the end

At my parents place. My brothers and I are arguing over the best way to hook up their new PlayStation 4. I have one at home, and I’m trying to remember if it’s optimized for CDs or DVDs, because the settings are different. I decide the only way to be certain is to find out what is currently in my system at home. And since I don’t want to drive all the way home and back, I focus my mental energies in an attempt to transport the disc here telekinetically. I can picture it in my mind… I can feel it rattling in the tray of my PS4 back home… but then my sister runs in with a PDA in hand, yelling excitedly. There is a news report that Al Queda has launched a series of micro-nukes that can home in on the ISP of e-mail addresses, and that several are headed our way at this very moment. The PDA displays the NORAD satellite data as it tracks a swarm of warheads over the Great Lakes area- she’s quite the hacker, my sister, among other things. She wears a pink kimono and has dai-sho at her waist, and she knows how to use them. We watch in wordless horror for a moment, then realize some of the family is outside. Running to the back door, I find my mom and one of my nieces. I grab the little one and get her inside just as a series of flashes hit beyond the treeline, somewhere in town, followed seconds later by tremors and deep bass thudding. Rushing back out, I see a portable vacuum on the ground near the porch, and pick it up. The flexible lexan tube is fused into a solid piece. Holding it, I wonder if the radiation did this already. Dropping it, I turn to see if everyone is inside already. Mom and sis have just finished double-checking, and I run up the porch to hold the door for them. Looking down at the top of my sister’s head from above, I am horrified to see that her waist-length hair is starting to fall out, and her scalp is weeping blood in a half-dozen places. She sees my shocked expression and reaches up to touch it, wincing and looking at her bloody fingers. Mom pulls a scrunchy from her pocket and says “We’ll just tie it up for now so it’s out of the way.” She takes my sister’s hair in one hand and spreads the scrunchy with the other, and then all our eyes get even wider as my sisters scalp comes completely off. My mouth hangs open, unwilling to believe that this impossibly horrific thing has just occurred. My mom looks down at the thing in her hand and then up at me. My sister looks up at me and then turns to my mom. And then both of them are erased by a white so blinding and brilliant and final that it must be heaven.

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~ by oberon the fool on February 5, 2009.

6 Responses to “the end”

  1. This was pretty creepy. The end was particularly (I can say it, can you?) well done. The last sentence specifically, but the imagery, too, of your sister’s scalp coming away with her hair is pretty horrible. Well done!

    I had the kids today write alternative endings to scenes/bits I’d taken out of romance novels. It was supposed to be anti-romantic, but I ended up not picking stuff that was all that romantic to begin with. I overestimated the ability of at least one of them to read and concentrate on the activity (especially after we’d all had rootbeer floats – someone had a birthday and brought treats). I sent her out to go find books, and the rest of them came up with stories.

    We had a newly birthed zombie who was out for his first meal (that one went home with the author so he could work on it some more), and a Lord and Lady who came together after their manse burned to the ground, some lovers broke out of a locked basement and cavorted in a flowery field, and in mine two half-humans seeking information barely manage to avoid transforming when their informant gives them a harsh brush-off. We didn’t have much time for the activity – only about 15 minutes, so they’re a bit raw at the moment.

  2. Thanks, I guess… I don’t think it was really so much well done as just… I dunno. I just typed what happened. It didn’t feel well done when it was in my head. It felt pretty fuckin’ horrible, even if the people in the dream weren’t exactly who they are in real life.

    Interesting activity. Is it safe to give them romances to work with? That seems dangerous to me. But you are the expert in the area of joovenile literation and suchlike. Apparently “literation” is a word, as far as WordPress knows. But “WordPress” isn’t. Go figure. Is literation the opposite of alliteration?

    In 4th or 5th grade, Mr. Ernest (whose first name was Russel, and whom we called Brussel, because he always looked like he’d just eaten something nasty) gave us a similar assignment to write an alternate ending to some famous novel that was the diary of a girl who was trying to survive a nuclear aftermath (huh… this comment has come full circle). And he gave me a bad grade, not because I had written poorly, but because he disagreed with the fictional events I had portrayed. I was just thinking about it the other day, and that it was no wonder I’m so fucked up, because adults are assholes with ridiculous and fickle expectations that no child can expect to live up to. If I had been the me of today, I’d have said “I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood the assignment. I thought this was a creative writing exercise, when clearly you said mind-reading. My bad.” As it was, I was just confused and hurt and bewildered and angry. Which I was most of the time as a kid. Which is why I used books as a shield between myself and other human beings for the first 20 years of my life.

    So, yeah. Whatever I was saying, that’s what happened, the end.

  3. That’s so…arbitrary. It doesn’t even sound like you had a good discussion about what he disagreed with. He just didn’t think it happened that way? I don’t believe that that’s grounds for a bad grade…let’s hope he didn’t go into reviewing things professionally. :) In high school I was given a “bad” grade for being “too creative.” Those were the words of Ms. Harriet Johnson Naden to me on the occasion of one of her ambiguous assignments. She also had difficulty delineating parameters for her assignments, and remembering that she’d given them, and remembering to collect them, and remembering how many were outstanding at any given time. Annoying.

    I think the problem with adults is that they don’t necessarily have anything *more* figured out than kids do, but there’s an expectation that they do, or should, and they mistakenly try to bluff their way through that.

    The exercise we did today was supposed to be “anti-romantic,” like something you’d come up with to destroy lovers’ happiness. Because teens get bitter like that. But when I was looking for quaint little love scenes, all the novels I’d picked out were oozing cocks and vaginae (I just like saying/typing vaginae). That was a bit more than I felt comfortable exposing them to. While most of them are 15+, there’s one 7th grader and at least one of them is Very Christian. It probably would have embarrassed the hell out of them, too. I think next time I’ll use something from the young adult oeuvre.

    Even “just typing what happened” can sometimes yield a gem or two.

  4. Yes, exactly. Adults only ACT like they have shit figured out, and they only do it because that’s how adults acted when THEY were kids.

    Well, except that kids are really, really stupid.

    Oozing seems bad. Like, maybe you’d want to get that looked at.

  5. i see what you mean – but i’d still love links.

    and i SO read your first comment to say that you’d been using other human beings as shields for the past 20 years. this did not even seem odd to me, until i backtracked to see if you’d given the name of the original novel…

  6. I… have no idea what the hell you’re referring to. Granted, it’s 9:30 AM on a Saturday, so I could just be really stupid right now.

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