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He sighed and gazed downward, miserable and sorry for existing. The abyss was not dark, as he had always imagined it to be, it was filled with a gray fog. Tight and swirling, the smoke mixed and mingled, like food dyes with water, meshing and combining, spinning and rehashing. A scuff of his right shoe and a small stone fell, tumbling, twirling, endlessly into the canyon of grey. There was no satisfying scrape, the fog yielded no sound against the falling missile. Instead it fell silently, painfully. He continued to expect some sort of noise, and its lack was an additional cruelty to the days overbearing weights.

He wondered what would happen were he to throw himself into the smoke. Would he fall unable to recognize anything? Like Alice in her rabbit hole, but without the faithful release that hitting the bottom would allow. He assumed he would continue falling through the atmosphere until he starved. He wondered what kept the mist down, in the abyss, preventing it from floating onto the crumbling pavement he now stood on. He stared at his shoe. The left lace was coming untied. It had a design imprinted on it with a sharpie. Next to it lay another pebble, and there was nothing he wanted more than to kick it over the edge, but he knew he couldn't handle the noiseless responseless accepting of the fog. He needed a clang, a scuffle, something other than the endless slip through time that would occur. He couldn't do that to the pebble.

He considered for a moment Shel Silverstein's poem "Where the sidewalk ends" and stepped on a crack. How amusing it was that her poem had made such joyful delight of the concept. And yet, here he was, and the end was nothing but desperate emptiness. The thought of the contrast made him choke into laughter. It made him giggle and choke and scream and cry and tear at his buttoned shirt till the buttons popped off and fell over the edge and silently fell into the fog.

The echoes of his scream died away. And there was silence again. No birds chirped, for there were no birds to chirp. The sounds of civilization and cities and cars didn't distract from the emptiness, for there were no cities, no cars, no civilization. Just Him, alone. at the end of the world.

His imaginations of the moment had always involved fire, but he saw no flames. A searing pain filled his mind and there were flames, but not there. In the past. He forced it away and turned from the edge of the world to face the trees against the grey, sunless sky. He turned from the edge of the world with no buttons, and a nearly untied left shoe, and three dollars from a dead world in his right pocket. He turned from the edge of the world and stepped towards the line of green full trees. They were living. So could He.
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Todd H. Page

June 2010

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