I looked out my bedroom window; there was nothing but trees and snow. That’s all there ever was and that’s all there ever would be. I could feel what was about to happen, there was at least one day, possibly the next. After that I assumed there would be nothing.
That was the thing I understood the most. Everything began from nothing, from darkness, and everything will end from darkness, from nothing. It was a sad concept that I had learned to not think about; not too often at least.
In the beginning there was me. I was the first thing to ever be created. Soon, after many years, solar systems made themselves appear; but they weren’t like me. They didn’t think and feel. They were lifeless pieces of rock and gas. After the years, some of the planets became inhabited, all died out quickly, except one.
Earth is the only planet that could keep its life until the end.
There I was; looking out at a planet that would soon be destroyed. I would, once again, be the only thing left.
“Genevieve!” called my father from down the hall. I reluctantly tore my eyes from the window. There was nothing I wanted to do more than that view to be the last I see of this giant rock.
“Yes?” I answered him, walking closer to my door. My voice sounded broken and distant to me; I wondered if it sounded that way to my father.
I poked my head out of my doorway; he was standing in front of the banister opposite of me. His face was twisted with emotional pain. He understood what I had to do.
“Are you ready?” The catch in his voice made me want to jump on him the way I did when I was little. I would miss him.
“No, but I’m okay.” It was the truth. There was no being ready for what was about to happen.
“I’ve always wanted the best for you, you know?” My mother said as she stroked my cheek. “This wasn’t what I had planned.”
“Nobody planned this, Mama. Not even me.” Everything about this moment was heartbreaking. This was the last time I would ever see my parents and this Earth. It terrified the three of us.
“I want you to be safe,” my father joined. His face has gone from depressed to dying. Everyone was dying. They were all slowly suffocating. Except for me, I felt normal, physical wise.
“You know I won’t be, Papa.” I answered him. I looked at my parents and how their pale faces almost blended in with the snow. They were worried for me. I was worried for them.
A lump swelled in my throat. I had had many different human and other species families over the time I’ve spent on this planet; but this goodbye was different. There was no family to come after. I would be alone again. Just like the beginning.
I didn’t realize I had started to cry until my mother told me to save my tears.
“Remember,” I sobbed as my parents hugged me, “when I was little and I thought there were monsters in my closet?” They didn’t answer, but cried with me instead. “I was making that up so I could sleep in your bed; I knew there was nothing in my closet.” They laughed and held each other.
“We know, sweetheart,” my mother said after a little while. “We always knew. You tried too hard to be like everyone else.”
I stood there, looking at my parents while they cried to me and I cried to them. “I don’t want to go.” They did nothing but look at me. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry that I can’t help you!”
My father came up and gripped me tight. He smelled like damp clothing and pine needles. “You don’t have anything to be sorry about; Gen. This is all we need.”
“I don’t want to leave you! I don’t want to be the only thing left...”
My mother took a few steps forward. “No, no sweetheart. You’re not leaving us.”
I had had always known that this day would come, but not so soon. It was like the last billions of years had been condensed into one single moment.
This moment; where I could literally feel the earth beneath me dying and the oxygen getting sucked from the air. I could feel everything screaming in agony. I came to a conclusion at this moment, life is fleeting.
“Where was the point in it all?” I asked them. “I haven’t done a single thing to make this world better, yet I saw it being created. And now I’ll see it be destroyed.”
“You’ve done so much good,” my father disagreed as my mother hugged us. “You’ve given us a reason to live, Genny. You’re our baby.”
“I’ve been so many people’s baby before, though.” It was such a childish thing to say, but I believed that sometimes you had to be a child to get your ideas through. My parents laughed.
“You were always going to be our baby; you chose us, remember?” My mother giggled.
This was true, I had had chosen them. When I found a family I liked, I would take form of their child. I would go through everything with them, and I would remember all of it. It was a blessing, but one that always ended with a curse. I would always live and they would die.
“I hate life! It’s so unfair... It hurts... I don’t understand why I even chose this stupid planet!” I didn’t mean these things, but my mouth was speaking all of the things I kept inside. There was no need to sift through my thoughts when nobody would remember them the next day; nobody would be alive.
“You have to be brave,” my mother said and put her head on my father’s shoulder; he leaned into her. I was surprised. Through it all, my parents had stayed together despite all of the chaos I had thrust upon them.
“I’m not brave, I never was,” I responded glumly, now sounded like a bratty child.
“Try, at least,” returned my father. “That is the best thing anyone can do.”
