The Last Day of the End of the World

"A Run-Up to the Next Release," a short story by Odie Lindsey

clouds with sunburst coming through

The Last Day of the End of the World

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

A Run-Up to the Next Release

On the sixth day of the transition, of The Invasion, or Second Coming, or whatever else we’d taken to calling it by that point—having at first time-stamped it in the singular, a la 9/11 or 22 March, and later, with each revelation, by the hour and minute, e.g., 2:46, as was eclipsed by 16:14, then 9:36:36a, etc.—and which was next classified by global taxonomic consensus as The Consummation, and/or the viral media moniker, The Shiver, before at last designating itself care of a species-wide, intercortical audio tone, a sustained thrum which lifted gently in pitch (Over days? Weeks?) (The tone served to shoehorn us into a trancelike, post-time), akin to a Shepherd-Risset Glissando, paralytic, yet as calming as a grandmother’s hum, dolce accarezzevole, a tone which finally dolloped into a single, rapturous pulse, like some baptism-in-a-sink-drip—bwoop!—and to which everyone was subjected…we were given Everything.

We were provided an instant, mille-feuille layering of lessons that were at once vast and horizontal, fixed in meaning and without hierarchy, but which somehow still accelerated forward, a linear simultaneity: learn learn learn! Feel feel feel! We knew in heart, mind, and muscle what it was to live an entire life in another body. Another geography, another era. We were gifted the experience of being schizophrenic, or free sexed, or killed; we became astronaut and Aztec and Natterjack toad—and they became us. Our collective consciousness surfed the wave-rolls of both the first and second Big Bangs, and we were tickled to take in de facto, toss off appendices, such as the final decimal point of Pi (which rendered Pi a sputtering joke). In filmlike manner—so much of this portion was?—we were shown the lost landing points of Abu Bakr II’s expeditions. The scale and membranes of multidimensionality. We found everyone’s lost keys, and lost children. We understood asymptotic carbon star evolution as macro mitochondrial decay, and on and on and…

And having been made all right, all one, we understood that we’d been living all wrong: all of us some of the time, and some of us more than others. We thus consumed the last major correction, and were nourished by a collective empathy so vast that we could barely conceive of a time in which we worried or argued, let alone slaughtered over interpretive humanity. This immersive interiority, this shared transcendent meld, was fused to every neuron and synapse, to our very fermion marrow; “truth” was no longer up for debate, let alone definition, even conception. We were completed. Blossomed.

We couldn’t feel our toes. We had ripened somehow into a collective tissue, a biosocial, historical, scientific, and cosmic, heterotic gob of understanding—though love (best we could process its magnificence, anyway), was the overtone of all, given the joy that conjoined us in cytoplasmic, post-orgasmic trance. 

Love. Omniscience. Immobilization by awe. 

And then God came down and ate us. So here we are, waiting to be reborn. 

More Like This

My Father’s Faith Will Either Save You or Break You

Chapter One of "Revival Season" by Monica West, recommended by Jami Attenberg

Jun 2 - Monica West

7 Books About Faith and Feminism

Monica West, author of "Revival Season," recommends books about women who grapple with—or reject and replace—patriarchal religion

Jun 1 - Monica West

Stories Based on Jewish Folklore and Magic

Veronica Schanoes, author of "Burning Girls and Other Stories," recommends books about golems, dybbuks, and other Jewish mythologies

Apr 27 - Veronica Schanoes
Thank You!