The End is Nigh – Austin L. Wiggins

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The accountant’s desk was littered with loose-leaf paper and newspapers with red circles drawn in pen. The accountant himself had a newspaper held in his slender fingers and was reading it with a red permanent marker. He traced each line of the paper with the marker and highlighted a headline, “Another Attack on New York.” He leafed through the article and placed the newspaper down once he was done. He was at work after all, and even though he was a good accountant, the company wouldn’t keep him if he didn’t earn his pay.

As he worked he thought about his dream. He was alone surrounded by ash and soot and lifeless bodies were strewn about the floor covered in the thick blackness of the ash. He wandered the ashen plain hoping expecting to find signs of life. No human, no animal at all, stirred in this world. In his dream he knew he was the last man on Earth.

The accountant had deciphered the dream on his own and consulted mystics to confirm it, and each interpretation insisted the accountant’s vision was of the real end.

After work the accountant headed for downtown. He walked with his head low and only looked up to walk down an empty alleyway. It smelled of rats and mold. He kept his warning sign there, didn’t dare take it home to his wife or kids; they didn’t need to know the truth. The accountant marched along downtown with his sign “The End is Nigh” and only accomplished being made a joke. He never spoke while he held the sign and never defended himself.

The scientists, however, disagreed with the public humiliation of the accountant. They knew the truth. They saw it through a large telescope and realized only then that it was foolish to build in the first place, a comet twice the size of the moon on an unstoppable course towards Earth.

It was many years later, when the accountant had finally left his job committed full time to his warnings that the comet entered the atmosphere. The comet came as a massive Ender of Worlds and panicked all but the accountant and the scientists who had seen the end approaching but could do nothing to stop it. Breaking his silence after all that time, the accountant spoke, “The end is nigh. It’s about time.” He smiled and took a seat where he stood and awaited the next life.

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