They sounded painfully human. It was moments like these that reminded me that I was not one of them. I looked like them, I walked like them, I talked like them, but I was not one of them. I was something bigger and more powerful. I was what some humans may have called a god or deity. I was neither of these, but a sentient bunch of shape shifting matter.
I was an alien in disguise. There was no other way of seeing it. They were made to live on Earth and I was not; but, God, did I want to. There was so much to humans that I envied and tried to copy. They could feel and interact. They could fight and care. They were all the great and bad things this universe had to offer. They were the creators and destroyers of themselves.
They were beautiful, and I couldn’t save any of them.
“I’ll try,” I said. They let me go. I walked off into the woods. Their faces slowly becoming a corpse as fate sucked the soul out of each living thing.
It was terribly cold, just as I had imagined it would be. I had almost to none energy left. I was hungry, sad, and wanted to fall to the ground and cry while the world I had learned to love died. I couldn’t though. I had promised to be brave.
I kept walking through the snow, watching as all of the life around me disintegrated into nothing. There wasn’t anything more mournful than watching life being taken away. All around me there were corpses of animals and creatures not strong enough to go on.
I stopped to pet a small wolf cub, its dead mother beside it. I could see the pain in its eyes and decided it would not die alone. I picked up the pup and carried it with me through the woods. It whimpered and howled through the pain; my tears falling onto its grey coast. I felt so self-accusing, like I could have done something. A part off me knew that I couldn’t have done anything, but it didn’t make me feel any better.
I reached my destination, a small clearing in the woods, and looked down at the cub to celebrate.
Its tiny body lay in my arms, not one breath escaping its corpse. My knees buckled under me as I sobbed into the cub. It was so unfair that it had to die and that I had to live.
“I don’t understand!” I shouted out to nobody. “Why me, why is it always me?” I decided in that moment, that I wouldn’t curse my deepest enemies with the ability to live forever. It was too painful.
I lay the small wolf on the snowy ground and closed its eyes. I didn’t want his soul to see how everything would end.
I clenched by fists, a new found fire rose in my belly. How dare the universe curse this planet! It was killing innocent creatures, innocent souls!
“I will not stand for this,” I screamed into the sky. “This is MY planet! I’ll make sure nothing happens to it...” I stood, my steamy breath making clouds in the wind. Anger radiated off my body in waves of energy. I could do anything, hurt anything; heal anything. I was going to heal this planet.
“Gera ykkar eiga Hel (Become your own Hell).” –Old Norse
I remembered this when I was a young Viking boy. An old lady, who was believed to be sent by Odin himself to protect our village, had said this to me one day. It was the day my father was taking me on my first hunt, when I was about ten years old. I lived on cattle farm, just outside the main populated section of the town; it was small, but mighty. We were warriors, which I did not take much pride in but I pretended to for the times’ sake.
“Kunna gera yð hyggjia? (How do you mean)?” –Old Norse
The old lady did not reply, she simply smiled and hobbled off to watch her dogs chase a reindeer. I felt bad for the soul, it had done nothing wrong. I knew, however, that I would get in trouble for saying anything; it was good practice for the dogs.
I left for the hunt that day feeling very confused, annoyed even. Later on, as Norway became more modern, I gave the emotion an actual name: ergerlig (vexed). –Norwegian. I had stayed in Norway for many centuries, it was an interesting country; full of different twists, landscapes, and climates. Northern Canada was the closest place I could find that reminded me of it.
It was a Northern Canadian mountain that I was climbing as I slowly watched the oxygen being pulled from the planet I cared the most about. It was times like this when I remembered that moment, when that outlandish woman said things I never quite understood. I, the oldest thing in universe, didn’t understand a woman who was long dead. Humans were odd, and beautiful, and kind, and stupid, and smart, and I didn’t want their existence to be all for not.
“They are important!” My voice didn’t quaver; it was as strong and fierce as that cub’s would’ve been. I trudged through the snow, my feet making craters as I stomped earthquakes through the land. I was furious.
“They are the beauty! They are the ignorant! They are the mind! They are the ego! And I will not LET THEM DIE!”
The universe did not respond to my anger, which made me even more heated.
A silence fell over the forest. I guessed that everything wanted to die in peace. I knew that I would want to as well. My tears froze to my face, making my skin bleed. It didn’t sting; the feeling in my body had left with the cub.
I was trying to figure out how I could fix this planet. Would I use the powers of the universe to repair what had been done? It was a difficult decision, but one that I had to decide quickly.
