Fin De Siecle – Short Story

She began to rummage through the drawers. She knew there was wine somewhere in the house. Her aunt told her she had made a stash somewhere in the house. She began to empty every drawer in the kitchen as if tomorrow didn’t matter. On an average day, she would have searched with more care and consideration, knowing that she might need what she finds tomorrow without disturbing too much. But she didn’t care anymore. Her indifference also created a serious noise. The sounds of the waves that filtered in from the balcony had been suppressed for a while due to the noise in the house.

“Here you are,” Rosa yelled. They were standing under the sink, behind the trash bags. She reached in and grabbed the wine by the neck, but she didn’t handle it as roughly as she did with the other items. She carefully and delicately pulled out the wine. She turned the wine bottle over and read the label: Villa Krim. It was a wine that her aunt had brought back from her trip to Ukraine, and it was a wine that those who drank it fell in love with. After all, she wanted to spend her last day in the universe drinking a quality wine that was appropriate for the day.

Rosa, who was on her knees, stood up and headed to the glass cabinet. It was a cabinet filled with glass cups. She opened the cabinet with a slight creak and, like a gourmet, put her hand on her chin, trying to decide which glass to choose. Then, saying that glass is a glass, she took two glasses she had picked up and headed to the balcony. The sounds of the waves had returned and were becoming increasingly rough with every passing day. There was a scientific explanation for this, but it didn’t come to mind at the moment. As soon as she stepped out onto the balcony, she noticed that the television was on. But first, she stuck her head out the window and yelled, “I found it!”

There were two chairs facing the sea on the beach. Fatma was sitting in one of them. The empty chair belonged to Rosa, who had gone to search for wine. Fatma waved her to come over and yelled, “Come on already,” but the wind swallowed half of her words. However, Rosa understood what she meant and replied, “I’m coming.” Before leaving the balcony, her eyes caught the television. The countdown was still going. There was an empty news studio on the screen. Day by day, all the news channels had been shutting down. Only one channel had decided to continue broadcasting. Apparently, even they had given up on their duty. They had left the camera on and gone. Rosa tried to step out of the balcony after looking at the countdown for a short while, but she turned back when she saw a woman sitting in the empty chair on the channel.

The woman was dressed in black and struggling to put on her microphone like a news anchor. Rosa watched her struggle with the microphone curiously while also glancing at Fatma. She was playing with her phone, aware that time was passing, but she was also overcome by curiosity. The news anchorwoman managed to put on the microphone and began to speak.

“Today is December 12th, 2025. As a channel of a nation, I am experiencing both the bitterness and excitement of broadcasting to the whole world today. I know some of you don’t understand me, and most aren’t even watching me. Most likely, all of you prefer to spend your last moments with your loved ones. But I have decided to spend my last 13 minutes talking to you out of respect for my 20-year career and because I couldn’t find a more valuable place to be than in front of the camera. On April 11th, 2023, NASA announced that a deadly meteor was approaching our world. Many of us, as always, thought it was an exaggeration on social media, but we eventually realized the seriousness of it. Despite NASA’s efforts to collaborate with all countries to stop this asteroid that could mean the end of our planet, unfortunately, they failed. Even on the brink of death, we couldn’t unite. NASA tried everything with the resources they had and with the help of some countries, but here we are… We are at the end of the time we spent thinking that our dominance on our blue planet would never end. Approximately 12 minutes from now, this planet we call home will be forever destroyed. Unfortunately, on days like this, we understand once again how worthless and helpless we are. Throughout my 20-year career, I did everything in my power to convey the truth to you. Today, I retire in front of you. Thank you all for listening to me and being part of my adventure. I wish our story didn’t end like this… Goodbye to you all.”

