Tristan And The Apocalypse Vol. 3 written 2016-2017

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James

I started thinking it wouldn’t be better to show the page with her. It was more political now. I was more internally focused in my person but I realized my writing had become so much less personal.

The next few weeks moved quickly. The congressman was busy visiting people expressing condolences about the disease, promising support. The other half of the time, he was trying to rebuild communities, trying to establish the currency, trying to use what we had experienced to organize the city on a better level. We were the afterworld, we were a political dream.

News of Terrie came shortly. He was apprehended in Northern Ontario and was placed in a high security holding, where he would remain indefinitely. The leadership of the country was still firmly in our hands, and his evil side would lay dormant for now. I thought of his face as he was standing above me, before he killed me, before Allister saved my life, somewhat childishly, not knowing I had passed, playing god without thinking about it.

As long as we knew were he was he wouldn’t come after me again. My Dad wasn’t a police officer but he would make sure there was somewhere to keep me safe. He would know when I have to be careful.

He had been working on something as well. When my novel was finished I wanted him to read a finished product right away. I was nostalgic for a world of dreams that had passed away. The novel was dead now. There would be information released into the world, not as a commercial product, but as a vital necessity. I went down to his room where he was at his desk, and he said, I’m done, he said. You can come and see.

What you have been working on all this time.

Yes, he said.

It was a city. A small city. It was enclosed, as if in a great dome, with high walls, and covered pathways all about, it was shaped round instead of square, there was green space everywhere, there was a pavilion at the centre.

It’s an enlightened city, I said. It’s a green city.

Yes. It will be like a village, self-sustainable, though running at an efficiency like a large city. But it won’t ever be a large city again. Or a polluted city.

What had the congressman said?

He’s only looked once. I showed him an early print. This one is much more sophisticated. But he has agreed more or less. This is the only way. He knows that there will be no climate compromises that we can make now.

It seems that you may be the architect of a whole new society. The most important one ever. It’s because you’re my Dad.

Yes, he said. Some dream. A futuristic and a sad design. An unfortunate design.

Will it save the world?

With this and the new government? Maybe. I’m not sure.

Do we need something else?

Yes. He said. I’m not sure if we have the ethos to get through this yet. No one has processed this. We need art at times like this, to do it for us.

If only I were an aspiring writer. Haha. Maybe I’m too young.

You? You are young. But that’s good. You’ll have remembered everything.


We recovered from things in our own way. Maisie was slinking into a depression again. I felt worried that maybe it had been present all aong. It was so apparent against the hope of a new government, and a cure for the illness we had a feeling would come over us.

Zombies out of the way, things were improving. I didn’t know if I could cheer Maisie up. I couldn’t make it all go away right away. There was tragedy I could but see. I knew as much as that I would be there for her quietly, presently, as much as one could.

Eventually I showed my Dad as well what I had written. He agreed it was important. He wasn’t really worried about an ethos right now. It would come for more than one place, he said.

I hope it will make a difference. Maybe everyone we’ll read it.

You know what. They just might. What we need is a good story. You and Maisie are so lovely.

How long is the city going to take?

Three years. A lot will be finished in the first year, given the necessity of it though. That’s obvious, that it’s necessary.

It’s going to be interesting. People have been wanting a change. Just not like this.

It will be more work for everyone. But I think they’re ready for it.

We all have a great potential. But sometimes it is only to work harder at these easy things.


Soon, I could see workers erecting new structures, getting started at a wall. That was something that would make it more safe to me to go further, oddly. The shape of the city, happened in my head like a moving strip. I breathed deeper and deeper each day, with more assurance every time.

We all suffered from dark places we needed to heal from. Allister knew that he hadn’t had it as bad as other people, even amongst us, like Maisie. But he couldn’t help himself from feeling low sometimes. Sometimes he didn’t feel like we would ever accomplish anything again, or that we would need to for quite some years. I let him wallow. I thought about how I was trying to be strong, and sometimes people didn’t want to be so strong, though I don’t think anyone would say that I should be more ready to lay down and quit about it.

I wanted to be there for people. That was the bottom line. And maybe that was my role, after all. The more time I spent with Allister, the less he felt he could get away with being morose.

Some people are invested in History. I’m not. Was not. Was there history anymore. I guess there was. It’s funny. One day this would happen again. There’d been an extinction before. There’d been the black plague. Not for centuries at least though. But it was inside of us to grow and multiply. That was the problem, not any ideology sometimes.

I tried to write about that in my book. It was hard to put a finger on just what error we had made as a species. That’s why I thought art would help. The answer a big blot in the painting, it’s there, I’m not the one to understand it, just to describe it.

I asked my Dad about the thing I was seeing outside.

Dad, the sky is pink.

