World's End

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two women sit in a pub, the last survivers drinking to the end of the world.

"Thanks for nothing," she threw the pencil across the bar where it landed with a clatter and skidded a little across the frosted floor.

"I don't know why you're bothering with it in the first place, it's not like anyone's going to see it. You're not going to make history with it," the barmaid sighed as she watched the pencil slide along the floor.

"It just helps me, I'm scared. It's all ending," she adjusted her scarves, it was unseasonably cold.

"Oh hey, I recognise you now," the barmaid snapped her fingers. "You're that Politian woman, Gibson, or something."

"Gibbs, Phyllis Gibbs," she extended a hand with a half attempt at what she thought to be her 'winning smile'. "Have you got another of those whiskeys, it's getting a lot colder."

The barmaid ignored her hand and turned to the mulled winemaker that she'd converted to a hot whiskey maker for her only patron of the day, most likely her last patron.

Outside the December day was drawing to a lackluster end. The Christmas lights that should have been lighting the coming evening into something bright and cheery to combat the dreariness of the month were hanging dead and useless. The giant tree in the square drooped down, almost like it'd finished a hard day and was making the slow trudge home to bed. The shop fronts were dark, many windows smashed the contents of each store long since taken and nowhere in the town was there a sign of life, apart from the one pub with the boarded-up windows. The World's End contained the two last souls in a town buried beneath ice and frost.

"I tried to do something! I tried! Damnit I did all I could!" Phyllis slammed her hand down on the table. "If only they'd stopped hoarding! If only they had listened to us! I tried to help them!" Her anguished cries echoed around the pub turned ice cavern.

"What good would it have done anyway?" The barmaid handed over a small glass of whiskey. "we're all doomed to die, so what would be the point of us hanging on for longer?"

Phyllis didn't have an answer to that. One hand moved to her thick curling hair, the other traced the patterns of frost on the bar. She really thought that somehow, someway it would all turn out alright. NASA, the Chinese, the Russians one of them was bound to have found an answer. Indeed one of these space projects did attempt to send people into space to get away somewhere safe. A rather misguided and short-sighted thought. Somewhere in space was floating an extremely expensive tin can manned by ghosts, if they hadn't decided to suck themselves into the vacuum of space before they died of hunger. Indeed, there really wasn't anything Phyllis could have done, but she'd survived this long so we should at least give her credit for that.

"Look, let's start again," the barmaid offered. "You're not who I would have voted for, but what does it matter. You're here, I'm here. There's no one else asides from the two of us, so we may as well have a good ending. I'm Devon, by the way, thanks for asking, five whiskeys in and not a single thank you."

Phyllis sniffed and clutched tight at her latest whiskey, trying to get some warmth into fingers she was sure were blackened by frostbite. "What was it about my policies you didn't like?"

"It doesn't matter!" Devon gave an exasperated cry. "If you're planning an election for the afterlife then at least wait until you're dead."

 

Phyllis gave another sniff. "Thank you. For the whiskey," she said at last.

"You're welcome. What is this all about anyway? This end of the world thing?"

The rumours had been varied, but most linked back to religion. The rapture here at last. Punishment from whichever god. It had packed out the various places of worship but in the end, it had been as useless an idea as Phyliss's one of some space program saving them.

"A virus, some kind of crazy space virus. The sun got infected and now it's dying."

Both women stayed silent for a bit, their breaths frosting in the air, their lips turning blue and decorated with ice crystals as the sunset for the final time taking with it what little warmth remained.

"I don't actually work here," Devon admitted. "Just thought maybe I could go out with a bang for the last day."

"Oh," Phyllis looked at the crisped paper she'd been writing on where she's commended the girl's efforts of keeping her business running throughout the apocalypse. "I'm sorry," she tried hard to stifle the yawn that threatened to slip out over her lips.

"It's ok," a heavy tiredness was slowly blanketing Devon as well.

"It's getting so much colder, I'm getting so tired. I'm scared," Phyllis lowered her head on the bar. The brown of the wood now hidden under a covering of blue and white.

Reaching out Devon took the other woman's hand, there was no point in words anymore. Gloved hand in gloved hand she lay her head down on the bar, too her loose black curls mixing with the tighter, frizzier brown curls.

The sun went out.

?


Submitted: July 09, 2020

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