The presenter removed her lapel microphone and placed it on the table. She sat down, and Rosa thought she would leave the screen, but she had chosen to die in front of her viewers, if any were watching. Rosa, thinking that at least she could pay her respects by not turning off the television, headed towards the house exit without even looking for the remote. If it were another time, Rosa would have put on her shoes, but she put on her slippers and went out the door. She couldn’t be sick until the world was destroyed anyway. She began to walk down the long corridor. The corridor was as messy as the kitchen she had just left, and it was evident that people were escaping in a frenzy. She started to move past everything that obstructed her path, avoiding stepping on the shoes on the ground and making her way down the stairs. The stairs were crowded with those who had left behind the things they couldn’t carry. Some bags weren’t even zipped up. The unfolded belongings were now lying on the stairs.

Rosa started walking towards the beach from the lobby of the building. The lobby was also crowded. The wind had carried some of the sand from the beach into the lobby. They were now mixed with scattered belongings and colorful flip-flops. When the building door was open, it caused such a draft that a small storm arose in the lobby. Rosa shielded her eyes and headed slowly towards the beach, ensuring her wine was safe. She narrowly missed a car that had crashed into the wall and had to close the door of another vehicle to pass by. The scene was so eerie that it could have been taken from a doomsday movie, but Rosa didn’t care much because they were already in the middle of an actual apocalypse.

For her, everything had returned to normal in the past few weeks. When it was announced that a meteor would strike in 2023, people didn’t take it seriously and even claimed it was propaganda. Chaos had already started before the Meteor came closer. But when it was learned that the Meteor was indeed approaching, which was exactly five weeks ago, people went bananas. That was when the chaos on the site had occurred. People had started running like crazy and searching for a place to hide aimlessly when they realized they were really going to die. But there was nowhere to go.

Rosa walked along the pier that was half on the beach and then descended to where the sea met the sand. She started walking from there. She could have gone directly to Fatma from the beach but she wanted to feel the sea tides for the last time. She remembered the walks she took on the beach in the heat of July. Back then, she delicately walked into the sea to cool off with the coming and going waves. But now, the waves were angry because of the Meteor. They were coming and going in a rough manner. Rosa was lost in her memories of the gentle waves and thus lost one of her flip-flops to the sea halfway through her walk. Without bothering to chase after it, she threw her other flip-flop towards the sea as well. After all, the world was going to end in 10 minutes. Who cares about a simple flip-flop?

“Madam, your glass,” Rosa said, extending one of the glasses she held. But when she realized her hands were still full, she handed over the second glass as well.

“Will you pop it?” Fatma asked. Rosa laughed. “Champagne pops, this is just plain fruit juice,” she said.

There was no need for a corkscrew for the wine she held. It was the kind that could be opened by hand. As if she had been a waiter opening the wine for years, she skillfully opened the wine.

“Pass them over,” she said to Fatma. Fatma handed over the glasses with both hands. Rosa began filling the glasses. As the glasses took half of the pink liquid, the remaining half was taken away by the wind. It didn’t matter much to Rosa. She didn’t pour the wine like a typical wine; she filled the glasses with the wine as if she was filling a water glass. When there was nothing left to spill, she threw the bottle into the sea behind her back. Fatma laughed at her gesture. Rosa took Fatma’s wine glass from her left hand and sat beside her. Then she turned her body towards her and raised the glass in the air.

“To the honor of the world.”

Fatma laughed and clinked her glass with Rosa’s.

“To the honor of the world.”

They both took deep sips from their glasses. Although Rosa stopped drinking, Fatma was still drinking greedily.

“Stop, girl, don’t finish it. We still have a long way to go,” Rosa laughed.

Fatma stopped drinking and said, “It’s amazing,” as she licked her lips. Rosa leaned back and began looking towards the horizon. The sky was filled with rockets that were leaving the Earth. One by one, they were slowly ascending upwards.

“Would you want to be there?” Fatma asked.


Fatma pointed with her finger, “In one of those rockets.”

“No. They’re full of rich fools. Politicians, businessmen, maybe scientists. Not fun at all. I’d rather die here with you,” Rosa replied.

Fatma shook her wine glass while saying, “Their deaths would probably be more painful than ours.”

