The good news was, it wasn't going to hit earth. We would be spared a direct hit.
The bad news was, it was going to hit the moon with a tremendous velocity and at a very unfortunate angle.
"Very unfortunate" was the politically correct term used by the science community when the news broke.
We could only wait.
That evening, every human being on the planet knew they would die. Not everyone had accepted it quite yet. People still prayed for a miracle, as they always will, but science - and i'm a big fan of science - didn't forsee much hope for this one. This would be our Big Bang.
We were amongst the lucky ones that night - we no clouds and three-quarter, beautiful, shining moon.
When it hit, the world collectively gasped. Not a word. A single, unified sound - the only such one any terran species would ever make. It moved. It really moved. And it continued moving.
Some people screamed. Some fainted. Some ran. Most couldn't take their eyes off of it. Here it was, in all its glory - mother nature, somehow up close and personal while still being a million miles over our heads.
It reminded me of a song from years ago:
Oh, Mister Moon, Moon, bright and silvery moon,
won't you please shine down on me?
We performed that in barbershop quartet format in high school choir.
It had been one of the few non-secular songs we learned, and thus one of the few i truly had
enjoyed singing. Barbershop quartet. One of life's little pleasures.
Tears in my eyes, as much from my inability to blink as from the overwhelming display of Might, mouth wide open, neck straining in discomfort, i just watched. i gawked as a Godess fell towards me.
Of all the horrible ways to to die - to burn, to be brutally murdered, to die of a broken soul.
A plague or a defective organic system or an automobile accident. i never did meet my mother's father
- he was killed by a drunk driver before i was born.
Science attempted to prepare us for this, if only by kindly informing us what would happen. Mankind has witnessed the the ultra-violent batterings of planets before, but not our own. And not by a moon. Powerpoint presentations, for Christ's sake. "Here's what The End will look like... at T plus 5 minutes ... T plus 24 hours ... ... impact. ... The other planets' orbits might be affected such that..."
Bugger the other planets! What's going to happen to ours?!?
The End. There was simply no point in even speculating what happened afterwards. There would be nobody to witness it. Nobody to say, "my prediction was correct!" But we knew the answer, knew we were right. It really is The End when the act of speculation in and of itself becomes pointless.
Of all of the horrible ways to die... As i gawked on, i cried because i was so thankful that this would be how it ended. That i could go out knowing that i had the honorable death of being smashed by a moon. While it isn't a unique honor amongst mankind, it is a unique event in history. My mother would be proud. The shredding of the planet, or stripping of the atmosphere, would kill her soon after the moon squashed me. ("Wind volicities may reach..." i think i turned it off at that point.)
My only prayer is that, somehow, the contemplation and speculation keep going after we all...