Monday, March 25, 2019
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    Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

    It was early Sunday afternoon, and my parents were at church, leaving me home all by myself. They were devout Christians, yet I was not. Sometimes they even tried to get me to go, but it bored me to tears, and just was not a believer. So there I was, lying on my bed, laptop resting on my stomach and headphones in my ears. I wasn’t doing anything in particular; just browsing some of the new uploads from a few of my favorite sites, basically anything to pass the time. Then I saw a video that stood out to me. LA Beast eating a cactus. That seemed really interesting, but before I could click it, I got a Skype call. It was my friend Nick.

    “What’s going on?” I asked as my standard greeting to all my friends. There was a faint sound in the background that I couldn’t help but notice. It kind of sounded like someone was screaming. A woman. “Uh, what’s that noise?”

    “Why do you look so calm!? Don’t you even know what’s going on?!” he answered, looking jittery. Every few seconds he would take a look to his left towards his door, then immediately in the other direction out his window, like he was paranoid.

    “What? What the hell do you mean?” I implored him. “What’s going on?” Now I was starting to get curious, and as much as I hated to admit it at the time, even a little nervous.

    “Look outside! People are going nuts!” I took the headphones out of my ears, and that’s when I heard it. Screams coming from outside on the street. My heart beat faster and the adrenaline started to pump through my veins as I slowly got up out of my bed. I removed the headphone jack from my laptop so I could still hear Nick, and I made my way over to the window. Splitting the blinds, all I saw was a blinding light that made my head throb with pain. Taking a few seconds to adjust to the light, I saw it. People running up and down the street in every direction like they were being chased, but it was hard to tell the difference between who was running away and who was in pursuit.

    “What the hell…” I cursed under my breath. Upon closer inspection of the chaos down below, I could recognize some of the people running. A bunch of my parents’ church friends were down there. I’d met them before at birthday parties that my parents would drag me along to. Most of them were pretty nice. Then I saw a man dressed in all black with a tiny white collar around his neck. It was the priest. He had dinner at our home on several occasions, and if it weren’t for the fact he was a priest, you wouldn’t even know he was religious. We liked the same shows and movies, which is weird because it was tough to imagine a man of the cloth being into the type of same type of humor that appealed to me.

    I watched him for a few seconds. His skin seemed paler than usual, with cracks running all along it. He must be sick or something, I figured, because your skin would have to be pretty dry for me to see it from that far away, at least 30 feet. He just stood there looking around until his eyes locked on something. A woman was running down the street, and he intercepted her path, tackling her to the ground. He got atop her and looked like he was putting something in her mouth, but a second later he violently pulled his hand back with something in it. I had to strain my eyes to properly see what it was, and I wish I didn’t… it was her jaw. He had ripped it clean off her head. I wanted to look away, I really did. I just wanted to go back to my bed and pretend none of this was happening. But I couldn’t. My eyes were locked on her, lying below him, writhing in pain on the floor as a pool of blood formed around her.

    He dropped the half of her mouth onto the floor and leaned forward, gouging her eyes with his thumbs before swiftly splitting her skull down the middle. Even over all the other screams coming from outside, the loud snapping of her bones could still be heard. That was it. I threw up, vomiting all of the previous night’s dinner onto the floor. At least I was finally away from that window. When I was finally finished, I made my way back over to my bed, Nick still sitting there. “Messed up, huh?” he said.

    “Oh my god…” was all I could come up with. The screams rang through my head, but after a short while there was one less. I looked up at Matt as the background was now quiet. “Is everyth-”

    “Shh, be quiet,” he said quietly, cutting me off. He was looking towards his door, and I put my headphones back on and began to listen intently. A very faint thumping could be heard that grew louder and louder, like it were footsteps getting closer.

    “Oh, no… It’s my dad,” he cried. The thumping grew louder until it stopped just outside what I assumed was his door. My suspicions were confirmed a moment later as a loud single pound could be heard. Matt sprang to his feet and went off screen to the right, I guess to hide in his closet. The pounding continued until the door burst open, and his father stepped into the room.

    I couldn’t see him in the frame, just his silhouette on the far wall. He took a few steps into the room. I could see him then. He looked just like the priest. Pale and dry, with cracked skin. Walking over to Matt’s computer, he crouched down and made eye contact with me. A chill went down my spine and I froze up. I couldn’t tell if I was looking into his eyes, or into a black void. A sadistic smile crept across his chapped lips, causing them to split between the cracks.

    “Hi,” he greeted me. I couldn’t really describe his voice. It was just a deep, unearthly sound.

    “W-what are you?” I’m sure he could hear the fear in my voice.

    “We are the end,” he rasped.

    After he said those words, he turned his head towards the closet where Matt was hiding. The call closed, leaving me staring at the YouTube homepage. I tried not to think about what happened to my friend, and instead reflected on what the thing had said to me. “We are the end.” Those words played over and over again in my head until it finally occurred to me.

    Years ago when I was a young boy, my parents made me go to church with them. There isn’t much I remember from that, as most of the time I was bored out of my mind, but there was this one time when the priest had spoken about the end of the world that I vaguely remembered. He said that all those who believed in God, their souls would rise up to heaven. Without a soul, a body is just a shell, and a shell is always waiting to be filled by something.

    My front door opened, and I heard two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs. I guessed that my mom and dad were back from church.

    And for the first time in my life, I prayed.   “Please, God,” I sobbed. “Let it be quick.”

    Please wait…

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