I stopped again, breathing in the scent of pine. It was a perfume that I cherished and wished to save. There were many things I wished to save. The feel was freshly watered earth, the sound of a horse’s hooves, the elegant curve of a woman’s back, the deepness of a man’s voice, the shape of a dog’s tooth, and the bitter tartness of a raspberry pie. These were all things I loved and I would not let them go to waste.
“Sitter på en metalltråd
Svaiende sakte i vinden
Jeg blikket mot fugler flyr av
Åh, hvordan jeg ønsker å være fri
(Sitting on a wire
Swaying softly in the wind
I gaze towards birds flying by
Oh, how I wish to be free)” –Norwegian
I sang softly into the wind. I felt calm suddenly, as though a tranquil blanket at been lain over my mind. I had nothing to fear. There was nothing that could harm me. I had been through everything that I human could fear, I had broken every law, seen everything piece of land, discovered most countries. I was the most important being that this land had seen. Yet I felt a duty to protect it; as though it was more a part of me than I was part of it.
I lay on the ground then, gazing up at the grey sky as the atmosphere split into the world.
“I am the dreamer,” I say to myself, tears slipping silently down my cheeks. “I am the night sky, the dots in that sky, the planets and starts that create those dots. I am everything tame and peaceful. I am everything wild and chaotic. I am the creator.”
It was true, somewhere in the back of my mind I always had known. I had created those planets, making sure I was never lonely. I created life and then destroyed it to make everything perfect again and start anew. In my mind, I knew that this planet was dying because I wanted it to. It was my entire fault; everything that was happening, every single death that had ever happened. All the disease and carnage, it was something that I wanted.
I was, in a way, God. I was God. I was God. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear. Of course, there was no such thing as God, but I was some all powerful-being that could create and destroy anything it wanted. It was so sad and self-disintegrating that I wanted to die, to be exactly like a human and die. But if I died, then what God would I be?
“Yð màttr mega veiðr ávant (Your ability to hunt [is] lacking).” –Old Norse
My father said this to me when we were out on the hunt that day. Hunting in our town was very important, even the women knew how to hunt. If, at the time, you were not able to hunt you were not human and would be sent to Hel. I didn’t reply to my father. I was a very sarcastic child, and if I responded it would involve me not eating supper.
We stalked through the thick wood, quietly looking for reindeer. This was the bit I liked about hunting; the silent wait when everything was still. I always imagined that I sent out thoughts to the reindeer, telling them not to come our way. I also knew that my family needed to eat and that a reindeer would last us a week or two. My father had also been threatening to kill the dog that hung around me if we didn’t have food.
I loved that dog, and I didn’t want the poor thing to die; it only wanted a friend. So I went hunting with my father, hoping that we only caught a few reindeer, straying away from does and calves.
The wood was the same as it was when. Quiet and calm, like nothing was be disturbed; the only sound was the soft snow crunchy under my feet. I understood how life worked; I knew that all things died. Yet at this moment, I wanted that to stop. I wanted everything to live just a little longer, just long enough to see their world become beautiful again.
I stopped at a tree and leaned my head against it. Maybe I wanted everything to die. If I really had created this world, then maybe this was how I intended it to be. Tears iced down my cheeks. I felt useless. I was the most powerful being in the entire universe and I felt useless.
A quiet squeak broke through the silence. I looked up and saw a red squirrel looking at me from its branch.
“Hello, Mr Squirrel,” I said to it. I always knew the gendered-identity of every creature. He skittered and squeaked back to me. I had not given myself the ability to understand what animals or plants were saying. I remember myself deciding that so I would fit in more. In this moment I wished I had.
The squirrel ran up his tree, making snow fall onto my face.
“I am unwanted,” I said and started to walk again, my tears had stopped.
The one thing that I hated most about hunting was that I had to kill. It was something I had never liked doing, even if it was a necessity like it was here. I swore to myself that the reindeer looked at me dead in the eye after that arrow was shot at him. It was as though he was saying, “This is your fault.” I had had nightmares about him for over a month.
Possibly, at the end of the world, I would die. Maybe I would make myself non-exist like everything around me.
My courage left me and I stopped again; thinking about that reindeer.
“Det forbannet meg (It cursed me)” –Norwegian, I said.
“Sitter på en metalltråd
Svaiende sakte i vinden
Jeg blikket mot fugler flyr av
Åh, hvordan jeg ønsker å være fri
(Sitting on a wire
Swaying softly in the wind
I gaze towards birds flying by
Oh, how I wish to be free)” –Norwegian, I sang again; wishing that I had never hunted anything in my infinite life.
