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MRS. BLACK SAVES THE WORLD
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang or a whimper, but the crackle of a turning page.
The Doomsday Book looks properly impressive. It is heavy and black, bound in the leathery hide of the beast that killed the dinosaurs.
The Doomsday Book’s pages are made of vellum, pale as milk. The words printed on them with meticulous care look as if they were just penned; the characters are red. Against the pale parchment they look like bleeding wounds in white flesh.
Mrs. Black found the book in the Goodwill shop, lying on the discount table. She paid a dollar for it and took it home with her. That night, she sat in her favorite chair with a cup of tea and a plate of oatmeal cookies close to hand, and read it.
It was not a very thick book and it only took her an hour to finish. Afterwards, sitting there, sipping her tea, nibbling on a cookie, she considered the end of the world. It all seemed a bit messy and quite unnecessary.
She went into the spare room and rummaged through her late husband’s desk. After a little while, she returned to her chair. Picking up the Doomsday Book, Mrs. Black opened it. She smoothed the parchment with her hand and peered at the red words.
Then, she opened the bottle of White-Out and poured it over the page.