“Why?” Rosa asked.

“Technically, there’s no way for them to survive. That’s why it’s good,” she said, taking another sip of wine.

Rosa gave her a warm look and said, “Yeah, that’s good.”

“Would you want to die somewhere else?” Fatma asked.

“No,” Rosa replied firmly. “This is good.”

She took a sip of her wine. Her family came to mind. She took out her phone from her pocket and checked the recent calls. Before finding the wine, she called her mother and explained why she didn’t want to die with them.

“Although I choose my family in many ways, I don’t want to die with them. It would be sad to see my mother or my sibling die. I want to die happily,” Rosa said, taking a deep sip to hide her pain.

After twirling her phone in her hand for a while, Rosa stood up and threw her expensive phone, which she had paid thousands of banknotes for, into the sea as if it were an ordinary stone. When Fatma saw what Rosa had done, she burst out laughing. Encouraged by Rosa’s rebellious act, she also stood up and threw her not-so-expensive phone into the sea, screaming. Rosa looked at her proudly. However, there was one more thing that Fatma wanted to throw. After standing in place for a short while, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a colorful scarf. The scarf started to flutter wildly in her tightly clasped hand because of the rough wind.

“Go ahead,” said Rosa.

Fatma looked at the scarf in her hand for a while, then raised her hand above her head and spread her fingers. The scarf flew toward the sky just as fast as the rockets filling the sky. After flying in the air for a while, like the flying plastic bag in art films, it crashed into the sea, destined to be lost among the waves.

“How bitter it is that my freedom will only last a few minutes,” Fatma said in a melancholy voice.

“Don’t say that. You’ve always been free,” said Rosa, putting her hand on Fatma’s shoulder. After rubbing Fatma’s back up and down on as if to warm her up for a while, she kissed her head and headed back to her chair.

“I couldn’t call them,” said Fatma.

“Who?” asked Rosa, surprised.

“My family,” said Fatma. She also returned to her seat. “I wanted to tell my dad that I’m not the person he thinks I am. I couldn’t tell him that I took off my headscarf when I left the house. Even a few hours before my death, I couldn’t tell him who I really am.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t choose our family,” Rosa said and continued, “but we can choose our friends.”

Fatma’s eyes were filled with melancholy. Her eyes were wet, but Rosa couldn’t tell if it was due to emotions or the wind.

“You’ve proven to people who you are. Everyone who needs to see that you’re a talented designer has seen it. At least you were able to practice your own art. Don’t worry. Everyone, whether career-driven or not, is dying today. We’re all in the same boat.”

“There are so many things that I regret not being able to do,” Fatma said.

“Like what?” Rosa asked.

“Making love,” Fatma said, blushing.

Rosa let out a loud “aha,” but the wind immediately took it away. “It’s a marvelous thing. I wish you could experience it,” Rosa said, sighing.

“Unfortunately, I lived my life caught between my fear of my family and my dreams.”

Rosa raised her glass. “The ironic part is that we’re all dying soon,” Rosa said with a wistful smile. Then she took a deep sip.

“You should have seen my father’s face when he realized that the apocalypse mentioned in the book wasn’t going to happen,” Fatma said.

The rockets in the sky were getting further and further away. As they moved away, the sky turned red. However, this was not the peaceful red of a sunrise or sunset. It was a situation caused by a meteor that Rosa’s explanation wouldn’t be able to do justice. Fatma and Rosa were silent for a while. They both saw the Meteor approaching in the distance, turning the sky from gray to dark pink. Unconsciously, they became lost in thought and stared at it. Knowing that they were going to die was one thing, but seeing the thing that would kill them with their own eyes was another. It was now visible in daylight and was getting closer to the ground. One of the rockets had collided with the Meteor on its way to Earth. Seeing the rocket explode, Rosa and Fatma were unsure whether to laugh or not.

Fatma asked, with half excitement and half nervousness, “Is there anything you regret not doing?” They were in the final minutes, and she was asking her last questions.

