Into the Dark
Author's note: I like music A LOT. When I listen to songs, I mainly enjoy listening to their lyrics, trying to... Show full author's note »
1/60 OF AN HOUR BEFORE THE END, December 21, 2012, 11:59 PMThe streets are swarming with people and the smell of sewage. Rancid smoke fills the streets, all the way up to the second floor of the nearby buildings. The air is foggy, so no one is quite sure where anyone else is. People grasp at each other’s clothing, trying to pull their beloved friends and family nearer to them, but the lack of sight makes this endeavor near impossible. They cry out names, thousands of names, which all evaporate in the mist like drops of water. The overwhelming music helps
Suddenly the people and the music stop as the large clock chimes. All faces turn to the large one hovering above them. They all grab onto a nearby hand, not caring whose fingers were threaded through their own. A recording continues spouting out the name not many recognize but immediately feel a connection too. And if one looks deep into the crowd, in the very densest part, one will be able to see a couple. Their lips are pressed together, waiting for the end together, holding onto each other until the very last moment. The others are too preoccupied with the clock, counting down to the final minute of humanity. The recording moans on, the smoke retreats from the people’s vision, and the acidic smell intensifies. Boom, boom, boom. The little hand on the giant clock shakes as it meets its larger counterpart, pointing North, and all the people join in a single gasp. The recording moans, “Cath…”
The people wait, but it is irrelevant. Nothing happens, which some realize is exactly what they expected. Others are thankful for another chance at life, though deep in their hearts they know their habits are not going to change. All of these different beings disperse, enjoying the fact they survived but are not surprised by it. The world did not explode, the end did not come, and life demanded they all move on. As people walk away to their various homes to put their various families to sleep, the young twenty-something remains in the middle of the square, facing the girl with dark blonde hair. The recording of the girl’s name has stopped, the smell of drugs has faded, and the city is silent for the first time in twenty-four hours. The girl smiles grimly at the boy, shrugging. “So what now, Bixby?” Her voice picks at the back of his mind. He stares at her arms that are covered by his corduroy jacket. She pops her mint gum. “Jason, focus. What now?” He doesn’t respond, his eyes drooping with disappointment. He puts his hand on Cath’s cheek, and she leans into him.
“You don’t have to go back, Cath,” he sighs, brushing her dark blonde hair out of her face. He can feel her strength drain, and she falls deeper into his arms. He steps back, still holding the skeletal figure, and stares at the pale eyes watching him with remorse. He strokes her smooth, branching fingers. “I love you,” he whispers. The little color that she gained from that day fades. She looks almost transparent now. Today has been too much for her.
She holds his hand tighter, and kisses him so softly he barely feels it. The taste of mint lingers in his mouth. She begins to quietly sob. His stomach twists as he wipes the tears running down her fragile face with one of his thick fingers that contrast so much with hers. “You can’t kill yourself,” she murmurs through her sobs. He takes in a deep breath, trying to absorb every bit of her that he can.
“I promised you I would. I want to.” She shakes her head, her large eyes that didn’t seem to fit in her sharp face fill with regret. “I can’t live without you, butterfly.”
She cries out, her sobs cracking. She tries to step back, but can’t seem to move on her own anymore. “Promise me you won’t, Bix.” He nods, and with his agreement she falls heavily to the ground. He holds her, but he doesn’t follow her into the dark.