Armageddon Married in the Morning Steven Collier
I always knew my wedding would be something special. So when I finally got to plan it, I was ecstatic! I may have gone a bit overboard on some of the preparations, but what bride-to-be does not indulge in a little splurging? I had dreamt of my fairy-tale ceremony since I was a little girl, and no force in heaven or earth would keep me from it.
I put together my special day entirely by myself. The rings were personalized
and hand-crafted three months ahead of time by the most skilled artisans northwestern Kansas had to offer. Each one was an exquisite 18-karat gold and titanium mix with a single wedge of scarlet topaz glistering atop it. Every ivory-colored Tiffany envelope that contained an invitation was held shut with a delicatePearl Rose seal and mailed out weeks earlier. My Mon Cheri Emmanuelle wedding dress, meticulously chosen from a host of other designs, now rested in my possession. I managed to contract the renowned Don Giovanni Giuseppi to cater the reception at his gourmet restaurant Mangia la Pasta. A majestic four-layer cake, marbled throughout and adorned with alabaster columns, awaited me at the bake shop. And just the night before, I finished the final task of running through a rehearsal with the wedding party at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
Relatives from both families had gathered en masse and were currently staying at the local hotels. Even my Grandmother Agnes, despite her increasingly frail health, managed to venture out for the big day. Most importantly, the non-refundable honeymoon airline tickets for both my fiancé and I were paid for, and the villa in Madrid awaited our arrival. In short, at this point, there would be no turning back.
Of course fantasy weddings do not come easily. I ran into quite a few scrapes on my way to the altar. For awhile I deluded myself into believing that everything was in place, that all of my potential loose ends were thoroughly tied, and that my tenuous six-year courtship would finally achieve closure. Believing every contingency had been prepared for, I remained blissfully ignorant of the troubles that lay ahead.
I know that a few problems are to be expected when planning a wedding.
I understand that some roadblocks are unavoidable. But no one could have possibly prepared for the onslaught of setbacks that stood between myself and matrimony. When most of the guests arrived, they could not find their hotel. The tailor nearly shipped my gown to a girl in Quebec. The caterers called two days ago and said I ordered food for thirty guests, when the receipt clearly read sixty. A week before the ceremony, the ring bearer came down with the chickenpox. Then the groom put on weight, and he had to be refitted for a tuxedo at the last minute. On top of this, my mother insisted on tampering with all of the plans I spent the last six months carefully laying out. I am not kidding when I say that my world is coming to an end.
So, sitting down to my coffee and bagel this morning, I felt fairly tense, and the fact that the wedding was just over twenty-four hours away did not help. However, I remained in control of the situation. Nothing irreparable afflicted me, and for that I thought I should consider myself fortunate. Of course, as my luck would have it, Doomsday began at this particular moment, and it was just as bad and melodramatic as anyone ever predicted.
First, the seas and rivers turned to blood, poisoning the fields and decimating
livestock. Then, vicious sentient locusts began to scour the globe, devouring
all in their path. At the same time, two-thirds of the stars randomly fell from the sky, only to plummet out of existence. I was still recovering from this when the Midgard serpent began to undulate her voluminous coils once more, creating tectonic shifts that threatened to tear the Earth asunder. Worse yet, California separated from the mainland and collapsed into the Pacific. This catastrophe carried several of my cousins to their watery graves, completely ruining all of my seating arrangements. And through the midst of this, the floodgates of heaven disgorged a steady hail of fire and brimstone onto the ground beneath. Forests burned, and cities crumbled under the heat of the unholy downpour. The soot of their charred remains blotted the very sun from the sky. I tried to commend myself for having the foresight to opt for an indoor service, but I was unable to take any consolation from it.
War, Plague, Pestilence, and Famine erupted in every nation. From all four corners of the planet, dormant evils awoke to wreak a terrible revenge. Everywhere the air was filled with the screams of the damned and the dying. Hot, chalky winds shuddered across the land like the death rattles of nature itself. The dead walked and the living writhed as Earth became the Devil’s playground. I began to wonder how much this unexpected twist would affect my plans.
Naturally, I am somewhat distraught by all this, as I am fairly sure most everyone would be. The bagel I sat down to, not half an hour ago, has yet to be touched. I am not sure what I am going to do, but before I let these eschatological blues, get me down I have got to remember that all is not lost. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life gives you the grand finale of Creation, you celebrate like there is no tomorrow, which should not be too hard to do.
I can tell you this much: I am not going to take this sitting down. I did not spend over half a year designing the most magical day of my life just to surrender now. Let the demons shriek, let the skies sicken and thunder, let forests wither, let mountains crumble and bloody seas dry, but I shall never concede! I will work through this and Heaven help anything that tries to get in my way.
It is a challenge, no doubt, but I can work with these conditions. After all, there is a silver lining to every mushroom cloud. Some minor adjustments might lend a more Ragnarok-appropriate theme to my nuptials. By simply taking some pinking shears to the linen tablecloths and silk napkin sets, I can create a trendy and cultured post-Apocalyptic look. Buying reception table candles is already on my docket for today; the switch from white to black and red should be a simple one. Of course, the band’s repertoire will have to be altered to be a trifle more a propos.
Safety is a new issue to take into account. While it is true that going out and about in public while the spawn of Hell have free reign over the land seems ill-advised, I am afraid there is no help for it. However, this situation can be easily rectified by giving the groomsmen and bridesmaids guns. Somebody has to guard the ceremony, and since the attendants already form a protective ring around the engaged for most of the union, they are a natural choice. Besides, having loaded firearms present carries the added benefit of discouraging any disapproving family members from objecting to the proceedings. I had never considered the rustic elan of a shotgun wedding, but now it seems oddly appropriate.
Initially, the blazing Hell-fire that engulfed the Mid-West was bumming me out, but I have since come to see its inherent benefits. It turns the whole world into one big, romantic hearth. My wedding gown looks absolutely stunning in its flickering light. The reception will not be a total loss either. Sure, God, in his desire to punish the world for its wickedness, eradicated the world’s water supply, but he was kind enough to leave our wine cellars untouched. Preordering the catering has rendered plague and famine powerless, so long as the groomsmen hold any uninvited guests at bay.
In fact, I bet that Doomsday will take the edge off some of the most awkward
moments of the ceremony. Think of the nervous laughter that will break the tense silence which usually follows the solemn “Until death do you part” question. Similarly, there will be a comically ironic twist to other now-futile gestures such as throwing the bouquet to the bridesmaids. I can finally stop worrying about whether my parents will get along with his. It is unlikely that any of us have more than forty-eight hours left to live, so I doubt there will be any lasting ill-will between them. Come to think of it, the nest egg that we have been setting aside for our house will allow me to go all out in the decorating for this Mephistophelian matrimony.
In the end, I feel genuinely sorry for all my friends who were not able to have an Apocalypse at their weddings. It actually adds a lot of romantic ambience to the occasion. After all, every man tells his fiancée that they would go through the fires of Hell for her, but only mine will get a chance to prove it!