“Jeg er lonely mørket; alltid kald og alene. Jeg vil aldri føle elsker igjen, jeg vil aldri leve igje. Jeg til slutt; Jageren. Jeg er alt ondt og korrupte. (I am the lonely dark; forever cold and alone. I will never feel love again, I will never live again. I am the end; the destroyer. I am everything evil and corrupt.)” –Norwegian
I had lost all hope of saving anything. It was my fault. Everything that I had created I had made to die and become dust. Why had I done that? Why had I done that? There was no reason for me to; I had simply thought that nothing should live forever. Possibly even myself.
I got to thinking then, about ways I could make the odds even.
“I could... I could...” I had always thought that it was such a selfish thing to do, but I then understood what all of their thoughts were. It was to make everything fair; everything balanced and right again. “I could, I wanted to. I really could.”
There were so many thoughts thinking inside my head that it was difficult to hear all of them. There were ways that I could have been wrong, but I was not thinking clearly. This had to be done, and it had to be done right.
“No pain,” I whispered to myself.
I knew that I was lying to myself. There would always be pain; there was pain everywhere. I was also lying to myself about who I was.
“There’s no way I could be,” my voice shook like an earthquake. It was actually very probable that it was true. The thought that I was thinking at this moment was that I could possibly be everyone. I had lived long enough, and when I ‘died’ I never knew when I was going to wake up as. It was a thought that I had been thinking for a while. It had always been worrying me, that I was possibly hiding myself from myself.
How cold people die then? This was something I never understood. I ‘died’ in a way. After I had lived long enough, I ‘died’ and was born as whatever I wanted to be.
“Alt er midlertidig (Everything is temporary).” –Norwegian, I sighed stood outside the gates. There was a garden behind these gates. That garden led to a large home; it was even larger than my own at that time.
I lifted my hand to open the gates when I stopped. There was something whistling softly in the wind. It sounded like a piano. I became very puzzled then. There was no way that somebody had lasted long enough through the pain to play the piano.
I finally pushed the gates open, the snow covered black metal squeaking into the air. It was eerie in the garden, almost like it was filled with ghosts. “I suppose it is,” I corrected. The ground canvassed in snow, was soft and sank under my boots. The feeling that this place gave me was the same as if you walked through a graveyard at night. You could feel all of the sadness and pain coming from one small simple area.
It felt like a sin, though I wasn’t sure if I could commit sins.
I stopped at the front door, desperate to knock, but I checked myself. My mind told me to not let the person behind that piano stop. It told me that if I did I would go insane. I decided that once in my everlasting life I was going to listen to myself.
I opened the door silently, making sure not to disrupt the music. It was soft and sad, filling me with deep nostalgia for those days when I was a musician. I longed for them, but knew that that time of me was over.
My feet floated across the dark wooden floors, soaking in the music in the air and the art on the walls. I finally walked into the room with the piano. It was a library, a place that I felt the most comfortable in.
At the piano was a boy. He looked maybe seventeen, Egyptian descent with short black hair. His eyes stood out as a pale blue. Something told me that it was unnatural for his family; something also told me that one parent wasn’t supposed to be his.
I suddenly became aware that the music had stopped. The boy was staring at me.
He said nothing, just looked at me.
“Hi,” I said awkwardly and waved my hand a little. I had never been good at interacting with humans. They were so complicated. “I’m Genevieve.”
“I’m Lapis,” he answered in a flat tone.
“Like the gemstone?” I wondered out loud. I had gotten so used to talking outside of my head. My cheeks heated for not any particular reason. He was an attractive young man, with sharp features and a kind face. He had a small scar above his right eye.
“Something like that,” he replied with a little more emotion. It might have been irritation. “Why are you in my house?” This was defiantly irritation.
“I heard your music.”
Lapis didn’t further his answer, just stared at the black grand piano in front of him.
“You play beautifully,” I said softly, slowly moving towards him.
“Thanks,” Lapis said, glaring at me. He didn’t seem comfortable in my presence; I never quite did understand personal space. “What do you want?”
“I’m here to die,” I wanted him to understand. There was no reason to hide the truth; he was going to die anyways.
Lapis stood and looked at me. There was no emotion on his face; he looked for any in mine. Suddenly I could see the click in his brain. It was like a light-switch.
“So have I?” He said it like a question, like he wasn’t sure if that was the right answer.
“Does it hurt?”
“Yeah, it does,” Lapis’ brow furrowed, he became very confused. “Doesn’t it for you?”
“No, I don’t need oxygen to live. Or food, or water, or anything humans need really. I have no human feeling actually, just the mimics of them.”