Yes, it’s the pollution. It will be alright. You can go outside. For a limited period of time. There will be outdoor bubbles. You will be able to get ultraviolet rays inside them, without breathing the air. Most of the pathways will be sealed as well. I don’t imagine we will need a giant dome.

I hope not. How much time can I spend outside? Without getting sick I mean.

An hour. Maybe two. We will announce it later this week.

Are people going to spend more time indoors?

Oh yes, yes they are. They’ll be inside all the time, really.

What about school?

It will be all online for now, right up to the congressman, he says so. Exams with a examiner, etc.

So Allister will be back on track soon.

Yes, I’d say he will. Though were expecting them to finish a little earlier. We need there skills on the workforce to rebuild and do the difficult tasks, physically, in the laboratory, at the drafting boards.

I’m too old for all of this, though, yes?

He chuckled. Yes, of course. Very much so.

He’s grown three inches.

Who, Allister? Yes, I suppose his sadness cannot stop that.

He’s healthy, you think.

Oh yes, he looks. A very handsome boy. Certainly. It has been nice to see him around. I fear we were losing connection with him, but we're getting through still, we are now, anyways.

I feel I’ve had an impact on him. He has been receptive, now that he’s older. I want to be like a junior father to him.

He chuckled again. That’s fine by me. I expect you to be there for him. That’s not such a bad way to think of yourself. You only have one of them so keep an eye on him. The police can only do so much, especially under these circumstances.

That I can do. I think he might be fine just on his own soon though, not that I’m going to stop looking out for him.

Yea. By the way, I liked what you wrote. I think there is a way we could publish it.


Oh yes. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I have to go to a meeting about the lower level buildings now. See you then.


Maisie and I were walking through the grounds. My head was spinning because we were sort of going in circles.

Are we safe this far away, she asked me.

We haven’t even left the grounds. Of course we are safe. Terry is gone now.

Yea but you never know.

Well we are not too far. And look how nice the garden is over here. Look at all of the reds and pinks.

It smells very nice.

See, plenty of benefits to it.

Yea I guess so. What about the pollution, though.

The plants and trees eat some of it. We have a good hour before we have to go inside.

Who told you that?

My Dad. And so there you have it.

We walked through the garden mostly, trying to keep our walk in there. She stopped complaining about feeling safe, and pulled very close to me. Sometimes we were very bored, though the restoration was getting very intriguing. I really tried to make her laugh. I worried about that point in a relationship when she won’t laugh at your jokes anymore, and so I only made them so often. So far, I hadn’t run out of ones to make her laugh, or she hadn’t stopped laughing at the ones I’d made.

That was a good sign. I wasn’t worried about me and her. It was the most constant thing to me. I trusted her, and I felt love with her that could last through the greatest of disasters, that could create joy in both of us in the wake of the worst tragedies.

So I guess our life wasn’t like most young peoples had been. It was a bit like we were old and married now. When I wasn’t busy with writing I had work to do with the party. I liked the combination, though I felt that this was something that old married couples do to. When I came back to the building at night, I only imagined that she had sat and read, perhaps knitted. But I am sure it was more than that she had been doing, and those are the times when I trusted her, and I still had the moments to listen to the stories about most of it.

It sounded like her relationship with Daphne had turned the corner. Daphne had recently recovered herself a lot, and she had taken a step back from the reckless behaviour she was prone to. I told her it wasn’t her fault. But sometimes she took it hard. We had been shaken, become less contained out of school, and perhaps we needed to become full adults quicker than we had really ever anticipated.

Sometimes the friendships of women are the most time-consuming of things. And the number of things they had to tell to each other made the apocalypse seem like a short interlude.

Before I went off for college, I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could. Not only was she going to be as far as Vancouver, from Toronto, she was going to be as far as London. Overseas. Thousands of miles away.

Almost every night I was trying to just watch movies with her and then try and be there even longer, make out in the house, I suppose, something along those lines. I never wanted to be an alcoholic. But girls wanted to go out all the time. There were too many times were I had returned to my bed at four, maybe five in the morning, completely drunk. A few times I didn’t make it to bed until the next day.

So it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t have so much aim in my training anymore. And that was all fine and well. Again I was working on less occasions on which we would drink socially. And so I wasn’t hung over when I should be training.

That would change when I went away, I would be training everyday, reading in the night time. She was my love but she was also sort of a poison. She liked them, anyways.

Although I wouldn’t be suiting up for hockey, this year, I still cared about my body. It was sad. Another year up here, and there was a lot that I could have done. It might have been a successful year. But I was weary of the violence. I was weary of many things.

A few times I started awake in the night. Something felt not right. But there was nothing wrong in the house. I started to think there might be something wrong in the world. I had the most ominous feeling I’ve ever had, and I had to sit up, and I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I managed to brush it off the next day. But then I was watching the news. And suddenly I saw so many bad things happen. It was like people had gone crazy and no one had noticed. I was very concerned.

