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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by wyrd1 on August 18, 2008

This Is the Way the World Ends

There was a moment there, right before the end, that I just knew... finally knew what I was meant to be in the world.

Amid the ashes and the flames, the wails of sirens and the injured and the smell of smoke and gasoline, I was transformed.

The city was a husk, a burning shell of what is was. Buildings were leveled. Streets were upturned. Everywhere I looked there was smoke and fire. I don't know if it was just here or if the whole world had suddenly exploded. But, this was enough, right?

The whole world doesn't have to end for it to be the end for you. That's all that matters ultimately to each of us. Once you are done, the world is done. Some people like to think that their name will live on, that they left some sort of legacy. But that's a hollow victory, isn't it?

As I walked through the streets of the burning city I saw many dying people. I really SAW them. I could tell in a second if someone's wounds were mortal. I blessed those that were dying. I smiled at them and they were comforted.

I would pause by those that were merely broken and I would adjust them in such a way that they would be in less pain. In their hearts, they suddenly knew they would make until the end.

Sadly, my gift of comfort also brought with it the realization that even though they had lived today, that it was all over soon enough anyway. And more, that there was nothing beyond that.

I spread this truth to those that lived: There was nothing more. The life you've led is the life you've led. There are no second chances; no ultimate reward awaiting you in Heaven.

If I could have held it to me, it might have been better for some of these people to live in pain with the hope of salvation. I could not stop myself. I could not stand to see the physical suffering. And so what if they found out now? They'd all know soon enough...

That was the moment of my transformation. It was so simple. It was blazingly obvious once seen. For a moment, I was stunned by my own blindness.

I had thought, "They would know soon enough..."

They would never know! Because the knowledge I had, that there was nothing after life, was only for those now living. Once you ended, you ended. There would be no, "Oh! Now there's nothing." There would just Be nothing.

I had become the destroyer. While I had comforted their physical wounds and opened their minds to the truth, I had created infinitely more pain and suffering for many.

I sat myself down in the rubble and with the flames inching towards me, I watched the people of the city die around me. I heard their cries for help and desperate pleas for release.

I let them die as slowly as it took.

Let them keep the thought, deep below the suffering and pain, that they would be rewarded. That the afterworld would be worth the price they were paying. Ignorance is Bliss.

I'm sorry.

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