Minutes to Live

Written by Kay on . Posted in Short Story


Imagine you are on a dream vacation in Hawaii. You’ve been up an hour or so, have gotten dressed, and you are starting to make plans for the day.

Then you get an alert on your phone.

You pick it up, glance at it and then look up in panic. You look again, just making sure you aren’t seeing things.

Then you announce to your husband that a missile is on it’s way.

As he is doubting your proclamation, his phone goes off.

Same alert.

Then the management of the hotel come on over the intercom:

“This is not a test. I repeat, not a test. There is a missile in place. Brace where you are. Brace where you are. Do not leave the room. Do not use elevators.”

You start to shake. Violently.

You run into the bathroom and jerk open the shower curtain where your 22-year old daughter stands there with eyes wide open.


You run into the bedroom and look out the window, only to see the hotel staff running in every direction.

You start making calls to your loved ones. Your parents. You text your adult child back home.

You let old wounds be forgotten and text a few more loved ones.

You call and make a plea to someone you trust to take care of your fur-babies.

You huddle together with your doubting family, and you shake some more.

You are suddenly taken back to the time you were on vacation in Thailand when a tsunami brought devastation.

You say a family prayer that if it is your time, that God receive you and all sins be forgiven.

You check the news and find nothing.

You post on Facebook what you believe might be your final post.

You wonder what it’s like to be hit by a missile.

Will you die immediately? Or have some sort of nuclear fall-out? Suffer horrible sickness and burns?

There’s no where to go and you wonder if you should move to the bathroom.

Twenty minutes in, you get an inside tip that it might be a hoax.

The hotel makes more THIS IS NOT A TEST announcements.

You don’t know what to believe.

You shake some more.

You don’t think about the work you’ve left undone.

You don’t even consider what will happen to all your earthly wealth.

You only think about how your family will feel to lose you so tragically.

Finally, thirty-eight excruciating minutes later, an announcement over the hotel speaker confirms that there is no missile bound to take your life.

You have a reprieve.

You are given the gift of more time.

Not to make more money and buy more things, but to enjoy the wonder of life and those you love.


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