Friday, December 21, 2012

Fiction: On His Feet


It happened at three in the morning, the midnight of the soul. Jack was awake when the sure knowledge that the world was going to end just landed in his brain. He blinked and lay in bed, staring at the bedroom ceiling. Next to him, Pam muttered something in her sleep, then grew quiet.

For a minute, Jack thought about waking his wife. They had been married for fifteen years. Three years too long if Jack was going to be completely honest. Still, shouldn’t they be together at the end?

No, decided Jack. Let her sleep.

Carefully, he climbed out of bed and left the bedroom. He walked to the kitchen and took the chocolate cake out of the refrigerator. Grabbing a fork from the air dryer, Jack walked out onto the porch.

He sat in the rocking chair Pam had bought him as a gag gift for his last birthday. The joke was on her, though, as the chair had become Jack’s favorite. He dug into the cake. It was cold and a little dry, but not bad.

Overhead, the stars were winking out. In the distance, the world seemed to be growing vague and indistinct, quietly drifting away into mist and shadow.

Jack didn’t feel afraid and he wondered about that. The idea of death had always frightened him, mainly because there was no guarantee that there would be anything after it.

Now, though, he knew with bedrock certainty that there was something. That knowledge removed death’s sting.

He ate another forkfull of cake and watched the world come undone. The moon drifted away into white smoke. Down the street, the new condos evaporated.

The end drew near. Jack put aside the cake and stood to meet it.

And, as it swept over him, as Jack faded into mist and shadow, he wondered.

What happens next?

He was looking forward to finding out.

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