* I was the student of the year in grade 10, a fact that I'm sure will amuse any of my post-secondary profs to no end. This was the second story I wrote in the whole end of the world series of stories.
He remembers when it all used to mean so much. He picks up a trophy it reads Student of the Year. He laughs and throws it down. It doesn't break. He goes to kick it but doesn't, it’s not worth it.
He remembers when he had love. She was beautiful and she was popular. She was all any guy could ask for, yet he didn’t love her. He didn’t even like her all that much. But it was what was expected of him. He thinks about calling her. He decides against it. It would be too much work.
He looks around his room one last time. His life is represented there, from the awards on the walls, the posters of his favourite music and movies. The pictures of his friends. He looks around and feels sad. He remembers when it all mattered. He shakes his head and leaves his room, and leaves his life.
The world is going to end. Now all the planning for his future, all the work to get a head matters for nothing. He planned too much and lived too little. He drives. It feels good to put distance between him and his life. Start again, he thinks; I’ll start again. So little time though. Matter of days, or is it down to minutes?
He would like to be in love. He would like something, he doesn't know what. He drives for what could be days. Could be hours. He arrives at another town.
Out of habit he checks his voice mail at the nearest payphone. His girlfriend has left a message, wanting to know where he is. Would he like some action the last night of history? Sex doesn't interest him. His girlfriend bores him. She one doesn't love him; he knows that. Like him she married into an idea of a love more than a love. It’s an image thing. Still he knows she likes his body. She likes her sex. None of it interested him.
This town is much the same as one he had just left. He finds that amusing, he doesn't know why. He enters a restaurant, it’s crowded, and the service is slow. Someone tells him that over half the servers have quit to enjoy their final days. He wonders why the other half bothered to show up. Someone has to pay the rent.
He has to take a table in smoking. He complains, preaches the danger of second hand smoke. The other patrons laugh at him. He is annoyed.
He orders a salad.
During his meal a man comes in giving away bibles. He takes one. Maybe he still can be saved.
He leaves and begins driving. He doesn't know where he’s going. He doesn't know what he’s looking for. He just goes. As he drives he thinks. He thinks dangerous and dark thoughts. He wishes revenge on all those who spited him. He thinks badly of all that have loved him.
He hates them all. They made him who he is, he’s not happy with who he is.
He goes faster and faster. Racing to find what he is searching for. The road is slippery. He loses control. As he sees the tree looming towards him he thinks that maybe it’s better this way.
When he wakes up, he is in pain. A broken leg. So he assumes. The car is a wreck. Totalled. He looks at his watch. Only three hours left till it all ends. He sits there. Time passes slowly. He begins to get cold. Finally he decides that he’s not going to find what he’s looking for in this world. He limps to the car and pulls out the bible and puts it in his pocket. Removes a pack of matches from the glove compartment and heads towards a clearing. He stops returns to the car and turns on the stereo. He puts in a C.D. REM’s Document. Turns to track six and hits repeat. He turns up the music as loud as it goes and begins to limp back towards the clearing. He gets there and collapses.
He lies there for a while, an hour he thinks. He finally gets up and begins to collect some leaves and twigs. Kindling. He tries to light them with the matches, nothing catches. The cold begins to become overly uncomfortable. He pulls out the bible, it ignites better. Placing it on the kindling the fire spreads to the leaves and twigs. Soon there is a fair amount of warmth coming from the fire. He is comfortable. He is alone.
Funny I finally understand this song.
Funny, he thinks,
I finally understand this song.
And the world ends...