I thought about talking about it to someone. I didn’t bring it up with Maisie because she would say I was just being worried. I didn’t want to say anything to my Dad either. He would just say it’s a complex world. It was funny. Maybe I had just not brought it up at all. Then one day I was with Allister and it was really bothering me.

How are things over in Ontario, I said.

Why, there fine.

A bit crazy or anything?

Well yea, I guess so.

Man, I said. It is so goddamn hot outside. I didn’t say anything more, for the fear he’d think I was a crazy person.

But these signs continued to grow, until one day I brushed them aside, and thought it would be perhaps better to brush up disaster protocols, rather than to try to help anyone right there and then.

I acted as normal as I could with Maisie. I rarely even smiled. I hoped in a private way that she would detect something unordinary from me acting so ordinary, normal, whatever.

Sometimes it was tough. On certain occasions I felt 100 percent. Other times I felt much, much worse. I would leave the table, maybe just up from the living room, rush to the bathroom, and vomit globs into the toilet. I would turn the shower on, be in there for fifteen minutes. When I came out I would lie about it. They would tease me about how I must have been having diarrhea. Truthfully there was a deep darkness growing inside of me. I couldn’t fight feeling so melancholy. It was as if the melancholy almost was the disease, was more than the disease.

It was almost revealing itself as sometimes I would almost collapse, faint and fall to the ground, but I would catch myself mid-fall, and try to explain away what had happened. Sorry, a little tired again, I would say.

These symptoms weren’t anything I was ready to support, they didn’t really add to anything I had heard of. It was ancient, it was deep in me, it was medieval.

I didn’t know if I should tell Maisie. Sometimes I would continue to talk so as to avoid something like that happening, not sure if that was the right move right then, rather determined to have it remain secret.

One night I thought I might say something. Getting ready my hands were trembling, I was pale as a ghost in the middle of summer. I didn’t feel I could drive that evening so I called a cab. When I arrived at the performance I sat with Allister, and excused myself for being a few minutes behind. No didn’t get in the doors kind of stuff. The performance was only just beginning. The lights were only lowering.

It was a new play. I wasn’t explicating so much of the script. I hoped the production would be good. I fumbled through my program in the first scene. And then in the second scene, Maisie was on the stage.

Maisie: Why is it that I am here. It has been so long.

Vladmir: My darling, I have told you why you are here. You are my love. You have only been here so long. In terms of love, we have had no time at all to spend together. Believe me, there will be time in a plenty for you to do all you ever wanted.

Maisie: But how is that possible. I am getting older. What if I am here until I die? Oh, the horror!

Vladimir: No my darling, believe me, that won’t happen. I will take care of you. You will not die one of these deaths you speak of. Now be still, darling, I am just going to go and move things along for dinner.

(Vladimir exits)

Maisie (alone): Have I been kidnapped away from my family? What has happened to me? And what is he speaking of? Of course I will die. Of course I will not have forever to live. I don’t know what I am going to do. He says he loves me. But I don’t know if I love him. No, I hardly know him. Why does he think he loves me? I must escape. I don’t know what he’s speaking of! How might I get out of her? There are bars on the castle windows. There are people attacking me at every turn. If only I had but a single accomplice, but everyone her is so frightening!

Hey Tristan, Allister whispered to me, Maisie’s character is named Tatania, right?

Oh, yeah, it is. That’s right.

Tatania: Victor, I must go!

Vladimir: Tatania, my darling, you have nothing to worry about. Come, remain with me, and everything will be fine. Look, it is like this. The dinner, everything will be wonderful, the best of everything. Perhaps I am no prince but I am handsome enough. I am a lord, all the same.

Tatania: Well, okay. For now, anyways.

New scene, downstairs, in the dining hall. The other inhabitants of the castle are servants. It is just the two of them at the table.

Tatania: Oh my, I didn’t know it was just the two of us.

Vladimir: Why of course. I wouldn’t want to do anything but give you my undivided attention. You see?

Tatania: Yes, you are so kind. And… so attentive. Thank you.

Vladimir: Yes, of course. Do you know what condition I found you in? By the side of the road. You were bleeding. You were unconscious. You were dying. I had to save you. There was no one else there. Do you understand?

Tatania: Yes, of course I do. I… I wouldn’t want you to leave me there. Thank… thank you.

Later that evening, Tatania lay awake by herself think about how she would make an escape. She didn’t know whether he would try to hurt her if he saw her leaving. The staff would wake him. Was he sleeping? It was worth a try. She didn’t even know if he had really saved her, or maybe he was the reason she couldn’t remember anything. When she felt it was darkest, she waited for the patrolling guard outside her door to be walking the way opposite from the big entrance gates, and she ran as fast as she could down the hall.

Guard: Hey, wait, where are you going? Stop there.

Tatania: Sorry time to go! Thanks for the visit!

