The only thing that seemed to be moving at all were the specks of dust in the air. They glistened up as they passed through the rays of light falling down from above. Sometimes it seemed as if the dust had a mind of its own, moving about without any noticeable trace of wind, sometimes suddenly soaring high up into the air, only to coast back down a moment later.
Almost as hard to notice as the faint current of the air caused by the warm sunlight was that dust, too, comes to a stop some time. More and more of the specks settled down on the ground and walls or escaped upwards into the endless blue. And so, after a while, the glitter vanished from the air. Just like everything else, it became lifeless and still. Silent. Mute.
Humanity had long since fallen and been forgotten. All that remained were the vast structures and compounds that were smashed out of the ground. What purpose they served, what thoughts and efforts had gone into creating them, all of this had been lost to time. But time never stops, it never ends. In the end, time always wins, no matter the resistance you put against it, no matter how hard you try to make an imprint. Time will reclaim it all, return it to its natural state.
And so these buildings, too, started to break down and crumble under time's relentless grip. Plants and trees grew in places they were never supposed to, creating cracks and fissures, slowly but surely eroding everything that had ever been built. Monuments and remnants thought to be endless, all fell into ruin and obscurity, merging back together with nature.
All of this is fine. It is how it was always going to be. But there is one thing that is not how it was meant to be. Something unexpected that should have never happened. Something that I still cannot explain to myself. One day, from a moment to the next, the world simply stopped.
Nothing changed anymore. It still existed, it still swirled about the cosmos among the endless ocean of stars around it, but it simply stopped. It was as if time for this world head died along with it. The days still passed as the earth moved around the sun; the light still changed and lit up various parts of this forgotten world. But nothing else changed. No animal hushed about, no plant grew, not a single speck of dust moved at all.
In time's place stood an emptiness so vast and oppressive I could not form it into words. I suddenly felt tiny, powerless, cast out on this dead world to end with it. Forever forgotten without a single trace. The sun shone, but it was no longer warm. There was no place for warmth or even cold in this world. There was no place for anything but the emptiness– death in its purest essence.
There is nothing more quintessential to death than the void that follows it. Death removes something from this world, makes it nothing more than a mere memory, which too will meet its own end in due time. And so, too, can a world die. In a sense, memories are what give things life, give them existence. For without someone to contemplate it, it might as well not exist at all. There is no difference to whether it is there or not if there isn't anyone to observe it and keep it in mind. So it came to be that I realised my own demise.
As I faded into obscurity, so did the world with me.
Written by shinmera