had to die alone.
“No,” she shook her head and wanted to start running again. Jason held her hand and stopped her; they were too tired to reach the ship that was already firing its engines. They were too late.
“It’s over,” he said again. Lilly looked into the deep brown eyes of Jason and stepped closer.
“Did we ever have a chance to make it?” she asked as she tried to keep standing on a trembling and shaking Earth. The ground around them was breaking and thunderclouds formed above their heads.
"I don't know," he said and took both her hands. His dark skin made her hands look pale.
"This is it, isn't it?" Lilly looked with her bright grey eyes at the man she loved. They hadn't had a shower in weeks and they looked plain awful by their journey. The last few months had been horrible and fantastic all together. Even though the earth was dying and seemed to explode from the inside out, there had been moments of joy. If the leaders and the rich of the world had not failed their people, Jason and Lilly would never have met each other. If humans would have taken care of their planet, Jason and Lilly might have never known the true meaning of love.
"I'm sorry," Jason said.
"For what?" Lilly smiled at him, "You’ve made me the happiest person in the world the last few weeks."
"But I didn't save you. I can't save your life," he stroked her brown curls behind her ear.
"I would rather die happy with you, than live in sadness without you," she said and laid her hand on his stubbles. Jason smiled and wrapped his arms around Lilly. Deep roars from underneath the ground announced the end was near.
"Do you think there's anything beyond this life?" he asked.
"I hope so," Lilly said and pressed herself closer against him.
"I'll look for you," he said as soft as he could, “And I promise I’ll find you.”
"I know,” she whispered back and kissed his cheek, “I'll wait for you."
For the last time they looked upon each other. The baker and the librarian who had found each other in a camp. They had rebelled together, they had fought and they had loved together. And now, they would die together.
With a loud roar, the earth opened. Jason and Lilly tried to hold on to each other as the earth swallowed them and thousands of other souls.
*Quote is from Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King (2003)