Title: At the End Author: arcady Summary: Recollections on a past life. Words: 407 Contact: arcady0 AT yahoo DOT com Copyright: July 2004 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As far as I can remember, the ending went something like this. I was wandering around, somewhat aimlessly among the little hills on the edge of things. The houses were mostly on fire - I think they were made of straw, at least the roofs. That or wood. There had to be bodies everywhere, but I couldn't see them, I could barely see anybody. I needed to find my mommy, or at least somebody I knew. There were people around me though, of a sort - wandering aimlessly, shell-shocked. I could hear, if not see, them. I could hear crying. I could hear the sounds of soldiers - a yell, a gunshot, or maybe just a confused call. Maybe I just thought they were soldiers, I can't figure out now just why they would have been there. But they didn't seem to have any better answer for what had happened than the rest of us. I had to find mommy, daddy was gone. I'm not sure how exactly I knew that, or even if I knew it at the time, or if it's only occurred to me now writing this down a lifetime away. I think he went off to fight in the war. It must have occurred to me that mommy was gone as well, and I had a feeling I'd be going soon too. The pain was unbearable after all - from the burns. That's what happens if you live after something like this you know. If it doesn't kill you now, it'll get you soon enough anyway. I was a mess, bloody, burned, my dress torn, my hair in tatters, and my feet bare. I couldn't find anyone - just empty Asian eyes passing between buildings or around hills without purpose. When we remember past lives, most of us focus on the glory, we want to be heroes after all. We know that to have a beginning, you first need an ending; but we try not to dwell on it. I don't have any such luxury, I never forgot. My first memory in this life, the thing I've always known, is how it ended last time. This time around when I was maybe six or so my brother told me about it - the atom bomb. I told him I already knew - though I'd never had a name for it before. I'd been there, on the edges, where it didn't end so fast.