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When day broke, the world was already gone.
The grey sky, the moist cement; all things covered in ash, drenched in monochrome. He had woken up to a bleak dawn, pouring cold light through the windows of the abandoned church. There was no life to stir. No morning glories to blossom. No nightingales to sing. Night and day— it was all a blur to him. Like looking through stained glass.
In the last few days of his life, he spent his time pouring over his old sketchbooks. All things he saw in the eyes of a young man, etched in pencil and charcoal. When the thought of it all now, he could only smile bitterly— He was breathing and moving, but they killed him the day they took away everything; his wife.
Now he walked upon the the very ground where he had once lived. The carpet was long gone, turned to ashes. The ceiling was blackened and charred, the ascending scars of fire branded into the walls as if crawling towards the sky. Furniture was long since stolen, but even now he could smell the familiar scent of Her perfume, the one that she wore too much and too often, when she was with him.
He walked towards the window. Something cracked under his feet.
An old photograph, almost too burnt to recognize. But he saw her eyes gaze back at him, and he put the photograph down. There was no reason to grieve anymore. It will not bring her back. You could climb Mount Everest and beyond and she would not come back.
He went outside. There was the pier, ravaged and stained in acid rain. He could smell the residue— grime, sulfur, and carbon monoxide. It didn't matter to him anymore. He walked onto the pier, kicking a metal sign that once read, "Belmont California." The letters had worn off, and the word "ANATKH" had been inscribed into the metal with a knife. He smiled; He had not seen that word since college. Truly ironic, that whatever poor soul had perceived the future so well in six letters.
He kicked the sign into the ocean below.
He tried to remember what year it was. 2011? 2012? The numbers were lost on him. Numbers were just figments of our imagination, made to label and calculate with precision. With deadly precision. When they put that knife to her throat, they must have been counting the milliseconds until her heart stopped.
The ground shifted. Vertigo. The monoxide must have started to kick in. He smiled, starting to tremble. Next he would feel nauseate. He would start coughing. Maybe he would even start hallucinating and he would see her smiling, holding his hand right next to him. He was close to death enough— just a little poison would kill him.
He knew he was dying. But he was okay with that.
In time, the world will come green once again. Destruction completes the cycle of life. Moss will cover the ruins of the pier. The rubble will return to the Earth. The nightingales and morning glories will recrudesce.
And when day breaks, the sky will be blue once more.