I am in a strange land. The ground is dry here – a reddish color that betrays the clay in the soil. Dry, yes, and yet at the same time there are patches of mud next to me, as if that particular piece of land were clinging desperately to the water that lingers there. Small, ragged weeds grow next to the mud, their leaves sickly green and wilted. The growth is sparse, and the air is hot – so hot that it hurts my lungs to breathe. I lift my gaze from the ground toward Heaven. The sun is enormous and red, and instinctually I know that it is dying. It does not hurt my eyes to look at this sun; it colors the sky orange and the clouds crimson. It is silent here, except for a vague scraping noise in the distance. It is a sound like metal on rock, and I walk towards it. No birds sing; my steps echo in this seemingly empty place. In the distance a box-like shape appears. The scraping sound is coming from here. I hurry my steps, my curiosity demanding I move onward.
The shape is a house, old and dilapidated. Constructed of random bits of wood nailed together, it has either never been painted or the paint has baked off from the heat of this arid land. The three steps that lead to the door are made of cracked cinderblocks, their once perfect corners rounded with age. Bits of gravel and rocks form the path to the door. There is a rickety picket fence that surrounds a very small garden, its dimensions perhaps ten feet by ten feet. Inside this garden I locate the source of the scraping sound. An old man, his back bent from years of hard labor, stands with a hoe, trying to loosen the hard-packed earth into neat little rows. His work must be grueling and nearly fruitless, but upon closer examination there is indeed life growing here. In the farthest row I spy four or five plants, their leaves withered and brown, but still alive, even if barely.
The door of the house opens now, and a younger woman carrying a pitcher of dark water steps outside. She is wearing an ankle length burnt umber skirt. The hem is ragged and torn in places, and stained with dirt and mud. She is wearing an apron over her skirt and long-sleeved blouse, which I imagine was once white. Now it is dark beige, with darker spots of grey and brown adorning it. Around her head she has wrapped the same beige material, and over that she has pinned a wimple that hangs to her shoulders, no doubt to shield her head and neck from the heat. Her long neck is bare and graceful, and she lifts the pitcher of contaminated water to her lips and takes a small drink. A trickle of water escapes and runs down her chin, leaving a shining trail of filth behind. She wipes it away with one dirty hand and her eyes come to rest on me. She does not say a word, but walks to the gate of the fence surrounding the garden, opening it. The man looks at her and smiles lovingly. All that is left of his teeth are rotted stumps of putrescence. She hands him the water, and he drinks greedily.
"She's here, Father," the woman says. He sighs and sets the water down on the garden floor, now turning to look at me directly. I walk over to the garden fence and set my hands on the splintered wood. The woman retrieves an object from the other side of the garden and walks back to me, her hands outstretched, cupping whatever it is that she has obtained. As she comes closer I see that she holds a tomato, but it looks more like a raisin than a tomato. She offers it to me, and then speaks. "It is not much of a gift, but I want you to have it. We have been waiting for you. You are the end, and you are beautiful."
I take the gift she has offered me, not speaking. I nod silently, and feel my feet lift off the ground. It is time, but I hold the tomato still, as if it was precious, and in its own way, it is precious. It is the last gift anyone on Earth shall ever give. I move upwards through the air, and see the upturned faces of the last two left alive looking at me. I shift my gaze to the horizon. There, the gruesome skeletons of once great cities lie rusting. The giant metal framework of skyscrapers lean twisted like wilted flowers. There is no hope, and no life energy, emanating from this destitution. I open my mouth, issuing forth one pure note. This is the song of destruction. The air begins to vibrate, delicately at first, and then with more and more force. The universe is shaking, quivering. The sun begins to pulsate, and then in a furious blast, it explodes, taking this wretched planet called Earth with it. The explosion is phenomenal, the pieces of earth and fire spreading outward in a glorious blossom of color. Then, all too soon, it all pulls inward again, and another black hole – another collapsed universe – is born. The only evidence of the life that was here is this solitary piece of fruit clutched in my fingers, withered in its sun-baked skin, which itself shall rot away into nothingness.
As for me? I drift back towards my oblivion, my mission complete. I am the end – after Armageddon, there is only me, and I am called Revelation.