The Beginning of the End
June 24. 2013.
New York. At its onset, a normal day. A monday. People waking up early in the morning, regretting letting the weekend pass. People spilling out onto the streets, into cars, busses, bicycles or on the sidewalks. People going to work, ditching school, buying things, stuck in traffic. Elsewhere, people starving, fighting wars or sleeping soundly. People living, loving, dying. 7 billion of them. Fates beyond counting. Joy and pain beyond measure.
9:00 PM, GMT -4.
Fifty individuals gather on the top of the Chanin building. Civil attire all, lest not to attract more attention than necessary, although many sport the sigil of their order proudly on their chest in occasion of the day. A star, in gold or silver and a black disk within it. From pockets, bags and sleeves they produce odd items and trinkets; Ash, bone, rusted scrap metal and other such. They quietly put them together, assemble something with clamps and nails. As long as it holds together. The end result crudely resembles a pyramid shape, looks like bad art, built just to shock or confound. Many of them nod, or smile, exchange a couple of hushed, meaningful words.
This time is not chosen arbitrarily. Perhaps significant in some other number and time systems, a hundred universes ago. Who could know. The Master, highest of their order is nervous, sweating. He knows that if he fails at his duty, it will be centuries before the ritual can be enacted, and the next universe to come will undoubtedly suffer for it. He gives the signal. Thirty of them plunge knives into their wrists. Some simple, crude, even a swiss knife and one for filleting meat. Others elaborate, no doubt made for this occasion. They plunge themselves upon the crude figure, cut themselves until they can barely move their arms, slather it in blood. The amount was arbitrarily chosen, rounded up. Cannot have too much. The security guard they killed on their way up is lastly poured onto the figure, drained, emptied. The Master recites the words he has trained for his entire life. Ancient, odd words, not meant for the human tongue. He rasps and coughs and finishes. A beat passes, a momentary silence.
7 billion people die.
Something like a bolt of lightning shoots out from the figure, strikes the sky. It turns red, clouds rapidly gather and swirl together in a spiral, dark at the center of it. It blots out the sun and the moon. Eighteen of them watch with delight or horror and die. Most humans barely manage to register the change before something easily rips the life out of them. A million stars are extinguished within the first few moments, simply gone. The world ends. Or close enough. Only a handful, ten or twenty maybe, falls asleep instead.
There’s an eerie darkness there, inside their heads. It feels like a dream, except it is completely featureless, no imagined landscapes or people, no nothing. Alone with ones own thought in complete black.
And then it speaks. Its voice is deep, every word trembles like a note on a bass. The sound seems to come from far away, but from no direction. The words differ, it knows each one of them well, how to push their buttons, but the message is the same: A gratulation, an explanation, an invitation.
“Rejoice. You are one of the lucky few, one out of a billion. Chosen, by yourself, to live. My sincerest congratulations are in order. Let me explain: The cycle of your universe is nearing it’s end, as so many have before it. The world as you knew it is already gone. A ritual was triggered to bring about this end, so as to restart the cycle, a new universe born on the ashes of the old. You, held alive by the burning of your ravaged soul, can be the one to create it. I know you have a grand vision for it, one like no other!
Realize this: Reality was always subjective, malleable. It was only the will it’s creator and the lives within it that gave it form, consistency. These shackles have been lifted. Let your soul cry out and reality shall bend to your will. Once there is no matter, no energy left and no other living beings, your power will be absolute, you will be able to create the next universe. The first will take care of itself, all that is, is fading, becoming nothing. But the others, the rest of those that live, you will have to deal with yourself. Perhaps you can convince them that your vision is righteous and true, unite all in shared belief. Or break their passion and bend them to yours. Or kill them with the power you now possess. It is up to you. I anxiously await to see you clash and burn and birth a new world.”
As by a switch, consciousness snaps back on. The sight of thousands of bloodless corpses, bathed in red light is the first thing to meet their eyes.
Dean & Carrie: Top of the Chanin building
24 hours later
Dean felt sick. He had grabbed an office chair and dragged it out in front of a window. Looking straight ahead, never straying, everything looked almost normal. As long as one ignored red lighting applied to everything, and the instance of some windows spontaneously bursting, the shards floating into the sky some twenty minutes ago. Still better than looking to the side, where office workers lay strung out on the floor, looks of frozen terror on their faces. Still, the smell was enough to remind him of their existence. With regular intervals his stomach heaved, trying to throw up something that was not there. Dean did not look forward to eventually having to eat again, no matter how hungry he actually were.