(Tanya sprints out of scene)

Next scene:

(Tanya gets to the front gate but can’t open it. Tries for a while and then the count has found her and is trying to prevent her leaving)

Vladimir: Tatania, my sweet, where is it you are going? What do you think you are doing? It is dangerous outside. The things outside, the things in the forest, I am afraid you know not.

Tatania: That might be so, but it is time for me to be on my way. Thank you for your hospitality and kindness. But I do not need all this. I must return to my family.

Vladimir: My sweet, I am your family. You will never make it alive out there. Stay with me here, and, and you will live forever. I can give you everything you want. I can make you a goddess, a being of your dreams. Please stop, so things can go back to normal.

Tatania: (doesn’t want to react right away, stays still some.) Vladimir, I really must go. You are scaring me. Let you remain in my good memories, please. I only hope that I awake tomorrow not scared from this encounter. I am a grown woman and I shall decide on my own whether I shall leave. (She begins struggling with the door again, for a while, until she notices something, then she runs and Vladimir chases her, quickly, grabbing and holding her back, suddenly…

The veins on his face have grown prominent, and you can see that they are blue. His teeth are sharp and pointed. He is a vampire. And he is trying to give her the bite that will turn her. She struggles mightily. He is so quick. But he is so in love, enchanted with her. She wiggles free and runs back to the door, the guard grabs her but she pushes off, and what she noticed was the key hole, and she grabs his whole belt, and rips the keys off. Tatania lunges forward for the door. It opens wildly and she goes off down the path, with the forest ahead of her, to envelope her with safety and danger, away from the count, who is so suspicious as to not pursue her.

Afterwards, I told Allister it was quite overwhelming seeing the count go after her like that. It made made me feel uncomfortable inside. It brought up the worst of memories. In that way I enjoyed her performance, though. He was reserved in his opinion about that. He was pretty impressed with what they put on. He thought about why they produced this one, why they performed it that way. He wondered what it said about our world, if it said anything about today.

For a few days, I didn’t notice anything bizarre. Although on a few occasions the lights blinkered, and I didn’t know what to say about that. I couldn’t help feeling that I was Maisie, and that I was trapped inside something. I was trapped in a global ecosystem, I was in a bubble of uncertainty, and I felt sick, and again I had to rush to the bathroom, and I passed out flayed over the sink.


Everyone thought the performance was very good. We felt unwearied by present circumstances. We weren’t aware of thaws that were coming, in it’s full intensity. She was pleased with herself, she looked well. Individually it was beyond our present world there in the theater.

Seeing her that way had an affect on all of us. Sometimes Allister wasn’t there for days at a time. Though he still seemed like a little boy. If I didn’t know the future then I would say he was never going to grow up.

The world was similarly innocent. Although there were terrible things that happened, say in Syria, or in Afghanistan, we handled it as nothing unexpected, in our daily lives we were cheery, we mowed our lawns, we cleaned the windows, we spoke as we would speak, and if we spoke roughly it was all in good fun.

The night before it happened, Maisie and I sat watching the stars from the balcony. Sometimes women were very quiet, like they never really had anything to say, and I wondered if she was the one worried about something happening. Allister came out and told me there was something in the sky. I told him I saw nothing.

No, not in the North. In the South. Look.

It was like an asteroid. What is it, I said.

I thought you would know.

No, I said. I don’t know what that is. It’s like a flame or a giant laser beam. It’s convulsing. Did you see it start?

No, there was just a light outside. Before it was closer to the earth.

I wonder if it’s the only one.

We turned on the news and there had been several spottings of them, but not just in Vancouver, but all over the world, giant hot flashes. And that’s when I felt my first trigger of panic. There had been tremors, all along the West coast, in China, in South America, something on a global scale. Suddenly I felt it, a change in the air temperature, an electricity of excitement, of energy, and I could feel the shaking before it even started.


When the quakes began I was pretty scared. The sky was dark. I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t really know what was happening. Maybe it was the apocalypse. I kept thinking I was going to the devil or maybe Jesus. Mostly it was just dark and I didn’t see anybody. I hoped everyone would be all right. I didn’t want for everyone to die. I thought about if I had been good or not, I couldn’t see why I would not ascend to heaven. After all I was just a boy. I really did believe in God. But I hadn’t been going to Church. I’m not sure if that was going to matter. I had been reading the Bible in Literature at school though.

The sky flashed as if there was something supernatural occurring. When we were inside the basement we couldn’t tell what was going on. It was a long time that things were moving, and it was a long time that I could hear ripping winds outside. Then there were heavy rains, sounds of thunder and lightning. Tristan said there were tornado’s running all up and down the central continent, something unprecedented, I’m sure you know.

I felt very alone. It was nice to be with them. But they were kind of older. I wished dad was there. I didn’t like seeing Tristan be the guardian so often. I hope it wasn’t too hard for him. Right now anyways I thought about helping however I could when this ended, and if we made it out alive.

