In those last minutes, the Great Leaders returned to their deep bunkers, and the missiles soared and dropped.
In every part of the world, every person that there is felt one searing moment of pain, as flesh stripped away.
In the silence that then fell, each person looked down at a bony arm or leg, clean and lithe and tough, and each person, now burned free of stomach, brain, heart and sex, of all the appetites that make a mortal, felt light and free.
Testing first one leg and then the other, and feeling their new lightness, they grinned with bony skulls and began, slow at first, to dance.
There remained in them no hunger or weariness, no greed, no need to slave, no earth’s burden. Without breath or heartbeat, to them even time meant nothing. They danced without ceasing, each movement a joy and a celebration. They danced to music that was not heard in the ears but, like all the best music, felt inside their heads.
In time, the clouds passed, and the Great Leaders, aged and bowed, emerged from their bunkers, to be greeted with a sight of such grooving and jiving and revelry as had never been known.
As one, the Great Leaders frowned deeply and tapped a foot, without speaking.
And the dead, abashed at their foolish behaviour, stopped dancing, first those nearest to the bunkers and then, in a wave, those further and further off.
They bowed their heads in shame and, one by one, they returned to their work.