A Thousand Days of Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
There is a book that predicts the end of the world.

Submitted: August 11, 2012

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Submitted: August 11, 2012

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There is a book that predicts the end of the world.

This in and of itself is not unusual. Most respectable formal religions have their own ideas on how the world will end: Ragnarok; Qayamat; Kali Yuga; the Apocalypse; and in the case of science, Entropy. This isn't counting the many unorganised religions, who have similar but oddly specific ideas about exactly where Mrs. Brewster from Down The Road is going to Burn For Eternity for What She Said About Our Neville. But while the exact means differ in the number of serpents involved, or the exact temperature of the flames that will scour the universe clean, or how long Mrs. Brewster's damnation will be, they all agree that if there was a beginning, there must, by definition, be an end. What would be the point of an infinite universe? Bloody useless. Nothing would get done!

Well, except for those funny religions that blather on about eternal cycles and karma, but one doesn't speak of them. They wear funny robes and chant weird things. Much different to the things we chant, or the robes we wear, oh yes!

And in cultures where the written word has become important (for example, to count how many of Those Thieving Buggers are Stealing From The Hat, or How Many Villages Were Pillaged in The Name of Our God), these beliefs have been written down for posterity. Often, they have been told, and retold, for so long that they have become slightly garbled. And then the poets and playwrights get at it, and interpret and dramatise it to portray humanitys many foibles. Worse still is the fate of a text that has been taken literally. A metaphor is a wonderful thing, a fact that is lost on the more stubborn of worshippers. So by the end, a good apocalypse myth ends up as a pale shadow of its former glory. The printing press has made the situation even worse - now any mad raver can put pen to paper and have it enter the New York Times bestsellers list.

By total coincidence, this book has appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. It never got more than 32nd place, but this is still a respectable number. It was also included in the fiction section, a fact that its author happily glossed over.

It was called "A Thousand Days of Night", and it was written by Meredith Honeysuckle. Or at least, a person calling herself Meredith Honeysuckle.

It is a pervasive myth that people with sickly sweet names that go on the cover of romance novels, such as "Sarah Gold" or "Hyacinth Rosebud" are usually written by overweight men from manchester. By another total coincidence, the author of "A Thousand Days of Night" actually is named Meredith Honeysuckle, and also happens to be from Manchester. But she is a twenty nine year old woman, fairly attractive by 21st century western norms, and is quite excited that her first published novel has appeared on a list with a number of other books that she has never, and will never, read. She is also quite unaware that her book contains a prophecy of the End Times. As far as she is concerned, she has just penned a remarkable novel exploring the romantic relationship between a femalearistocatic British archaeology student and an Immortal Pharaoh as they elude dangerous men in the Egyptian desert. She is quite optimistic about her chances of it overtaking a certain other genre of book, and has already started a marketing campaign in her head about Archaeologist/Mummy romance genre publishing.

If someone pointed out to her that her novel also included a bit where, confused, lost and dehydrated, her characters hallucinate about the end of the world, she would airily dismiss it with "oh, I just put that in to pad it out a bit," or, "yes, I saw something like it on telly once."

If you told her it was going to come true, she would laugh at you.

The broad details of the novel are, it must be said, rather hokey, and probably easily predicted. There is a lot of angst and fawning and the prose is so purple it would make a certain dinosaur ashamed. But the prophecy contained therein is, roughly, this:

The Fire shall rain from the sky, but though the World will end, Eight Heroes shall rise. The Prince shall take his place upon the throne with the aid of the Knight, to the lament of all. The Page and the Rogue shall breed revolt, while the Seer and the Thief shall foster the New Beginning. And The Witch shall seek the Heir, through the fire and flames, who will Rise and Fall and Rise again. The Four shall ride out, the Great Serpent will blaze forth, and two kingdoms will be brought to ruin.

There were quite a lot more squirrels in it than one would expect for the end of the world, but then, nobody ever seemed to get the details exactly right, did they?

Exactly how the true prophecy of the end of the world ended up in a tawdry romance novel will probably remain a mystery, except to those people who shrug and mutter "(the) God(s) move in mysterious ways". And they certainly do. But even they would have been surprised at how popular the book was doing, and might have asked for a share in the royalties (converted into blood sacrifice obviously, preferably virgins, though virgin whats would be left up to her). But the mind of a Seer is a strange things - images can flash through the dreams, whispers of things to come, but outright messages can totally escape their notice. And whatever gods were up there, if they were paying her any attention at all, had probably long given up hope of being heard above the dull drone of gossip, small obsessions, and "oh my gosh is he looking at me he's looking at me yessssss". Ephemera, dull and boring to the mind of a god.

But a small voice in the back of her head nevertheless whispered, "Let them remember."

And, unknowingly, she did.


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