The End of the World and the Song that She Sang

It was coming. Just a few more minutes. She sat in the shadows, hands folded in anticipation. It would come. It always came. The only constant. But all was constant. A silence. A ceaseless silence. She sat still, a stone among forgotten seas, her eyes finely tuned to the dark as she held the piece of chalk ready.

A pin prick of light pierced the darkness from a crack in the boarded up window. She waited patiently as the shaft widened. Slowly, steadily, illuminating the infinite dance of particles along its course. Now! She thought.

She scurried around to the tiny yellow dot, marked its beginning in thick blue chalk on the wood floor. It had moved to the left, just slightly, and up from yesterday. An inch longer and the snow would start to fall, she guessed. She allowed her hand to flit in and out of the dun beam as she studied the history of light across the floor. Her throat gurgled and hummed, the incessant tune that played across her memory, the words now long forgotten. She had her own up on the walls (stripped of paint, of presence):

Glog allglon and yesterydom

A hearten bleeting from

Donaskme donbetraneme

And a while gone…

She gave herself a minute of rest, drinking in the echoes of voices from the past, every measured second sacred. The earth spun the light forward. No more rest. Work now. She turned toward the wall. Her hands felt along the slats with practiced grace. Her fingertips found the seam, slid the door open. A crisp stream, the morning breath. Winter came, so sayeth the light.

The metal rails of the fire escape bit at her fingers as her tiny figure skittered up the side of the building. Please be green. Please. Please. Nothing but red for days. Days. Weeks. Days. Just a peek at first. She drew herself up, eyes warily eying the radio antenna, its thousand arms scratching at the sky. And the bleating red light.

She stole her grace.

“Evangelier. Evangelier, calling 1… 2… 3… Evangelier. Port St. New York to Universe, please respond.”

She rolled over to the next air wave.

“Evangelier. Evangelier, calling 1… 2… 3… Evangelier. Port St. New York to Universe, please respond.”

The red light responded, blinking. “None on line.” Her fingers rolled through the channels finding only emptiness. Maybe they were all really dead. Wouldn’t be the first time. An accident of birth stranded her to this Earth. It she had survived less, lost more. Nothing left to lose now. The knob reached the end of its tuning.

“Well, Kefir? No one home today. Maybe tomorrow.” She said to no one in particular. But her hands kept moving busily across the controls. She sensed a movement behind her. No one home, no one home! A crack like a branch snapping beneath feet, but she knew no feet. No feet stepped except her own. She buried the dead, feet and all, every last one. Sometimes gave them names, but moving things could not have names unless…

One hand crept towards the dagger on her waist while the other swept across the controls, pretending to have jobs. She heard the footsteps, closer now. A glint of movement reflected in the metal consol. She spun around, her knife catching under the intruder’s chin. Her eyes widened.

“I heard you singing…” he whispered, hands raised toward the sky. “I… I… Heard… I heard… you… you were there… singing. I…” His voice faded into incoherent mumblings. Eyes wild, unfocused, scanning every inch of her as if not understanding how he came here.

The knife clanged to the ground.

“Do you remember it?” she said.

“Sing… Sing… I heard… followed you… I… ‘A while gone…'” he managed, the tune squealing out of unused lungs.

“‘A while gone, arnd arms brong me two hoam,'” her voice wheezed.

He smiled, his eyes returning to hers.

“I told you I’d find you, Eva.”