The Last Year

February 6, 2010
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It was summer, early summer, when spring wasn’t really gone yet, but it was definitely hot. It felt like an oven heating up. The boy walked home from school. A sharp and very annoying voice rang through the air “Crucifixes cheap, save yourself from the Rapture, repent your sins.” The peddler was standing behind a table with small tin crosses on strings. Faith in exchange for money, and life. Some have indeed “repented” but even they who convinced themselves were sullen. The entire world, it seemed was swallowed by a pit of sadness so deep, that it was like a black hole. It was a year before the asteroid would collide with the earth. It has been proven, no one doubted it. The world was coming to an end, and everyone knew, but even in their misery, the still possessed an artificial happiness. It made the boy sick, every time his mother would wake him in the morning with a smile. Everything was in order, no riots, no looting, everyone knowing it was pointless. It was as if humanity, for once, and for the last and only time, gave up its struggle with fate. The silence affected everyone, especially the children and their parents. All the effort, growing up for nothing, the experiences never encountered, wishes never granted… As the boy walked, he thought “Why, oh god, ohgod, ohgod, ohgod! Why know, why here!? Everything wasted! Wasted, in the void of space. What’s the point, whose fault? If this is the punishment for sins, then why everyone? If this is a cruel joke of nature, then why?” The earth, the carefully constructed result of billions of years, all blown to smithereens. Why did it have to be like this? Earth’s little fleas, the humans, she was sad; her entertainment for years would be gone. She had watched them, finding fire, living, looking into their huts, rejoicing at the births of babies. Giggling at their religions and their wars over it, hearing them say complete nonsense, killing each other over it, they were her little ones. They had gotten out of hand in the pas century, so much death, like small insects, in their territorial wars, destroying things, each other. It was all funny, striving for something, not realizing they were fleas, on a dog’s back. She had known for long of the asteroid coming closer, closer, she knew she would go too, but it did not trouble her. The irony, at last, they will know, that in the end, Death is the ruler of everything. In the end, there is nothing, and life, just as it came out of it, was again engulfed in it.

“After a battle lasting many ages,
The Devil won,
And he said to God
(who had been his maker):

We are about to witness he unmaking of Creation
By my hand.
I would not wish you
To think me cruel,
So I beg you, take three things
From this world before I destroy it.
Three things, and the rest will be wiped away.”
God thought for a little time.
And at last He said:
“No, there is nothing.”
The Devil was surprised.
“Not even you, Lord?” he said.
“No. Not even me.”

Clive Barker

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