If I didn’t survive I thought I should know what I’m thankful for. If I made it through I would try to enjoy whatever kind of world was left afterwards. It would be a compromised world, but keeping my life wasn’t an easy award either. I didn’t really sleep through the nights. We took turns at it. Though I didn’t feel I’d slept. I’d never been so tired before. And so hungry too. We were on rations already. I missed the way things were already and I felt sorry that old people took that for granted.

Tristan didn’t take it for granted. He had been really interested in climate change for a long time. Since I can remember. He didn’t seem to know how worried about it he was. He would just talk about it, with people who had no interest in it, at the dinner table, when we were walking somewhere, he just thought it was interesting. He was weirdly prepared for it, and that’s why he was the one who didn’t feel that everything was so bad. I couldn’t tell him that there was a disaster happening because he’d been over it in his mind so many times. He was just observing everything out the window, recording it in his mind so he could write about it, and of course, talk about it.

Strangely it was all a science to him. I mean, the whole disaster, he could almost control it because he knew what was happening scientifically, even if he wasn’t going to say that he knew what was happening. He didn’t want to give any of his research away. It was all a secret, maybe people were listening sometimes.

It took me a while to realize I wasn’t missing my home. Tristan was really good company. He didn’t seem to be trying to be that. Sometimes I almost laughed in the middle of the disaster, he was so ironical and I couldn’t tell if he was trying to be. That’s what made it funny. I’m not sure if he had practice siblings or something. Maybe he just treated me like his friend.

His girlfriend Maisie was very sweet. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if she could talk. She could be so quiet, and she sat there so motionless, like she wasn’t ever going to grow up, that time has stopped. No, she could really talk, but she made me think about how we have these personas that we play, like jobs. Maybe Tristan doesn’t know she liked how handsome he was, not really the way he talked. It was a bit of wasted breath.

The problem with Tristan is he knew himself so well. He would go off on walks for hours at a time, and he would organize all his ideas, and then he wouldn’t have to be an introvert anymore. But then it was like he wasn’t an introvert at all. Really they were like actors together. There was a big play happening in Tristan’s head, and that’s kind of what was attractive about him.

Sometimes it felt like we were in a bunker, and there were bombs going off outside. I guess it wasn’t a war yet. But it felt like that, as if you could lose your life so quickly, so sadly. It felt like we had all created it, in the dark place of our heart.

Hey Tristan, what have you seen?

There have been three mini-tornadoes. Didn’t you feel the house sway?

Well, not really. Things have been moving and bumping all the time.

Hey, watch it kid.

Tell him what else you saw, Maisie said.

There were big, huge lightning strikes, three of them now, that looked like they came right out of space.


I don’t know what it was. I’ve never heard of anything like it.

The fate of our world hangs in the balance and we are all stuck in here, I said.

Seems that way, Tristan said. If I survive this I’ll be the best writer ever in the entire Universe.

It was several nights that we were stuck in there. I wasn’t sure if time was moving faster, because we saw light so rarely, but it was certainly a long time that we were stuck. When the storm began to lift, locally anyways, we weren’t braced for just the devastation it had caused.

Several days later, Tristan opened the front door, and he walked through the gates. Then he saw down the hill, there was water everywhere, the skyscrapers were gone in the South, there was nothing.

We built a boat. It was just big enough for the three of us. And we set out, we went for miles without seeing a single person. That’s when the pain hit me, and more than any loud noise, that’s the scar that I can’t get over.

The waters lapped gently, and that was even sadder. We didn’t even really see the world get destroyed. Maisie looked very worried, and I sort of caught it from her, what were we going to do now? Nothing from our imaginations remained.

It’s not real, Tristan said. It’s not real.

I don’t know, I said. Seems pretty real.

God save us, Tristan said. Oh my dear lord jesus.

We returned home and I thought about what had happened. I tried to contact my friends in Ontario with the radio but nothing happened. No connection to anything. Tristan radios for emergency help, every channel, nothing. We had to turn it off to save the battery.

It was really disheartening. We we are all alone. We didn’t know for how far yet. It made me cry to think of the neighbours that weren’t there all of the sudden. It was a long time Tristan even didn’t really see what to do next. He really wanted dad. As we got ready to set out though, he had assuredness again. Sometimes he didn’t look very well. Either way, we didn’t want to wait for the water to come down anymore.

Our boat was going to be safe. We could only take so much stuff though. The water wasn’t very cold and we had life jackets. Maybe that’s why we survived. Time was very slow rowing. Tristan moved as fast as he could. There wasn’t a sail we had. Who knew what was beneath us. Sometimes there was nothing for miles, just like the ocean. It was the ocean, I guess.