Carrie’s voice buzzed over the walkie-talkie he had made.
“It’s time. Come up.”
She sounded calm and collected as usual, no different from before the calamity. It was beyond Dean to figure out how she managed it. He grabbed the walkie and began walking towards the stairs at the other end of the room, keeping his vision at the ceiling, only to almost trip over a body. Almost dragging himself up the staircase, he arrived on the roof to see Carrie standing on the edge, scouting out over the city. Looking so out-of-place normal; black skirt, dress shirt, a couple of wrinkles on her face and a concentrated expression. 31 bloody bodies, 18 clean littered around her and she just stood there. Of course, he was no different. Just some young dude with blonde hair, neat clothes and blood on his shoes. There was a wicked wind up there at least, keeping the air fresh and closer to odorless.
“Right. So what is the plan?” Dean said, mostly managing to keep his voice from shaking. He felt weak, physically too, the hunger not doing him any favors.
“We go into the city. If anybody wanted to come for us, they would have done so by now. So we go on the offensive.” she replied, matter of factly.
“Uh, right, makes sense... How do we find them, then?” Dean said, while his mind raced. The thoughts that he had spent hours to calm were starting up again. Hunting down the other survivors and killing them in cold blood. Could he even get himself to do that? “Big city, few people.”
“Like us, some of them should be wanting to be found, to meet. No one gains anything from hiding. We’ll send them a signal.” she said with no emotion, immediately following up by thrusting a hand towards the Chrysler building just across from them. The sky reacted, the swirling mass of clouds reaching down over it, something like the sound of thunder coming from it. Dean could but watch, mouth open. In moments, the cloud had covered the building, then retracted, leaving nothing in its wake, the building seemingly swallowed up.
“You... You think that will bring them to us?” Dean said, trying his best to sound unaffected. He knew he would rather run from something like that.
“If they’re running scared, finding them will be harder, but killing them will be easier. I suggest you arm yourself.” Carrie replied, again coldly, yet with a slight flinch at the mention of killing. It was unlikely she had ever killed anyone either, Dean figured, finally able to emphasize. She put up a tough front but there was no way she could be as calm about the situation as she seemed, right?
“Oh, yes, ‘ll get on it.” Dean pushed the distracting thought out of his head. At least this he could focus on, to the exclusion of all else. He set his arms out in front of him, a little space apart and closed his eyes. The FN P90 firearm was the first thing to pop into his mind, good as any. He had read about it in a magazine once, it ought to be possible. Envisioning it strongly, focusing on its image, turning it around in his head. Taking it apart, trying to guess at how it looked internally. No more than a guess had been necessary with the walkie. A brief flash in his inner eye, of people working in a factory, building and assembling every part and screw. It was something humans had made. Opening his eyes, he could see gears and metal working their way out of his arms, almost swimming through the skin and out in the air, assembling themselves in front of him. Whirring and clicks as it began to resemble the one in his mind. Last, he impatiently ripped the magazine out of his hand and caught the gun right as gravity kicked in. Looking up, he could see Carrie was watching him, their eyes meeting for a second.
“Good enough?” Dean asked, smiling. He could not deny this felt good, creating something and feeling its heft in his hands. “Take the elevator down?”
“No, we’ve wasted enough time.” Carrie replied and looked away, again with the hard-ass attitude. “I’ll get us down.”
“Uhm, okay.” He couldn’t quite figure out what she was planning, poised almost to jump as she were. She seemed to prepare something. He gave a last, sorrowful glance to the corpses around them. One of the unbloodied bodies on the floor, a young women. Isabella, one of his best friends in the Rebuilders. She had been just like him, in way over her head. You could see on her face that she had not wished for the end. Dean’s thoughts interrupted by the flash of something black from Carrie’s back. A moment later and he was standing on an completely empty lot, except from the figure they had used to destroy the world, still bathed in blood. Momentarily confused, Dean could not figure out what he had just been thinking about. He could swear there had just been a name in his mind but he could not recall it. Carrie was the only one he knew who had been at the ritual. He pushed it out, enough on his mind already. They both walked out from the lot and into the city, Carrie stopping for a moment to look back. The sign designating the huge, empty space as “Chanin building” was still there. She had to suppress a smile. A way for her to manage Dean had occurred to her.
Last edited by Vegedus
on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:09 pm, edited 8 times in total.