The sky cracked with terrible thunder as Joe snapped to consciousness, shaking in his bed. He lay sweaty, still in shock from what he had hoped had been a dream. What seemed like moments earlier, the titular event, catastrophic enough to rapture the world as it was known had begun. It had seemed so small, so unimportant, none could have known its ability to open up and swallow existence, destroying the balance that held the universe in place.
He wiped the sweat from his brow and pushed himself to his feet. As he did so he lost his balance, falling forward onto his face. Vibrations took hold of the room, knocking fixtures from their homes on the walls and smashing them to the ground, though none of this mattered in the moment, there were more pressing matters at hand, and if things were as Joe suspected, soon nothing would matter at all. Gritting his teeth, he struggled to pull himself to his feet as the floorboards began to break apart beneath him. The room itself seemed to be imploding, and he would be damned if he let himself drown with the nothing’s expanse. Clawing at the wooden doorway, he fought gravity to find an escape. One by one the hinges popped off of the door and it flew from the doorway and tumbled behind him, collapsing on itself and crumbling into nonexistence. Damned if he would follow in its footsteps, he grunted, managing to break free into the hallway.
Loosening himself from the pull, he rolled forward, collapsing in an uncomfortable position and slamming the back of his head against the wall. Rubbing the back of his neck, he moaned, awestruck at the destruction he viewed behind him. What had seemed such a harmless concept had come to claim him, and everything he had ever known. The insistent force tugged at him, begging him to cave, though he refused its advance, twisting over and rolling uncomfortably down the stairwell. As he reached the bottom the floor above came crashing down to meet him, the steps he had taken moments ago splintering into dust.
“Argh!” he screamed, placing his palms flat on the ground and pushing forward, leaping back to his feet. The downstairs was already unnoticeable, an indescribable darkness like he’d never known pressing in on all sides of him, begging to swallow him and leave him to die amongst the negatives. He would escape this fate, he told himself, determined to get to the one being he knew that could outdo this force, the only thing strong enough to undo the impossible currently escaping onto Earth.
The windows all around him shattered, spraying glass in all directions as the walls buckled under the weight of the destruction wanting to claim him for its own. Joe climbed through one of the fresh openings to the outside, burying a shard of glass deep into his flesh, opening his right arm. Out on the porch, he wasted little time, pressing forward and rolling over the railing. He knew this would break him, but he was short of options. The sands of time had dried, and he needed to escape by any means possible. Falling in the air, he hadn’t expected what came next, as the picnic table he imagined his bones shattering upon came rushing up to meet him. His forehead slammed hard, and he reached up to feel the warmth of blood escaping him.
Trembling, Joe flipped over and realized he was floating in the air on the top of the table. High above him, the sky burnt wild with vivacious color and winds blew with a ferocity to rip the palm trees in his vicinity from their roots. He struggled to hold his position on the back of the wooden planks whilst it soared high in the sky, shaking as he viewed the eclipse of the sun above him. Little light remained, and he was traveling table-back at speeds that threatened jet planes. If any hair remained on his head, this would be the time for it to blow in the unrelenting winds that whipped all around him.
The sky began to swirl with an unyielding force, claiming everything in his surroundings up into it, regardless of size. People screamed as they were ripped from the ground and sent into the same vortex as all of the vehicles, beings, even the streets themselves rose from the ground. Joe soon realized that not even the Earth remained safe in this catastrophe, as the dirt broke apart and the planet traveled into the sky, bit by bit, its sandy composition disappearing as it reached the insatiable black hole. He waited for himself to be swallowed as well, but nothing came for him, instead, he watched helplessly as the world around him disappeared until finally, light was extinguished.
It wasn’t to say that he was surrounded by darkness, for even that had gone away now, leaving him surrounded by nothing, but still alive, though it truly depended on your take on the relative term. Nothing happened after this, time didn’t even pass, as it no longer existed. Trapped in what seemed like Purgatory, Joe hung, all the while knowing the cause of the cataclysm.
Eventually, Joe felt a presence, and he was no longer alone. He heard the being, the one he had expected to be waiting for him, though there was no voice. It simply existed within his mind, almost as though the two were now linked psychically.
“Travis…” Joe thought to the being approaching him. “I know that’s you.”
“This could have been avoided,” Travis responded. If Joe could see, he would view the saddened visage on his old friend’s face. “Why did you have to be so damned stubborn?”
“All of this?” Joe thought. “All of this for Dippy Eggs? That’s not even what they’re called. You’ve let yourself become so poisoned that this carnage has spread worldwide, bringing the rapture to us all.”
“You were the cause of this,” Travis responded. “This is not Dippy Eggs, it is so much more.” A non-existant tear fell from the absence of Travis’s eye. “This, all of this, is the absence of our love. This is the void that exists for letting something come between us. Our bond was the strongest thing remaining in this dark world, and in the absence of that, we were left with only destruction. Everything rested on the bond between our hearts, and now it has all fallen to nothing. If you had kept faith in our love over all, this would have just been another day.”
“It’s all…my fault?” Joe thought, realizing how petty it had all been. Had he only accepted his good friend’s ways, things would have been the complete opposite. Humbled, his heart sank, realizing the devastating effect he had had. Now it was too late, for there was nothing more to do.
“It could be worse,” Travis thought, “you could have thought they were called Doubled Eggs.”
“What?” Joe thought, confused by the change in pace, but he was met with no response. As he was about to think again, his eyes opened, and light flooded his world once more. He sat up in bed, covered in sweat and blanketed with worry. The nightmare had left him gasping for air, heaving in fear.
Pulling himself to his feet, nothing shook around him, and there was no thunder to be heard. Sighing deeply, he was thankful for this second chance. He grabbed his phone and decided he would call Travis to let him know how he felt.
Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t take your friends for granted.