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Science Fiction Speculative

“.......Look, to say that for destruction there is no beauty would be a shortsighted tragedy.”

“…”

“Look, is there not some level of beauty in this? For you and I to be able to witness the end together?”

“…what the hell you talkin about..?”

“Pardon me?”

“WE ARE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE! WHAT PART of that do you NOT UNDERSTAND?”

“Calm yourself. Just breathe. Everything will be fine, my friend.”

“… heh, WOW. wow…..”

“What?”

“everything will be FINE, huh? this. is. it. we are all that’s left now. if anything that there’s a, ‘shortsighted tragedy!’”

“… I will admit I could’ve been more careful with my choice of words… But, still, if this truly is the end, why not enjoy what’s still left?”

“there isn’t anything left. Or well, there won't be soon enough….”

“…I suppose so.”

“………god. what a miserable day.”

“Normally I would tell my kids that there’s always tomorrow but, I suppose that doesn’t apply to us anymore now does it!”

“…why are you trying so hard to cheer me up?”

“Hmm. Force of habit I guess. Not that it did me much good anyway.”

“….didn’t know you had a family. Kids..”

“Really? Sometimes it feels like they’re the only thing I talk about. Talk to myself at least... Is that weird?”

“not the weirdest thing about you.”

“..I appreciate it.”

“…what’re their names?”

“Fleur and Dina. Both 5. Fleur’s the older one. A few minutes only but nevertheless, they’ll never let go of it. Well, I suppose they don’t really have the chance to anymore….. It’s weird, trying to think of them in the past tense. It’s like they’re still here. Like I’m going to come home from work and eat a family dinner before tucking them into bed.”

“…..i’m sorry. they sound nice.”

“And here I thought you truly were heartless.”

“shut it.”

“…..Thank you, by the way.”

“‘course.”

“Well, how about you? Any family?”

“just my dad for the last few years. others passed a while ago.”

“Just the two of you?”

“Mhm… they were taken at the last passage. there was a fight. don’t remember what about. they were too distracted to realize they were going to miss the evac shuttle. too caught up in their shouting to realize they were going to die. serves them right.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“don’t be. they were terrible, all of them. about to be sucked into the looming abyss and still didn’t have the time to think of anyone but themselves.”

“Hmm. That’s just how it is I suppose. Humanity has always had an eye for hatred… Maybe if we hadn’t been so focused on fighting each other we could’ve found a way to survive, to move forward.”

“and now, it’s just us.”

“A shortsighted tragedy.”

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“... .. . ... .. .... .. .. .. .... . ......

“the hell was that?”

“Sounds like the engine broke. It must have been damaged during departure.”

“welp. not like we were going to last out here anyway. how’d you even figure that from a band and a thud? you an engineer or something?”

“Essentially, yes. My whole family was. We were responsible for maintaining the evacuation shuttles.”

“well that’s something. guess I have you to thank for letting us survive this long.”

“I appreciate it. At the end of the day I suppose it only delayed the end. It gave some lovely final memories with them, though.”

“huh.”

“It was the twins’ birthday a week ago. We knew the station was due to collapse soon but we wanted to just enjoy it when we could. We had a delicious freeze dried cake and gave some gifts. My partner and I didn’t have many ideas, not that there are many ideas for gifts anyway, but we just gave them some jewelry. A pair of bracelets, been in the family for generations. Made of pure silver.”

“hm. sounds nice.”

“Yeah. They’re gorgeous, my mother gave them to me when I was their age. The smile on their face when they opened their presents was magical. Its the happiest I’ve seen them in years. It’s just— god…. Why did this have to happen? I. I miss them.”

“…hey, hey stop it. it ain’t your fault. quit your crying.”

“…I’m sorry. But, I just can’t shake this- this feeling…. If just one thing had been different. If the void hadn’t come early, so early. If the twins woke up just a little bit faster. If they hadn’t forgotten the bracelets and begged to go back for them. If I’d had the strength to convince them to keep going and leave them, or maybe if I’d waited for them with my partner. Maybe if I hadn’t given them those horrible things at all, they’d still be here. I know that it’s not really my fault but it’s hard not to wonder…. I’m a horrible parent.”

“……ughh. look, I’m not the best at comforting people but, for what it’s worth, sounds to me like you were an alright parent.”

“…..”

“I never had that. yknow, parents who cared. they’d said they wanted me but afterwards it just sorta turned into resentment. the world was ending and I was just another thing they had to worry about. your kids were lucky to have you, parents who really loved them and gave them love and gifts and whatever. all I got was resentment and bitterness.”

“…”

“just try to let go. they didn’t wanna lose their bracelets and you didn’t wanna lose them. you did the best you could, and that is more than anyone could’ve asked for.”

“Thank you, truly.”

“course. yknow I wish I had what you had. that passion, that desire.”

“Ha. I wish I could have had your pragmatism. But yes, perhaps it’s time to let go. For both of us.”

“hm.”

“.... ... .. ... .... .. . .. …. . . .. ... . . ... .... ... . ... .. ... .”

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“Do you remember childhood, how our parents told us that we would get to watch the universe end? That we were already teetering off the edge of eternity? Living out the very end of humanity?”

“a little. remember being freaked out for sure. not exactly the best thing to say to a little kid, ‘you and everyone else is gonna die and you can’t do anything to stop it.’ if the abyss doesn’t swallow you whole, the collapse will get you in the end. makes everything seem kinda pointless yknow?”

“I suppose I can understand that. I just wanted to live as much as I could until the end came. I married knowing we wouldn’t even get to have our silver anniversary. We had the kids knowing they wouldn’t ever get to grow old. Maybe it’s selfish, but I just wanted to hold onto that dream for a moment.”

“…”

“It wasn’t easy of course, but, it helped me find some peace, a distraction from the impeding doom and all that.”

“heh, that sounds nice. I never really got that, peace. spent most of childhood locked up in my room cursing god for having to be born now, at the very end, never being able to really live my life knowing it’d all be destroyed anyway. resented my parents for bringing me about then be too distracted by anger to pay any attention to me.”

“Sounds like we’ve had very different lives.”

“but they’re both gonna end the exact same way.”

“Mhm… what do you think it’ll be like, the end?”

“hmm. always thought it’d be really cold if that makes sense. like it’d just be a brief terrible freeze and then bam. nothing.”

“Interesting. I imagined it would be hot. Like a fiery last inferno of existence, the grand finale of the universe.”

“sounds about right. very poetic aren’t you?”

“I try my best to be.”

“well, does this feel like a ‘fiery inferno to you?’”

“Doesn’t feel like a ‘terrible freeze either though, does it?”

“suppose not.”

“It’s weird isn’t it? This feeling. Not quite a restless anxiety, yet—“

“not really peace either.”

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“.. . .... .. .. ... .. ... .. ... . .. ... ... .... .... .... .. . .”

“Should be any minute now.”

“Indeed. Not long now, I suppose.”

“...thank you.”

“What for?”

“I dunno. for just talking I guess.”

“Well, I thank you as well. I just realized, I never got your name.”

“Aiysha.”

“Mada. It’s been an honor to see the end of eternity with you, Aiysha.”

“likewise…”

“Hm…”

“…..what the hell was— woah.”

“..……...”

“………..….”

“Are we dreaming?”

“who knows. Let’s just… enjoy the view.”

“...It’s beautiful.”

“….it really is.”

“….”

“…”

“..”

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“.. ...  .. .... ... ... ... . .. .

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February 25, 2023 03:17

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