Short Story: “The End Is Nigh”

Earth. Not long after almost all of humanity was wiped off the map. All that remains is one man: Aiden. He spends his time roaming the ruins of his once great civilization.

Aiden has come to exemplify the very model of human spirit, fighting tooth and nail to survive, never once questioning the point.

Earth is his home, his people’s home more importantly. Memories both wonderful and tragic have been formed here. He has taken it upon himself to make sure those memories live on, so he will fight until the very end to do just that.

“The end is nigh, Aiden,” proclaims a deep, booming voice.

Suddenly, from over the horizon, rides a white horse, and his name that sat on him, was Death, and Hell followed with him.

Hallucinations. Again.

“No Aiden, this is no hallucination.”

Just then, a wave of unbareable heat hits Aiden, quickly settling into an uncomfortable mugginess. Sweat begins to form on his brow.

Before he has a minute to think, the pale rider sweeps him upon the white horse. Not a word is said.

They just ride. Hell follows with them the whole time, like a great wave sweeping over the entire planet.

Welcome to Hell on Earth.

What was once beautiful and full of all kinds of luscious colors is now a hot, sweaty, sulfer ridden pit.

Death brings his horse to a stop.

“We walk from here,” he says as he climbs down off his horse.

“Where are you taking me,” Aiden asks, finally able to put together words.

“Climb down off the horse,” responds Death, ignoring Aiden’s question.

“Okay then.”

Aiden climbs down and follows Death.

They walk.

And walk.

And then they walk some more. Aiden never once complains.

Until finally the world goes white. This is the second plain. Another world beyond our physical form.

All there is, is white.

For ages.

Then finally – Aiden becomes reacquainted with his physical form.

An Older Man stands, awaiting them.

“This is him,” asks the Older Man to Death.

“Yes,” he responds, “The last human. I’ll give you some time.”

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure, sir.”

Death walks off, giving the Older Man and Aiden some space.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why I brought you here,” says the Older Man, as he turns to speak to Aiden.

Aiden wants to respond, but he can’t. He doesn’t know how.

“It’s ok. You have been through a lot,” continues the Older Man, “I brought you here because I wanted to meet you. Before Death rode through, you survived on a barren planet all on your own. You barely ate. You were constantly on the move, always salvaging, and praying for any help possible in keeping your people alive. It was the most selfless thing I’ve ever seen out of humanity. You never gave Death an inch, let alone a thought.”

“You,” Aiden finally says, remembering how to speak, “You never once answered my prayers.”

“No Aiden, you answered mine. I would like you to know that while you may pass on, humanity will be given another chance. Life will begin again on another planet: all because of you. Thank you for restoring my faith.”

Death lumbers back over.

“It’s time,” he declares in that familiar deep voice of his.

“Ok,” the Older Man responds, turning back to continue to speak to Aiden, “You’re going to go with him. He’ll show you the way.”

“The way to where?”

“Paradise.”

Death takes Aiden by the arm and suddenly he’s home again.

THE END

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Death on a Pale Horse (?) circa 1825-30 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05504

Mr. X
drunkensailor2010@yahoo.com