The Last of the Light Bleeds Out

I stood on the concrete in my bare feet and watched the world come to an end.

The sky was orange, ailing sunlight swollen across the dull clouds of a humid evening. Sound still existed alongside the nothing – cicadas singing throatily at each other in the ditch behind the apartment – but there was no laughter; no crying, no talking, no cars on the road or evening joggers. Across the street a TV flickered silently in a living room window, but the people inside were all gone. There was no one left to turn it off.

I watched the world end in my bare feet, and I wondered why no one had called me to tell me it was happening. To exchange I love yous as the day faded away into flat silence, to ask how you’re doing (“Oh I’m fine. And you?”) just because it’s familiar and polite. To say goodbye and then almost add “Talk to you later” because it’s habit, only to pause and say nothing instead, right before you both hang up. But no one had called. The world had stopped but I’d missed the train in the station, which had churned and eaten up the tracks, gaining speed without a warning whistle before disappearing into the darkness without me.

The sky bleeds a heavy purple and red, time’s last sunset slowly melting into a blackening horizon at the end of earth’s shortest and longest week. It will not rise again. I stand on cooling concrete, listen to the cicadas’ courtship call, and for some reason I know this is all right.

Someone will be by later, to pick up the stragglers.

Where does nonsense like this come from? From the fact that my stupid air conditioning is broken and I have to listen to the stupid cicadas dialogue at each other in the stupidly humid night air. In the meantime I’ll be over here, waiting for the world to end.

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4 Responses to The Last of the Light Bleeds Out

  1. Your Local Friendly IT Guy says:

    So wait… is this a desire for the end of the world to come because it’s hot and muggy and you’re uncomfortable? Makes sense. 😛
    Also, that was quite creepy to read.

    • A.L. Schultz says:

      It’s only the BEST time for a desire to the end the world to come over me. Ugh, I hate this weather.
      (But more honestly, I actually wrote the first draft of this quite awhile ago. The sky was an odd color because of the weather, so I really was standing out in front of my apartment on the concrete in my bare feet to look at it. A weird feeling of foreboding excitement came over me, and I wanted to try and capture that.)

  2. Mark my words says:

    You’ve written some haunting prose. When Eliot was asked later in life whether he would write again the final stanza to “The Hollow Men,” he replied, “No.” No regrets here. This is good. Keep cool.

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