Lapis didn’t answer at first but then said, “I’ve already died and this is my eternal Hell. Not what I expected.”
The room became stiff, like the whole house had paused to take a breath while talking. Nobody was speaking though, it was just Lapis and I looking at the floor; trying to figure out what everything meant.
“So you don’t feel anything human?” His voice was scared, but in a curious way. “No humanity at all?”
“I don’t feel anything other than what my body, my human vessel I guess, tells me to feel. It’s like when somebody asks you to smile for a picture but all you really want is to slap the camera.”
“You said you’ve come to die.” This wasn’t said like a question.
“Yes. Would you like to do it together?”
“I don’t even know you...”
“You’re going to die anyways, either in total agony or a peaceful suicide; your choice.”
Lapis, I could tell, was scared. He reminded me of the reindeer. The fear and anger in his eyes, like he wasn’t supposed to be like anything at all.
Finally, he said his answer.
“So you’re, like, Jesus; God by association?” Lapis asked. His voice was scratchy. I could see tears on the brims of his eyes. The pain, I guessed, must have been excruciating.
“If you believe in that sort of thing,” I answered calmly and trudged through more snow. It had gotten colder and dark outside, the moon was started to poke out the horizon. Lapis and I stared at the sky. It was the most beautiful thing.
I could see every tear in the atmosphere, every shred falling off. The light made it looked as though it were made out of colours.
“I’m an acsomist,” he replied quietly with certainty. “At least since I’ve met you, you’ve changed everything I’ve believed in. Not like I did in the first place, but, whatever. It’s stupid.” His voice dropped off into nothing.
I could hear the melancholy in each of his words. There was no way to describe it other than he composed his voice like the Earth itself. I wondered if I sounded like him when I talked.
I guessed by the way that his mouth twitched and by the way his shoulders shook that I shouldn’t say anything. There was a small agreement that we had made unconsciously, we wanted everything to be strictly business. I didn’t like this agreement. I thought that since the world was dying that we should tell out most held secrets to the universe. Lapis did not agree with this.
“Did you know- Did you know that we were going to die?” Lapis breathed. My face turned from beautiful sky to the snowy ground. I had known, I had known for a while.
“I’ve known for about a year,” I answered softly, trying to sound calm. “It wasn’t until about a month ago until I knew for sure when.”
“You didn’t tell anybody?” Lapis’ voice was filling with anger.
“Do you really think that anyone would believe me?” I replied before he could get mad. This seemed to cool him down.
I stared at his face. His nose hooked out in a beak-y way, yet it somehow made his face look more appealing. His eyes, once again, stood out to me. They looked like the sky just when it rained; a little grey and a little blue.
I knew those eyes.
“Your father was Norwegian, wasn’t he?” My body filled with both panic and excitement. I had had many families in Norway, having many offspring. There was a large change that Lapis and I were related; it was a possibility that this was the reason he had survived for so long.
Lapis looked at me with a look of confusion and concern. His eyes pierced through me to look at my darkened soul. I was nothing but the universe in all its immense space. There was no time in me, no infinity either.
“I never knew my father, but yes, he was Norwegian. Why do you ask?” His voice was low yet curious. I didn’t answer.
“Your eyes,” I said, he looked at my face, his sky irises searching for any lies. Lapis sighed.
“Yeah, my eyes; my family hates them, says they’re unnatural.”
“I think they’re beautiful. They are the colour of the sky and the sea combining. I would be proud of them if I were you. It is a symbol of a proud culture.”
I saw where we were heading up ahead; a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Lapis gazed at me softly, tears in his eyes. There was a deep and old sadness to the way he stared. It reminded of the days when my families died. Thousands, millions even, of them, are starring at me like I had wronged them.
I felt a pain in my chest. It was a feeling unknown to me.
“Are you ready?” I asked Lapis. He smirked wistfully.
“No. Should I be?”
We reached the edge, toes just hanging in mid air.
The forest was still and silent; being respectful to what was about to occur.
Lapis turned to me and kissed my forehead. I understood what it meant, Thank you. He held my and turned in front me to view my face.
I felt tears stream down my face. I had dreaded this day to come for a long time, but I had never imagined it would be as sorrowful as it was. This boy in front of me was one of, or even, the last living human there would be in the entire universe.
I pulled Lapis close before we drifted off the edge. The air was cool on the way down; soon followed the darkness and the feeling of nothing.
I looked out. There was nothing but the vast starriness of space. No, I wanted to scream, but I soon discovered there was no mouth to scream from.
There was no way out. I would be forever alone and forever living.