I leave the church, and I wander for a time through the chaos and the fire. The world that I knew, that I remember, is gone, like years had passed while I was still within, where time remains still, while the world moves ever onward, onto a hazy red rapture, always steady, never slowing, eating everything away. I feel a great sadness for the beauty that once was. And what made it beautiful was not the blue skies or the green trees or the purple hills or the clear rivers. It was the people. Humans. Mortals. With all our imperfections. But some kind of madness seems to have afflicted the people who remain, who were left behind, for the monstrosities I witness are acts I used to believe no human is capable of, or would ever be, and never in such numbers. The perversions and the depravity seem to be manifestations of the symptoms of this inevitable and unstoppable end. I feel myself having darker and darker thoughts as nights grow darker and days grow dimmer.

I wander farther and deeper into the growing darkness, doing my best to preserve my sanity and my life. I discovered in my endless wanderings of this ceaseless fiery winter that it must only be a fraction of humanity that was granted admittance into paradise. I wonder how many of the people I encountered are like me. Did they reject heaven as well, in order to be with the one they love that they knew were shunned? Are they looking for their sinful love? Like me?

But nobody seem to be looking for anyone anymore. What is lost in this final entropy is lost forever. I am beginning to believe the unbelievable, for nothing is recognizable anymore in this disarray. Nothing to help stay the memories. The few I meet now and again are just aimlessly drifting now. The world has ended. Where can they go? Where can they run to? Where can I?

Before all this, I used to believe that everyone, in one way or another, was waiting for the world to end. And now that it has, with nothing else to wait for, I cannot even begin to imagine what might go on inside the burning heads of the few I still pass by, or had to run from, or had to end in this end. What goes on inside my own head, I do not know anymore. Maybe I am waiting for the great war to come, the war between good and evil, black and white, the forces of heaven against hell. But to the immortal beings that reside above and below, it would hardly matter when it happens. I won’t be around to witness it. My soul will bathe in the undying flames of purgatory. There is no purpose to anything anymore. Lies flow freely from my tongue, the red in my hands is only a shade now. I feel nothing for it. And hope? What does it mean, I have forgotten. We are the condemned. The pits of eternal burnings is where we are heading. Maybe there I will finally find my love, my son, my kind, my loving, my generous atheist son. All the good he had done in his life amounted to ashes, easily blown away in the gentlest breeze. What good is goodness?

My life used to have a purpose, and now in this afterlife, the days spent in searching has been rendered a failure. What more can I do? What more is there to do?

But for now, I have you, you poor little thing. Born in the precipice, the edge of the apocalypse, on the end of days, born a sinner, damned by birth, condemned long before. How could anyone, god or devil, ever deem you anything but innocent and pure, see your tears fit to dry in this scorching haze? How could anyone damn you, forsake you? Guiltless, yet still paying for the sins of the first son and daughter of god, even after all has ended. I wish I could give you more than my pity. At least, I wish I have better stories to tell you, but this is all I have. This is all anyone has left.

Today is Sunday, I whisper to you, a story that I have no doubt told you countless times. And on Sundays we go to church, and we sing hymns, and we pray, and we praise god.

Image Created in OpenAI Dall.E

Note: This is an excerpt from a story I wrote two years ago, about a grandmother who rejected heaven during the Christian end of the world, choosing to look for and be with her grandson who has been denied entry into paradise for his atheism. Changed it from grandmother to mother for the purpose of this short piece.

It was an ambitious (and risky, although that probably was only in my mind) undertaking, trying to write about a subject that I had, at best, a juvenile understanding of. Raised in a Christian (Baptist) society, taught endlessly about love and fear, I grew up with no shortage of hellish imaginations of what the end of the world might be like and what that would mean for those who had not been “saved.”

The story is nothing more than one of those imaginations put to words. In the main story, the grandmother (mother here), upon finding out that her grandson is not among those who would get to go through the pearly gates, had a long theological discourse with an angel, before choosing to reject salvation for her grandson. The speculative nature of the story and the dialogues were an attempt at an exercise in conscience, and a study on the imbalance of what is considered righteous or otherwise. Given that I am no expert in theology and grossly lack the aptitude for deep philosophical thoughts, the story was a cringeworthy mess. These posted above were last few paragraphs of the story, the only part that I thought was salvageable, although heavily re-edited.

Taking into consideration the themes of this piece, I feel the need to put a disclaimer. This is not a criticism of Christianity or any faith for that matter, but merely a speculative invention borne out of one man’s fascination with the end of the world.

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