The Book of The End

Have you ever watched the World end?
…Well, that question in itself is a bit asinine, isn’t it?
The longer this goes on, the more jumbled the thoughts get and the less likely I am to make sense at this – the end of everything I’ve ever known, or will ever know.
…Well, that just sounds a little bit too morbid, doesn’t it? Maybe if I double back, everything will start to falling back into place; I’ve come this far and this is the least I could do.

My name is Craft Howie Lewis, and no that is not meant to be sly or witty, the name was actually a nod at a long deceased Writer, whose name escapes me even under these circumstances, though I’m confident I’ve touched on the subject more than once.
I was a middle-child in a History that wanted nothing to do with me, raised as though my parents were playing a practical joke by disarming me for the fires of real life. When I say fires, it is no metaphor, that was one thing that I have not been able to forget: the fires, so many of them. I’d never thought fire could be so terrifying, every instance of my life prior involving it had been quelled, controlled; this was anything but. It surprised me, I’ve never known concrete and metal to twist and crack beneath the hunger of flames. It never even occurred to me as being the slightest bit possible.
I will say this for my own sake, my life was anything but spectacular. If you assumed, whoever you may be, that by myself heading this collection of notes that I am in some way a valiant, heroic Main Character; think again, and again and again. Until not even a ghost of that thought remains.
The third child in a Family of five, siblings older and younger seemed as stranger as people you pass on the street. Their faces escape me now, their names as well… and I am content with this. If I was unfortunate enough to remember some deep seeded emotional connection to these vague silhouettes in the darkness my life has taken, I fear I might not have the fortitude to finish.
I am getting off track. My name is Craft Howie Lewis, and no that is not meant to be sly or witty. As far as I can remember, which is quite far mind you, my choice profession was a safety net – I knew I would never get let go, but I knew I had no room for advancement. I liked that, I can’t remember why I liked that… I can’t even remember exactly what job it was that I had, but I had a mediocre talent for it.
I must’ve been required to wear a suit, because… well, I’m wearing one now, aren’t I? Unless this and everything else is just some strange delusion and I’m adrift in my own thoughts, and somehow my mind put together that Death went hand in hand with a tattered old suit.
There was a flash of brilliant light, almost as if a second Sun had appeared—and that is where everything stops.

I awoke minutes, hours, days or even months later in this place and haven’t been able to escape since. The walls extend for what seems like infinity, to a ceiling that I cannot see and the candle light does not reach. At first, it looked like a study of some sort: parchment stacked on a plain oak desk as high as me, ink, pens, pencils and every writing utensil that I knew to exist and a few I didn’t. (There might have even been a chisel in there somewhere, too)
Shelves surrounded me, not an exit in sight despite my repeated attempts at finding one. The wooden walls did not nick or chip, the shelves did not move and every book from ancient to fresh were filled with blank pages.
Blank pages and every method to write.
So, before boredom or madness came knocking, I decided to sit down and start writing.

It was in this moment that I discovered a talent I did not have before: I can perfectly recount every instance of my life, from the vague days as a toddler to the cringe worthy days as a misguided teen. I could remember the very first thing I ever laid eyes on and I can recite with perfect accuracy, every conversation I’ve ever had. The first time I witnessed Death, the first time I fell in love with a woman whose beauty I dreamt would never escape me, but now it does. The damned of it all, is the further I delve into this new talent of mine, every thing I’ve written gets swiped from my memory—ripped away by the stroke of the pen, a complete mystery to me until I pause for a moment to glance over what I’ve just written. Everything, except for my name. That seems to be the only constant, and should that ever escape me, then I know that the End is truly beckoning.
If I keep writing, maybe it will come to me… the reason this World of mine has come to an end, the reason as to why I am confined to this room to jot down the most dreadfully boring life. Is it of any importance, or is this just what happens when any person faces Death?
A cruel joke of whatever authority decided to catalogue every person’s existence into paper, have them rob themselves of experiences: happy, sad and terrifying… until nothing remains. I can say for certain, this life of mine has been anything but exceptional. I’ve said that already, haven’t I? Every person is a collection of words, repeated over a lifetime and the curiosity remains. What do you think… what do I think, the last Word ever spoken will be? Will I be the one to speak it?

For the life of me, I can’t remember what my point was… so many pages, the handwriting is dreadful… difficult to read, the longer it goes on. I feel sorry for whoever is struck with the task of reading it all.
What was I trying to say, now?
Maybe back pedaling will help me remember? My name is…

The End.

Tricked by the Light (Short Story)

Survival is a difficult thing to properly outline, especially in this day and age where technology has such a foothold in our day to day lives—when things such as a ‘social media death’ are considered a misstep in use of terminology, or maybe a pandering to the wrong audience. Movies are considered disasters, performances that did not meet our standards are disasters. Sad to say that our generation, and maybe the generations to come, have an estranged idea of Disaster.
Even someone such as myself, has come to understand that tragedy comes in all shapes and sizes. The lesson learned, not quite as diverse as the methods that brought it about. Every person changes when they understand what it truly means to know loss, and people seldom have the luxury of deciding when.
Can you recall the first time you experienced death? Not the candyland version of a beloved family pet passing, or watching some horrifying video on the Internet—I mean when you were there, face to face with someone that had moments ago been alive, and was now dead. I remember it more accurately than I remember my Mother’s face.