We thought we were going to sink once. It was the edge of a tower. It made a loud screech. Maisie screamed in panic. Tristan said it’s okay. And ten minutes later, my heart rate went down again as we didn’t sink or take on water. Sorry, Tristan said, we have no depth perception on board.

Walking again was weird. And that was the scariest. We didn’t ever realize the storm was really that big, that it was really everywhere. At least our radio was probably working, I thought.

One night in Toronto Maisie and Tristan were up the whole night talking. He couldn’t settle her anxiety. It was more like exhilaration. They loved each other so they forgot to be upset about all the people that had died. Maybe if there was someone to see them upset.

They didn’t make me feel lonely. I just felt like a boy then. He was so careful not to condescend me. It was kind of funny. I felt really well to. It felt like we could process it over. The important thing really was to make it through. It was a really unfortunate adventure.

Sometimes it was very cold at night. The wind would rip madly. I thought I heard voices around the halls, but it was nothing. My heart beat again when I thought of it. There weren’t any ghosts, I don’t think.

If there were it wouldn’t have surprised me, the things I saw. I really felt that people were still alive somewhere. The ghosts were my friends, I imagined. They wouldn’t have hurt me. There were enough things that were after us by this time. The skies flashed red and golden. The world itself scared us. It was so mean and heartless.

For a while Maisie was very withdrawn. I was a little hurt by it. She didn’t acknowledge me for a few days. Something happened while we stuck in the house. I think eventually they knew they were being a bit wrapped up in it so they opened up some. They were arguing audibly. They don’t ever yell. Tristan was trying to soothe her. She was quite upset. What if I am, she said? I don’t think you are, I heard him say. That was the question whether she was or wasn’t. I don’t think we have been uncareful, I heard him say. It wasn’t so long we were trapped. You’re feeling scared. Maisie thought she might be pregnant.

I guess that wouldn’t be a good thing. Who knows if we’d have things to eat and stuff as it is. It was kind of interesting. It made us forget how alone we were, maybe that’s where she got the idea. I don’t know. I never heard anything. I must have been asleep.

They were arguing for twenty minutes or so. Then they talked about other things we needed to think about. I heard sort of heaving when she talked. Then she calmed down. After that last all she sort of forgot about it, and realized she probably wasn’t. Then she acknowledged me again, though she was kind of holding back some still.

Maybe I was kind of like there kid. I hope I didn’t make them feel like they had one. Oh well. I think they felt they had to go on seeing someone out of a need more and more, instead of less, and they loved each other.

I didn’t really know what to do about my loneliness. I really missed my friends. Sometimes I talked to myself, but only a few words, maybe to make myself feel better, and then I’d stop. Tristan wasn’t going to think I was crazy if she heard. Who wouldn’t try to make themselves feel better? It was best not to make a habit of it though.

At night on the boat it was very scary. There was still wind sometimes, and Tristan had to stay awake to steer the boat away from crashing into waves. I suppose we would have been okay. It wouldn’t have been okay if we lost our boat. It was possible it could get damaged. It made Maisie cry. What was going on out there, I thought.

I felt like that a lot on boats. It didn’t feel as predictable as land. So I was reminded of this every time I realized we were still okay. The boat just kept on going, we kept rowing.

I think I knew what was bothering Maisie now. We had spent a lot of time together now. She wasn’t lying to us. She wasn’t lying to Tristan. I think he sort of told me through his hints that it isn’t not true that she had hooked up with a number of people, but I think he took her virginity. I actually was a little surprised they were together. Maybe the bond of first love was there. She was desirable, very attractive, Tristan’s love for her kept her spirit going a lot.

I hardly knew whether that made me special to them after all. I don’t really know. At first, I didn’t even want to speak. I didn’t have anything to say. The step mom was so mean. She didn’t really ask me things. I didn’t think anyone would ever for a while. It was just me in the world.

I was getting scared at what was going on, I was kind of the everyone else, that didn’t see it coming. Even if I was a kid, I was self-absorbed. I cared about my own issues, about how fighting for me I had to be, then all this was happening, and sort of really were alone, and I still wondered if it was for the first time. Near the end of the boat ride I thought over and over did I use the phrase my brother too often, I always thought my brother, my brother.

I was Richard Parker I guess. He loved me in spite of my selfishness. I feared I refuse to go overboard as much as he refused to be the one to send me overboard. It made me nervous I would seem indolent being there not doing a whole lot. I didn’t want to appear the animal. That was the first time I ever tried to be human I think. One time I even asked Tristan if we had any forks and knives, but he said we had none.

I tried to keep from worrying, but it was hard because we had so much time, when nothing was happening. It was helpful to think about what we were doing, to plan ahead, but this was too much. I hoped I wouldn’t wake up in a year or so with perverse shell-shock syndrome.