“Many things,” Rosa said. “There were so many things I put off thinking I would do them later, but I could have done them at the time.”

“What kind of things?” Fatma asked.

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I couldn’t do them and never will,” Rosa said, taking another sip from her glass. “Leaving this world as someone who couldn’t accomplish what I wanted will probably be my biggest regret.”

Fatma was fixated on the Meteor. She was only looking at the Meteor now. Her hair was starting to stand on end. The sky, gradually turning red, began to frighten her.

“Do you think I should be angry with my father?”

Rosa’s eyes were also on the Meteor. After finding the strength to look away from it, she turned to Fatma.

“What will change?” she said. “Will you go after him in the afterlife? No. What happened stays as it is. From this moment on, nothing has any meaning. Neither the past nor the future. Memories only retain their meaning as long as life exists. Soon, nothing will have any meaning.”

Fatma’s eyes filled with tears. A drop rolled down her cheek from her right eye. Her eyes were still on the Meteor. It was getting closer and closer. The sky was now red like in science fiction films.

“I don’t want to die meaninglessly,” Fatma half-yelled.

Rosa turned to look at her. Seeing Fatma cry, her own eyes filled with tears. Fatma threw her glass and stood up. She fixed her gaze on the Meteor.

“I spent my life under my father’s religious oppression. I couldn’t love; I couldn’t be loved. I couldn’t live. If there was only one thing that gave my life meaning, it was you,” Fatma said, turning her back to Rosa and looking at her.

“Please don’t misunderstand me. Of course, everything that has happened has a meaning. Every day I spent with you was wonderful. I’m glad we met,” Rosa said, raising her voice slightly.

Even though Meteor was far away, they could see it, and the sound of its fall reached them. The sea was screaming with all her rage towards the impending end. The wind had turned into a storm, hurling sand wildly around. Fatma’s tears were flowing ceaselessly, responding to what was happening. She had lost her composure from five minutes ago. She fell to her knees, and her tears mixed with her sobs. Rosa also knelt beside Fatma, unable to hold back her tears, crying uncontrollably, like a madwoman.

The waves were hitting them back and forth, no longer the enjoyable waves that tickle the wrist. They were hitting them like hammers hitting a wall and bouncing back. Both of their knees had sunk into the sand from the ebb and flow of the waves. While embracing each other and crying, they did not realize that they were in the final seconds. Fatma released herself from Rosa’s embrace and looked at her.

“You’re the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me in this life. The only person who loves me.”

Rosa was speechless. Everything around them was so red that their skin color had turned red too. Fatma’s blue eyes had turned purple due to the effect of redness. You could see the veins in her eyes that came out because of crying. Rosa looked at Fatma for a few seconds and then did something she had never done before. She kissed Fatma’s lips, which were wet with tears. Fatma responded amateurishly. She could feel the sadness and despair in every kiss Rosa gave her. She responded with the same sorrow and grief. Every time their lips touched, there was an indescribable feeling. Fatma would now die knowing that something so ordinary as loving someone had turned into something so sad. But she had finally experienced that indescribable feeling within herself. Now, she understood what the phrase “butterflies in the stomach” meant.

After kissing like two lovers who had reunited after years, they stopped. Their foreheads were touching. The waves had been so rough that they were getting soaked every time they hit them.

“Thank you,” Fatma said. “At least you were here,” she said, sadly.

Rosa held Fatma’s face with her hands, lifted her chin with a gentle move, and kissed her deeply and for the last time. Then she held her tightly.

“You are the only experience I have never regretted,” she said.

The rockets were no longer in the sky. The Meteor was almost at the horizon line, on the brink of touching the blue planet. Fatma and Rosa embraced each other without speaking as the touch that would mark the end of a millions-year-long adventure happened. The Meteor touched the horizon line with the tip of its nail, and a white light burst forth from that point. It was so powerful that the crimson sky instantly turned snow-white.


Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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