Settled by Lenny CorbettSUMMARY: Everything must end eventually.
The sun would never rise again. The darkest of clouds – they hardly looked like clouds - settled over the land of men. Behind the clouds, within whatever was beyond their existence, there was a vast profound movement - so disturbing - the way it stirred its huge form in utter, frightening silence. The whole world became silent with it, as if being sure not to offend it.
The two men sat in old chairs somewhere high on a mountain, only feet from a huge precipice. They had often sat there - they could see everything they'd made.
"Well, don't say I didn't tell you. I always knew this would happen," said the shorter man casually.
"What's that?" asked the bearded man.
"Well, the end of the world."
"What are you talking about?"
"I've been saying it for... well, forever! I always said, the world would end and we'd have nothing left to do but be happy with what we did."
Sharp pricks of wrathful lightning began to strike violently into the land.
"But that was all nonsense. The world's not going to end," said the bearded man.
"But look! The world is ending right now... And I think I am happy with what I did."
The bearded man looked. "I don't see anything," he said, as whirling fireballs broke through, spiralled down to crash, burning into the maze that men had built.
"Huh. Blind you are. Ain't this what I've been saying this whole time?" he said gesturing at the maelstrom, still fairly casual.
"I don't see anything I'm afraid."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing. You must be the only person who would think nothing of the end of the world."
"Hmm, the end of the world... That would be fairly bad, I guess. But fortunately, it is not going to happen."
Mountains began to crumble and crash under the weight.
The shorter man had become much more serious and concerned. Inside himself he was thinking of what to say, knowing how short a time he had left, feeling as if this was a conversation they should have had a long time ago. "Are you happy with what you did?" he asked finally.
The bearded man paused in thought. "Um..." taking his time, "I think so, though I've done so many things I can hardly remember half of them."
"You were always so damn stubborn."
"Mmm... I guess I was..."
"Yep... Anyway, what should we -" He paused at the rumbling of something deep and deadly. "- What should we do now?" Rocks fell down about them.
"Well, I'm quite content where I am actually." Below them rushing waves of water collided with fierce waves of fire. A few disastrous minutes passed.
"Alright then. Anyway, it looks like it's ending pretty soon," stated the shorter man as he stood up. "I think I might jump off this cliff."
"This is a damn shame. I wish the world didn't have to end." He hesitated then, looking deep into the horror around him, seeing a new truth, a new seriousness in it all. Though he had pictured it in mind many times (and this was little different) now that he saw it before his eyes it was far more terrible. "I guess I'll see you in the next world." The value and stability of his beliefs, beliefs he held so strongly a moment before, became suddenly more important. "If there is one..." He hopped over the edge, to his death.
The bearded man shrugged. "OK then." Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. This was no facade of false happiness; he was so self-conditioned. He lived perfectly contented, never a hint of doubt, never any instability, no thoughts too important, never really seeing the unsettling truth.
Then the world ended.