The skies above us were still red and orange. Sometimes it rained and I was so cold I couldn’t feel myself shiver. I almost hallucinated. Tristan was starting to look like Chris Martin, and Gwyneth Paltrow was sort of sitting next to him, pursing her lips. He wasn’t rowing so much as rhythmically playing viva la vida. The water looked redder in reflection of the sky as I drifted into exhaustion and approaching slumber.

I came to think it was all a dream. A dream that came before life. Like a survivor of world war II, a child adrift, without a home anymore, gone, a dream of innocence.


I guess there was a sort of moment when it felt almost over. But that was almost worse, because then you had to wait for the moment when it was all the way over. What made me feel better is I felt the love of Maisie, mostly for Tristan. He was trying to rebuild the world, like God on a smaller scale. And our family emerged, in tatters, here on the other side of the world.

Toronto wasn’t the town it use to be. There was only our settlement, here and down the way, the two towers. I felt comfortable with Ontario, it felt like in some larger way it was a new home, like a migration but just this moment when you kind of have to really go for it. That felt like a selfish interpretation of a universal event, but I don’t know. I really focused on trying to help people, especially Dad, with the restoration. That’s what made me feel better. That’s what made me forget about my worry.

In a private place I actually hoped there would be a shrink, one that had been through this, that could help me make sure I recover. I never thought I needed to see one before, but his was one of those heightened moments, where it wasn’t something to be embarrassed about, I thought. Not that there was protocol for something like this. But talking helps. Like the reason that Tristan is always writing. It’s relieving to be vulnerable.

I imagined the things I would tell him. I would be nice. I would be honest. There was nothing to hide about an experience like this, and I kind of hoped it would give me a chance to talk about things before, before she died.

I thought I need time to heal from that anyways, to think about what to say, some times people asked me but I didn’t want to sound weird.

I didn’t know how to console Tristan through Maisie’s death. That was a tough day, a number of hours before she died, with the child.

I thought about whether she was trying to become pregnant again, and maybe she was, I think she knew for a while she had no family. The shock of it sent her over more than anything. He really wanted to have those moments back. I don’t know if he ever could. He was obsessed with time because he wanted to stop something like this. Tragedy doesn’t stop bleeding us until were dry.


Slowly, a thread emerged emerged between different cities, different civilizations… and the world recovered some. I didn’t know how many people had died. Maybe sixty million, one hundred million, people were saying two billion, but I didn’t believe them.

I’d been very sad lately. I didn’t feel like doing anything. Fuck people that want to do things all the time. There is no point, in the end. There was a feeling that had overcome, that I hadn’t felt before, this whole time, and I hated what had become of the world. We would never be the same.

My father and I were sitting around in the lobby area, around a corner, late, after everyone had gone to bed. We were talking of future technologies, restrictive legislature.

Did someone do this to us, Dad?

What do you mean?

Did someone do this to us, Dad?

No. I don’t think so.

I thought this wasn’t coming for years.

No. It’s here. And it might get worse. A lot, a lot worse.

Where will we go?

Wherever we can, I suppose. That’s the thing.

Like, Mars? Venus?

Something like that I suppose. The President and I were actually chatting about an international space station, a floating city, quite seriously.

Do we have the technology for that?

Oh yes, oh yes.

That sounds positive. That’s something. Can I tell you something?

Yes, of course.

I really do feel sort of chosen, at this point, like all of this wasn’t random.

No, no, I suppose it wasn’t.

After this, I know I said I feel I have a purpose, and that everything is related. But do you think there is a God now? Is he, dead?

Well, I supposed given something like this, I suppose there is no god, no there is no god, how about that then.

Is there any sense in our lives then?

Well, there is some.


In what we’ve created. The meanings of our actions imbue us together. We have laws, structures. There is some stability in what happens in the Universe.

So maybe we’re going to be alright?

There’s a chance we really will be alright, after this is now all over it seems. The world cannot end twice. Though, I’m not so sure about Allister.

Her death wasn’t something I could really come to terms with. After a while, I couldn’t feel better, but I could see that it was never safe. We weren’t safe yet. Things were more chaotic than they’d ever been before. It made me anxious about what the world would be like. I didn’t feel as strong without her. I wanted everything to continue the way we had it, I felt there was more there for me to experience authentically. The memories were encompassing, and yet they couldn’t continue, I loved them, but I couldn’t have as many of them as I now wanted. It’s funny that I was trying to look after her. But I couldn’t help sometimes thinking we hadn’t done enough. Even though resources were short, and no one had expected to live really, it still was the most unfortunate, and unwholesome feeling. I guess that’s what had become of things. I missed her. Eventually I would heal, maybe with her on my mind, I would heal. With the world, I felt a deep grief, and a strange desire to really make the world better, maybe more than myself.

It didn’t mean being a new man, at least not at first. I didn’t know for sure again what the next steps were. Life is like that. It shakes you up sometimes. If we could all know how to find our path right away again.

