Until the End of the World

A grandfather stands outside of a school. Tears stream down his face, so he digs into his pocket for a handkerchief and tries to wipe them away. Still, the tears continue to come. Cars with mothers, fathers and other kids drive by. Some stare; most do not notice. The grandfather looks toward the school as he blows his nose, but glances quickly away again. There is a great pain expressed by the way in which his wrinkles arrange themselves that is the result of his own memories long since buried into deep graves within his mind; memories that now rise from the dead to haunt him. He hears the clatter of school shoes down the corridors of time, the air filled with squeals, taunts and laughter. He can sense commanders of Satan’s armies hovering next to his desk, scrutinizing the back of his head with heat ray vision while he struggles to remember the theories of dead men. Most of all, though, he recalls the windows. Not the windows themselves, but the function of the windows. And he knows that nothing has changed in the sixty years since his mother stood in this exact same spot with tears in her eyes as he shuffled slowly through the dark, toothless gape in the building’s façade.

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6 thoughts on “Until the End of the World

  1. Find an Outlet

    Something else occurred to me today as I was cleaning a house and my mind wandered into this story: if the man’s mother experienced the same scene 60 years before, then somehow these people are different—as a group, or a family, or even just the two of them sharing a bond of alienation. I like that it ends here, because whatever is causing it is best left to the imagination and anything less might possibly be a disappointment.

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hi Debra
      I feel rather honoured that the story stayed on with you into your day. I’m glad you feel that way about this little scene. I personally believe that the reader is the actual creator of a story – through their imaginings, questions and answers – and that writers merely suggest possibilities and guide the story in a direction. The writer’s original intent is secondary to the reader’s experience. If the story is crafted well, a reader’s experience can become a celebration of our universality through evocation of deeply personal feelings. Or something like that… lol. Point is, the reader should enjoy the story and hopefully be enriched in some way.

      Reply
  2. sparrowsong

    “he struggles to remember the theories of dead men”

    More proof that zombies are taking over the world.

    In other news, very nicely done.

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hahaha… I’m afraid that those zombies have taken over the world.
      Thanks very much for the read and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

      Reply
  3. Find an Outlet

    I’m not sure I get this…I’m kind of symbolism-challenged though. Did he get bullied? School windows were very significant to me as a kid…I spent enough time looking out them. They were a prison.

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      You are absolutely not symbolism-challenged! What you said about the windows was the precise image I wished for them to evoke. The bullying allusion is intentionally ambiguous, as I think most of us have encounters with it, though later in life we may just say that was how things were; that was normal.

      Reply

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