One Letter Too Short

By Jolle

He woke up. It didn't take long for him to decide that this wasn't a good thing. His head ached and there was a terribly bad taste in his mouth, as if he had been licking the ground at the local fair ground. Also, his sight was blurred, or at least so he assumed. He hadn't opened his eyes yet, not being all that happy with being awake in the first place. There was also a slight sulphur smell in the air, and he hoped it wasn't him making it.

In the bed, he turned over, trying to remember what he had done last night. He thought he had been watching demos, but for some vague reasons, he doubted it. After some time of thinking, he reluctantly agreed that he had no clear memories whatsoever from the previous night. This was most likely a good thing, another thought added.

He opened his eyes, happy to notice that he did in fact not have any problems with his sight. But even so, there was a strange light in his room. There seemed to be coming a reddish light from outside, shining trough the roller blind. It made him slightly uncomfortable and he shuddered slightly before he stod up and got dressed.

The kitchen was deserted. This wasn't in any way a surprise, as he was the only one using it. But nevertheless, it was deserted. He entered it, and searched the fridge for anything edible. He found something that reminded of sliced meat, but somewhat of an old piece of a rug, too. He prodded it with a fork, and when it showed no signs of being offended by this, he put it on a plate. A continued search throughout the kitchen found him a slice of bread that he laid between the plate and the piece of rug, or meat, if you prefer. He examined the content of the plate with a critical stare for a while, and then threw it away.

But hungry he was, and food he wanted, so he had to do something he didn't do very often. He had to go to the store. It wasn't that he didn't like the store, it was only that, a) it cost money buying things there, and b) the store was located about 200 metres away. But even so, he now had to go there. The first step in going there was opening the front door. He did that, and it gave him quite a shock.

Outside it became obvious where both the reddish light and the sulphur smell had come from. It had come from exactly there, outside. He looked out at the city, if you could call it a city anymore, and came to the conclusion that something must have happened. Most of the houses were ripped apart, there were large cracks in the ground, big fumes and flames coming out of them, as well as a strong smell of, among other things, sulphur. The sky was red, and there was a constant rumbling noise to be heard, like if there was an earthquake nearby. Not a single person could he see anywhere, only overturned cars, burned or fallen trees, and about a hundred metres away he saw a bus slowly going down a crack in the ground.

Shaken, he walked down the doorsteps and stepped onto the red lit ground. He started to slowly walk in the direction of where the store had previously been. As he came closer he found out that it didn't exist anymore. A big crater, with a small pool of molten rock in the centre, had replaced it. The disturbing thought that this prevented him from getting any food gently rushed around inside his head. Crestfallen, he turned around to start the walk home.

When he had turned around he saw before him a humanlike shape, hooded and carrying a scythe. In the shadow of the hood, there was a grinning skull. It turned to face him.

"So, are you Death?" he asked it. "Sure thing, lad." Death answered, with a voice like steel scraping against cold stone. Whether it made a difference if the stone was cold or not, no one could tell.

"And this is the Apocalypse?"

"No, this is only the work of the greater demons of hell having opened the gates to this world."


"But don't worry. The Apocalypse is sure to come soon enough, by the look of it."

"I'm not sure I want it to."

"No? If you are afraid that it will be worse then this, then I can assure you that you wouldn't even notice the difference."

"Well, that's great. Say, do you have any idea why I'm the only one left around?"

"As far as I know, all other humans have been dragged of to hell to have their souls tortured for all eternity. Obviously, someone had to be left behind that could find out about it, otherwise, what would be the point? All that torturing without anyone knowing of it would be quite a waste of time, I'm given to understand."

"Uh-huh. Why me though?"

"There is one single thing that could be done to avoid the Apocalypse and the destruction of all mankind. And you were the one most likely not to do it. That's why you've been left behind. To ensure the doom of everything."

"Man, that's deep stuff."

"If you say so. Hope you don't mind me being this friendly, but with no humans left, I've got a lot of spare time."

He looked upon Death and thought about the situation. "So, this thing that could be done, what is it?"

"A letter must be written to that God fellow."

"That's it?"


"What about?"

"I think he wanted some feedback. With The Universe Mk. 2 in the design phase, and all that, he is sure to want some. Some thanks never do any harm, either. And asking him to get all the humans back and banishing the demons is of course a thing worth including."

"But I can't do that! I've got lots of other things to do, and... and... I'm not a good writer. Couldn't anyone else do it?"

"Well, let me see... No. Only you left, remember? Of course, for my part, I don't care. I quite enjoy the Apocalypses, and it was a really long time since the last one. That reminds me, I got to call Famine and the rest of the gang. See you around."

And with that, Death disappeared, and he was alone once more. Heavy thoughts whirred in his head as he managed his way home. He made up a lot of excuses not to write the letter, most of which he was quite proud of, and then agreed with himself that he was still hungry, and ate the sandwich that he had previously thrown away. It made him feel ill and after drinking some water found in a rainwater barrow outside, he went to bed with his head feeling a bit fuzzy.

And he slept.

And he woke up. It didn't take long for him to decide that this wasn't a good thing. His head ached and there was a terribly bad taste in his mouth, as if he had been licking the ground at the local fair ground. There was also a slight sulphur smell in the air, and he hoped it wasn't him making it...

The End