Someone passing away is difficult. When someone you love passes away, there are no positives. I’m being redundant. Loss is what you think. It never comes back to you. It’s in the past, irrecoverable.

My Dad was the one that I talked to about it. He wasn’t a trained professional, couldn’t really help me with grief. Sometimes it felt like we had already talked about everything, and that I could only open so much with a man that I knew. I thought about how I was experimenting with trying to be open. Trying to hold new experiences together in myself.

Maybe there was more to the way life and death could come to us. It was confusing and frustrating. I wanted that person back, I wanted to be with them, in life, maybe in death, but dying didn’t bring me back to that person, it kept us separate, it took even the memory.

So I was disheartened about the restoration. My personal apocalypse was too acute. No one could understand, even though I could explain it to them in a million words or so. The people in the world, maybe they didn’t think about it the same way. I guess I didn’t want to feel lonely. An absence like that was final, and it was a task of acceptance.

I contributed what I could to the President’s efforts, though he knew I was hurting. What he contributed for a society was completely selfless. He knew I was not selfish, but this left a wound in me, that I could hardly recover from easily. I couldn’t spend time with Allister, I didn’t feel like making friends, even like talking much. I wallowed some, though I wasn’t really one for wallowing.

After a while, I wasn’t feeling better, but I was feeling more like I could do things. The president gave me something I could help him with. There were all these inventories of people that needed help. People that survived, people around the world in difficult circumstances. Enough people died, we find out about more and more constantly, so work with the ones that are alive, he said.

I would investigate there circumstance, voice call them, see how they were doing, and ask what they needed help with. I deployed a whole task team. That was fun. Then I started sending individual responders here and there, and they would determine what task they needed to carry out. I felt sad more again because sometimes we could only help so much.

There wasn’t much to do. The end of the world did away with many of our excesses, and entertainments. I could only spend so much time with the world as it was. In that way, I was starting to feel much better.

There was more to what was happening overseas. There was more destruction than we knew, people had been more frustrated than we realized. We weren’t in touch enough with what was happening, with so much communication completely down. Of course we were a much smaller task force now. We were scared for our civilization, our international reputation was only something we could use for mercy now. No one wanted to invade us. No one had thought of making things even worse, by this time anyways.

Sometimes I saw Maisie around the hotel. It was just a vision, I had to realize for the first time, each time, it was just another memory of her, another look, another glance. Sometimes Allister would say things to me and I wasted for Maisie to answer him. Adjustments were one of the last things I thought about, I suppose.

We walked all the same ways through the city we would with her, in her memory. Maybe it was tougher that way, but that made me feel better as time went by, that something of her was alive. I wished that more people could mourn her with me. I wished more people were alive to mourn her with me.

We held a town meeting, and things as they were, the President attended. People would ask questions, of various natures. I could only ask if anyone missed Maisie. They took me seriously. Some people remembered her convincingly. I was able to shift the conversation to the continued mourning of our lost ones.

They must be struggling with death. They all must be struggling with the death of someone. Everyone had lost someone. It wasn’t something you could avoid. There was no avoiding those aspects of life.

But there were many things that would take our mind from these tragedies. We suddenly remembered many things we could do without watching t.v., without a game to watch. More doing was healing, and it made us eager to make the world again. Sometimes you really hope it just wouldn’t crumble down again.

Months past and when the spring came, we planned an expedition. We’d go off, now that some of the pollution had cleared, and see what we could find. There might be other places we could settle, someday, valuables we could recover. The world was suddenly full of things that no one owned, and it was time to repossess them.

We drove off in a nice suv, behind a line of a hundred cars. For a while we played music, but it all seemed to happy. We had to turn it off and drive silently, and just observe the scenery. Rivers had overflown and forged new paths, there were craters the size of city blocks in the earth, and a quiet, among all creatures, that made collective silence that no had ever heard before. The beginning of the word was hopeful, nervous, the end of the world was very somber. The end of the world was slowly destructive, it was too sad and large to destroy itself completely, suffering and remaining even a little wistful after it’s life, leaving us to find new ways to inhabit it, and make a better way of things.

City after city we found less than we thought. Even in times of disaster we can shelter our knowledge of things. We found bits of food in houses that were left sometimes, but it was all contaminated. The goods were almost always ruined, shattered, and there wasn’t much we could do to correct this.

We found little emblems, things people wanted to be found, other than that, when we stopped at the campsite I had never felt so tired and weary before. Setting up my tent, I felt like we were were looking for nothing, just looking at the destruction that happened in the world. Not much else. I couldn’t fall asleep, and when we woke up it took everyone a while to be ready to drive again.

We drove through several cities that day and we found nothing. We came to a precipice, and we had to stop our cars, while we figured out a way around. I walked to the edge of it, and looked down. The sky was blue and green with strange elements. We weren’t looking for anything. We were just observing, the witnesses of our moment in time.


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