The end of the world wasn’t so bad. It began with an argument between some self-important people who had a bit too much responsibility. It escalated. The end of the world was loud and hot and bright. Most people dried almost instantly to a pink Himilyan salt, their crystals scattered to the wind. Some took longer, their skin blackened like the crust of a wood fired pizza. Still, some survived, parts of their limbs and flesh melted like a mild gruyere cheese. No, all this was not so bad. It was the lack of good food.
I’m wealthy so it’s appropriate I camp in a Cadillac. Those luxuries! Genuine simulated wood accents, leatherish trim, shiny bits. The exterior paint is nearly unblistered and all glass is intact, except the impact snowflake embossed into the windshield. Despite the daytime warmth I barely detect the previous owner’s carpet-blood.
The castle ruin was the only shelter Famine could see for miles, a shadow cast on withered land, on mud, bracken and brittle heather. And on bones. Beyond was the sea, and snow clouds on the horizon. The gatehouse, its great rounded towers broken and jagged at the tops, stood defiant in the desolation, like an old, wounded knight after a battle. Wind, sea-salt, and even War had not defeated it, and as Famine traced the silhouette against the sky, he could have believed the castle would withstand time itself, if such a thing were possible.
It’s nighttime, so we all wear sunglasses.
I know it sounds absurd. Only a week earlier, we all would have agreed. Why do you need shades when there’s no sun?
Front door shut and locked. Push it again, jiggle the handle a few more times, to be sure. I left it open once — maybe more than once?—and next-door’s cat got in the house. Henry wasn’t pleased with me. He’s been so good, so patient, but he was very upset about the door. I’ve been much more careful since.