THE LAST STORY

                         Jack William Finley

     The survivors were huddled around a fire, glowing bright in the darkness. Who they were doesn’t matter. What they looked like doesn’t matter. They were the last and there was no one left to tell, the last in the entire universe.

     There was one among them who stood out, as young as the seed of a flower that will never bloom and as old as time itself. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. These eyes were the windows to the history of the universe.

      “Who are you,” one of the survivors asked?

      “What can I tell you that you will understand? I have more names than there are grains of sand in the deserts and drops of water in the seas. I am everything and nothing. I am the one who closes the door and turns out the lights when everything is over. If you must call me something, it might as well be God.”

     ” Then you can save us,” someone said.

      God looked at them with eyes that were tired and maybe a little sad. But mostly, just tired. So many pleas from so many people over the long eons, so many people begging for things they could have just given themselves if they’d  just put a little time and effort into it instead of pleading endlessly to the heavens. Soon it would all be over and a part of him was glad.

     ” I’m sorry. I really am. As with most of your race you lived your life as if you would go on forever. There is no forever. This is the end.”

      The fire burned a little dimmer. The light closed in and they crowded closer, fearful of the coming darkness. “You should have lived while you had the chance. Now this is all that is left. The fire is dying and soon it to will be gone and then…”

      “Nothing?”

      “No. Not even that.”

      Fear gripped one of the survivors with its’ icy fingers and he started to babble. “No. This isn’t happening. This isn’t  real. This can’t be happening. I don’t except it. I won’t. No, no, no, no, no, No!”

     God waved a hand in his direction and said, ” sleep.” And he did.

      The other survivors looked up at him. Hoping he might save them , hoping it was so cruel joke, hoping.

     “Why us? Why now?”

     God laughed. It was a good-natured laugh. “Why not you? Why not now? Your people lived as if every question in the universe had an answer, and you had some right to know what that answer was. Life is a journey, not a destination. All journeys have an end, but not all get where they’re going. Some just stop. Time is like that. And now it’s going to stop. If I could make you understand I would, but I’m not what you think I am. The Truth is, if you can’t find an answer to the really important questions inside yourself, then there probably isn’t one, at least not one that matters. Your own hearts are the only gods that really matter. I’m sorry you never learned that.”
 
     Fear seized one of the survivors and she bolted, running from the fire, from the truth. When she reached the edge of the light she ceased to exist, and the fire shrank in a little closer. One of the survivors chuckled.
      “Well I guess this is it then. Not what I expected.”

     ” And what did you expect,” God asked them.

     They all sat in silence. They expected forever. Most of them didn’t even really know what that meant. All they knew was they hadn’t expected it all to end. They certainly hadn’t expected to be there when it did.
 
     The fire grew smaller. It was a strange kind of fear that came over the last living creatures in the universe. Terrifying and yet some how calm. They feared the unknown but they accepted it, mostly because there was nothing else they could do. They
couldn’t run away. There was no away to run to. They knew they didn’t want this, but what did they want, another day, another year? Did they want to do it all over again. Would they do it any better if they did, probably not. It would all just end the same any way. One day it would just end. Better to get it over with. In the end it was really very          simple, either you got it right or you didn’t, because in the end there are no second chances there is only life.

     You get it right or you don’t. Apparently that was the meaning of it all. So the universe ends as it began, with fear of the unknown and a struggle to understand. The people still asked, ‘what next?’ but this time the universe didn’t answer. The universe just winked and went to sleep.

     The fire turned to embers, the embers to ash and God asked no one in particular, ” who’s’ fuckin’ Jets cap is this? And then

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