r/writingprompts: The End of the Universe

You repeat “Is anyone there?” until hopelessness is all you feel. From there you burst into short, half hearted yet panicked screams of “Hello?!” until your throat is drier than Mercury’s last colony. That’s when you decide to stop speaking, because silence has confirmed it to be true: You are the last person in the universe.

At least that's how I'd like to imagine how the other last person is managing through all of this, hanging onto the strangled thorns of hope. It’s the sanest scenario I can think of. 

Because between psychotic dreams of black fog and the fear that another human being only brings unrecognizable companionship in death, I find myself wondering, "Why strive on?" When the night falls and phantom-knocks echo behind doors that no longer stand, I fall into exhaustion, wondering if continuation towards oblivion can have any meaning. 

When the governments started shutting down, cities became graveyards. Existence ceased and all that was left was aimless hope. Suicide was justified as soon as the future proved to consist of nothing but soulless obsidian.

"You couldn’t keep your spouse accounted for. Couldn’t compare whether or not Farmer A was cheating you in comparison to Farmer B. Couldn’t be 100% sure, without the agreement of millions of others while ignoring the opposing other hundred million who had a different opinion, of anything."

And with uncertainty hovering close, opting out became the new opting in. Erratic heart beats before solid flat lines set the new tempo. Hollow sounds and dust clouds disturbed grey skies, and the ingredients of smog were the involuntary decay of everything.

Water is the road that highlights my existence. Walking along the edge of what may have been the Pacific Ocean, towards what probably is Antarctica, and having the title of “last human on earth” is a pretty impressive feat that I can boast to no one. 

Is the Earth is really burning? The days are longer, hotter, and water evaporates from the source runs from me like a child playing hide and seek. The pond out of reach.

The sun doesn't rise gently. Light greets my eyes like curtains yanked open after a brief night. My lips are too chapped, and beads of sweat drips down my chest. I close my eyes and wake up. The water has retreated again.

I pull my hair back, pick up my things - a light blanket fashioned into a bag, a bottle, a knife and inedible foods - and hike.

There are some days I miss simple human interactions, even the bad ones. I hum the songs I can remember in my head, I replay words that might have once been said but everything soon falls flat with forget like black water.

 Even before the end of the universe, water has always been a mystery. The sharp waves, soft ripples… the multitude of deep dark blues and sea greens crashing against each other in conflicting harmony has always calmed me. There was always a strange high that grew within me whenever I saw white foams undulating like traveling islands floating on waves. It's the new experience of reaching the edge of this slowly-becoming-a-pond ocean that gives me reason to go on. Who will see the bottom of the depthless ocean? 

Maybe me.

Truth is, I’ve found that the end of universe has been no different from being in the busiest thread of it. Silence is just as loud as the nonsense. Both life and death speak volumes in a frenzied conversation until I find myself standing at the edge of the water again. Calm again.

I fall to my knees to take drink. My name breaks through the silence. It’s dry and forced, a hopeless cry, that comes from the other side. A mirage, no doubt. A figure, blurry and moving, and I wonder if my time is up as the haze clears and I feel the impossible. The heat of love returning.

But it comes again.

My name.

Then splashing. 

Lukewarm droplets hit my cheek as the face of the one person - that same one and only - collapses in front of me, knee deep in the considerably shallow waters. A heat like no other scorches my back, and I don’t know if it’s the sun or my body flaring up to the touch of the only person I ever loved holding my face. 

I look back into those two round palettes of blue jade and stormy skies. And as the water beneath us diminishes, my eyes, for the first time in a long time, willing gave back to the ocean.