9:00 pm – continued
It was past nine when Jenna woke up, groggy from her impromptu nap. Her book slid off her chest and onto her bed, closing with a dull snap as it did. She hadn’t gotten far before she’d fallen asleep, her tears drying on her cheeks. More often than not, crying tended to have a soporific effect on her. Her small bedside lamp was still on, glowing weakly in her childhood bedroom. Before she had fallen asleep, it had been more than enough light for her to read by.
With how dark it now was in her room, she could tell it was dark outside without the slightest glimmer of sunlight left. She’d missed the last sunset, but that was okay with her. She’d never been one for long walks on the beach at sunset.
Setting her book aside on her nightstand, she stretched her limbs and arched her back to work the kinks out of her body. Slowly, she swung her stiff legs over the edge of her bed and stood up. She glanced around her room and decided to keep the lamp on. Her eyes didn’t adjust well to the darkness, so she would need some light on when she returned.
Padding barefoot on the soft carpet, Jenna made her way over to the bathroom to splash some water on her face. Using one of the plush towels hanging by the shower, she scrubbed her face dry until it felt raw like when her paternal grandmother, who had been a single mother doting on her only child, used to chase her down with a damp cloth after dinner. She’d hated those scrubbings as a young child, but she missed her late grandmother. Despite everything, Sheila had been a warm, loving mother and grandmother, spoiling Jenna, Abigail, and Cooper rotten.
Jenna flicked on lights as she made her way downstairs to the kitchen. Turning on the bright kitchen lights, her eyes fell on the last of the cake. She licked her lips and hurried to get a glass of water and the last slice, not bothering to put it on a plate. The pedestal it was sitting on would work just as well. She settled herself at the breakfast bar and dug into the last food she would ever eat. She wasn’t hungry, but she did love her mother’s vanilla and lemon cake. She considered this an early eighteenth birthday cake.
The cake was gone too soon. She savored the last bite, holding it on her tongue for an extra few seconds. Finally forcing herself to swallow that last sweet bite, she took the bare pedestal and glass over to the sink. After a quick debate, she washed the pedestal and refilled her glass with ice cold water.
She had already taken her last tour around the house. She’d already said her good byes. She’d spent some time on the phone earlier in the day to say good bye to her friends. She’d said her good byes to her family both at her grandparents’ house and as her siblings and parents were leaving. All that was left was to get this over and done with.
It was back to the bathroom for her after she had dropped off the glass of water in her bedroom. She opened up the medicine cabinet and began to fill her hands and the bottom of her shirt with all the medicine bottles she could carry. It was a wide assortment of pills and syrups, hopefully enough to kill her. There were cough syrups, stuff for colds and flus, allergy pills, old antibiotics, pain medications, and other things with peeling labels. Over the years, her parents had built up a veritable pharmacy of a medicine cabinet.
Carefully, Jenna walked back to her room, trying not to let anything spill from her shirt or hands. Once she made it back into her room, she dumped everything onto her bed before sitting heavily beside the assortment of bottles. She reached for her cell phone as she fingered one of the vials and dialed her aunt’s number.
“Jenna, is that you?” Sylvie’s voice asked, her voice humming over the line.
“Yeah, Auntie, it’s me,” Jenna said, her voice choking softly.
“Are you okay?” came her aunt’s worried voice. “You sound a little strange.”
“I’m okay. This is just a really emotional time, you know?”
“I know. We don’t have to do this, sweetie. In just a few hours, the world’s going to end, anyways. You can always join everyone else at the stadium. I can hear the music over here. It sounds great.”
“I know. But I just can’t bear the thought of dying from the explosions. I’m afraid it’ll hurt and I don’t want it to hurt,” she said, her voice so soft her aunt could barely hear her. “I’d rather die by my own hand. I have to do this. It’s what I want.”
“Okay, but if you want to stop, just say the word.”
“I won’t, Auntie. Besides, what good will stopping in the middle do? Everything I take will probably do me in in some way, shape, or form. And all the hospitals and clinics closed yesterday.” She paused for a moment. “Are you ready?”
“I am. I’ve been ready to join my husband for the past three months. I’ve had fulfillment in life and finally managed to see my little boy married off. We’ll welcome you with open arms.”
Tears slipped out of Jenna’s eyes and down her cheeks. She sniffed and quickly wiped them away, a little surprised that she still had enough water in her to cry. “Thanks, Auntie.”
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