652 words (2 minute read)

Ninety-Nine

...She opens her eyes. 

 She’s outside and above. There is no pain. No fear. No memory. Only a lingering sense of finality and She had broken through the end of all things. She’s gone now and this new void is filled with light. Cold, white, blinding. Gone is the bloodstained fabric outside Time. The One That Came Before lays down there somewhere, dead. It was of no concern now. The great, hard carapace in splinters. The gargantuan jaws slack and motionless. Thorax burst, grey rotted meat thrown out from something that eats its way through. Birthed into the world is... 

What exactly? She does not fully understand. 

And then She looked down and saw Creation beneath Her feet. 

She sees where He stands, looking out over a wretched city, wonderous bursts of color over His head. In the same moment, He is fighting for his life in the house where The Old One sinks its hooks into His flesh. He is standing in a desert where He made his escape, only to be drawn back towards its jaws. Simultaneously, a blonde girl looks out over a beach, watching the sun sink into the sea, wondering foolishly if her life was ending or just beginning, not understanding that these concepts were one and the same. She sees the hard man filled with warm light, who brought Them together. She sees Them falling in love. Soft and bright and infinite. They wished the moment had lasted forever and, unknown to them, it had. All moments had. It was all done. A completed work. The beginning and the end and all points in between were all right now. There was only one moment. The moment of Her birth. Along the edges she could see burrow marks, weaving in and out of the tapestry where the old one infects it. Twisting scars where it eats. The flesh was attempting to knit itself together but could not, and just shifts restlessly along the edges of the caverns. The tapestry is alive. Creation attempts to heal itself but the damage is done. Tremors along the surface of what the insects down below refer to as Time. The tapestry is a living organism, endless worm writhing in the void, made up of all life that was, is, or will be. 

She understands now that She is looking at God. All that is life lives within. All that is life... 

Is. 

And deep within the shimmering lights, She sees the black little spots. A swarm, like locusts. Cancerous tumors surrounding the malignant cell of The Other. The seed of the Old One. From the moment it touched Creation, the virus had begun to spread. It had always been. There was no avoiding this. Nothing could be changed. There was no need to. It was already done. From the womb of decay, She had been born. She reached down, touching the surface, watching the ripples spread across the length of existence. Joy. Hate. Pain. Ecstasy. A flood of emotion spreads up Her arm and throughout Her form. She accepts it all, detached, but with care. A gardener tending Her garden. But then, Love. A single, pinhole of light. He was there, standing over the city, the warmth inside of Her grows the closer she gets to it and She extends her hand now towards the light, fingertips almost touching it. It flickers and shifts, like a firefly in the summer night. And 

Darren Barlow had never killed anyone until the night of December 31st, 2012, 10 days after the world was supposed to end, according to a culture that was long dead now. The world kept on. That’s the constant. Lives are ruined. Loved ones die. Men and women and children are starved and infected and beaten and enslaved and slaughtered and the world doesn’t end. Just keeps spinning until it doesn’t.