My Grandmother and I never got along, not on any terms. Her name was Diane and she was, at one point in her life given from what I have seen in photographs, beautiful. That did not stop her rotten personality from corrupting whatever outer beauty she possessed. You see, she had a predisposition to despise the male body as a whole, and thus I was at a constant disadvantage: my sisters would receive sweets, money and all the attention growing girls needed. Not I, in my time spent with her I was given a strong arm, a dutiful neglect and an oddly keen method at demoralizing me for doing nothing more than existing.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I held a grudge against the woman, even as time went on and she grew less and less aware, consumed by a disease of the mind that left her unable to dress herself without assistance; and unable to recognize her own children. I hated her. Hated her more than I should have, but I was determined that even in that mindless husk of a person, the woman that treated me so terribly was still there – and it was my revenge.
That was until her final moments, when it was not her children that stayed by her side through the night, or any of the grandchildren that she had adored so much more—it was me. Through the night, through every labored breath and sudden halt, I sat there next to her. Occasionally I reassured her with sweet nothings, whispered like the caring man that I had hoped I had become.
It came quickly and suddenly. Her chest didn’t rise again. Brilliant blue eyes that I envied had now been wholly glazed over, their vibrancy lost. All the subtle little motions that you never take notice of, the little things that make people look like—well, people? Gone. That profound beauty her wrinkled skin once held? Gone. It was like watching some botched, claymation suddenly become the person that you once knew. In this fleeting moment, I no longer held my childish grudge for her wrongful actions, her hateful attitude.
It was something so simple, that for so long I had overlooked simply due to the fact that I never considered it: Death was very, very real.

This was my disaster, my tragedy; the terrible, awful thing that had always been lurking at every potential moment. Law of Casualty was something I had managed to evade until right at that moment and it finally caught up with me.
That was the first time in my life that I had come to understand that someday, I was going to die. Oddly enough, the thought never crossed my mind prior—was I delusional, or just so content with my own circumstances of living that I never so much even entertained the idea that I was going to pass like her someday? Alone, save for the company of someone that hated me so much, they wanted to make sure that I stayed dead.
It managed to manifest itself later on as a very acute version of anxiety, something that I would only come to understand as being a little too cautious, all the time.
A newfound terror came with every crossing of the street, every public uprising and shooting that occurred spiked my ever-growing understanding of mortality.

I was never a God fearing man and doubt I will ever be one, but even so the possibility of my own imminent demise did inspire a bit of soul searching. The first attempt at tackling this ever present fear came in the form of attempting to find some solace, some spiritual assurance that no matter what might have happened, or how it might have happened; I would have been alright.
How many different bibles, testaments of faith and guides to existing have I read so far? Too many to count and too many to care, even though all this complied knowledge has made me a bit of a death guru—I still remember all the different heavens and hells that await, depending on who you speak to in your mind. None of it mattered to me, none of it helped me overcome my constant fear.

It’s a strange thing to realize; most animals have no great concept of death. They could not understand it anymore than we could understand why the we exist. They understand loss, the same as anything with half a bit of sentience might—but when the jaws clamp down and they are inches away from passing, the fight or flight response kicks in and they fight tooth and nail. Maybe not because they know they are going to die, but because they know something bad is going to happen. Or, that could just be a typical aversion to pain that all lifeforms share to some degree.
Science and Biology have a profound way of explaining how little they understand death; sure, the functions of the organs and all their different make-ups, all the names that go along with them. That is decent knowledge, but nothing that I was looking for. Biological Death is not something so easily explained, in fact I dare you to go and try to find something, anything right now that will tell you exactly what takes place at the moment of death. You are more likely to pull up some spiritual dabble, or something else that was entirely speculative. Nothing solid, no concrete understanding of what really happens in the great beyond.
So when everything comes down, and everything you’ve been trying so hard to understand becomes just another great unknown—what would you do? Give it? Not in a million years. Quell that hammering heart and understand what the answer was, that is the only way.

I think it was when I finally realized that there was nothing special about it, that entropy was just something that all things have to endure—to wither and die was, essentially, the whole purpose of life in the first place. We are born with this strange idea that it is never going to be us, we aren’t going to be the ones that pass. We laugh, love and prance through our lives with the belief that we cannot be killed: that we are in a way, immortal. This mindset is most common in the young and causes them to act out, to perform otherwise hazardous activities that jeopardize their lives. Blatant denial of mortality.
There was nothing to fear, not really. There was never any steps I took to overcome knowing this, because I continue to know it and cannot ever stop.

Existence is a terrible, wonderful disaster. Lives come and go, there are people that make a constant impression on you… and there are people that leave you far too soon. We can endure it happily, experience all the good moments along with the bad, and as long as we keep a fond understanding that one day we are going to die; there’s nothing to fear. I used to think that the saying, “Live each day like your last” was the asinine and self-absorbed motto of the rich that could afford to do that—but saner minds have prevailed. I cherish the people I care for, I do no wrong that I do not wish done onto myself and I keep it close to my heart, the knowledge that I inherited by a chance moment.
I can’t say for certain if there is an after life, but I can almost certainly agree that it is nothing like what people have continued to assume for a millennia and a half. Whatever it is, if it does exist, it is so far beyond our range of comprehension I doubt we could even apply a proper name for it.
What I can say is that I am almost certain, all this talk of seeing the other side is nonsense: people are being tricked by the light.