To be a failure is to be nothing. Thuraya had learned to be nothing, being no more than a afterthought in the minds of the gods. However, it was hard to accept that one’s existence was equated to that of an insect’s. She had spent too long trying to convince them that she was more than a failure. It was time wasted on people who were unwilling to change their minds. The gods were not fickle, and they held steadfast in their judgement. So, she had to stay an afterthought.
She had also learned that no one would save her from this fate, not even her creator. In this regard, Thuraya considered Irkala the worst offender. She looked back at the time she considered the god her father with disdain. He cast her away without a single glance back. In the beginning, she had hated him, but that hatred had melted into bittersweet indifference.
Now, it was all meaningless since today was the end of the world; the end of everything. She would not exist nor would the gods nor would the people who walked the street below her. Thuraya could hear the sounds of the city from her tiny apartment, and she saw the busy crowds when she pushed back her curtains.
On the street, some wore gas masks to protect them from the black cloud that covered the world. Others walked barefaced, having gotten used to the befouled air. Intermittent showers of corroding rain pelted them. The neon signs of the buildings pierced through the cloud and highlighted everyone in bright purples, blues, greens, and yellows.
Thuraya watched as they walked down the street without knowing that today would be their last day alive. She wondered how they would react if they knew. Would they do whatever they wanted without a care in the world? Would they stress about what to do and end up doing nothing? So many options and so little time.
A knock at the door startled Thuraya out of her thoughts. She had not been expecting someone, and there were few who cared enough to visit her. Walking to the door, Thuraya opened it with a smile. Her friendly expression froze when she registered exactly who was in front of her.
“Can I come in?” the god asked. Thuraya’s gaze was transfixed on the swirling galaxies and constellations that travelled the god’s skin. It had been a long time since she had seen him.
Thuraya replied, “Why are you here?”
“I wanted to see my daughter one last time.”
Thuraya scoffed, “I am not your daughter.”
A sad expression crossed Irkala’s face. His body slumped from its too rigid posture, and he averted his eyes. Irkala responded, “You were.”
“Yes, were. That time is long gone.”
“Thuraya, please, can you not allow this as my last request before eternity ends?”
Thuraya gave Irkala a hard stare before sighing and opening the door further. “I will give you one minute.”
Irkala brightened, hurrying inside the apartment. Thuraya closed the door behind him with a heavy thud. She watched him observe the apartment before taking his seat on her couch. He said, “I like your decor. You’ve always had an eye for that sort of thing.”
“Forty-five seconds remain.”
“Since the clock ticking, I will make it quick. Will you spend the end with me?” Irkala looked hopeful, “I know we didn’t part on the best of terms, but I’ve missed you.”
Thuraya crossed her arms, “Is that all?”
“It is my last request.”
I will have to decline,” Thuraya gestured to the open door, “You may leave now.”
A frown pulled at Irkala’s lips, and he stood up. However, he made no move toward the door. Thuraya waved her hand again, motioning for him to leave. Irkala’s frown deepened, and he asked, “Will you never forgive me?”
He snorted, “One day? There are no more days left! I don’t want us to end like this!”
Thuraya closed her eyes and took a deep breath before slowly exhaling. She was not ready to forgive him. She wondered if she was selfish for that. When he had first wronged her, she had wanted him to beg for her forgiveness, and he had. In the hundred of thousands of years that she had been alive, he had apologized to her numerous times. Moreover, no matter how many times she scorned him, he still told her he loved her. Despite the small vindictive part of her that said she wanted them to end like this, she knew there was no reason for them to stay at odds. She could end it.
But she wouldn’t. “Your minute is up. Please leave.”
For the first time in her life, Thuraya saw a god cry. Crystalline tears welled up in Irkala’s eyes and slid down his cheeks, turning into gems as they hit the ground. Irkala cried, “Forgive me! I’m sorry for what I’ve done. Please, just forgive me.”
There was a pain in Thuraya’s heart that grew the more she listened to Irkala’s pleas. Watching her creator beg for her forgiveness as he cried was too much for her, so she left. She ran down the hallway and the stairs. She didn’t stop running until she made it to a street bench. She caught her breath and sat there until the pain in her heart had been soothed.
Rain began to fall as if Kinyar wanted to punish her for hurting Irkala. She sighed and prepared to feel the stinging pain of the rain hitting her skin. However, it never came. Confused, she looked up and saw that an umbrella protected her. She traced the hand holding the umbrella to a familiar face. Against her wishes, a small smile spread across her face.
Thuraya shook her head and said, “You were an old man the last time I saw you. Now you’re as young as when you were first created.”
Galen laughed, “What can I say? Living with the gods did wonders to my complexion.”
“Why are you here and not with Irkala?” The words of Galen’s parting letter flashed into mind. She assumed he would have stayed on the cosm pane until the end of everything.
Galen’s wince told her that his departure was not a voluntary one. He replied, “Paradise doesn’t want you anymore if you break certain rules too many times.”
“I’m going to guess you’re referring to your fascination with Severin’s soul.”
“It’s Erik now.”
Thuraya rolled her eyes, “When are you going to leave that boy alone?”
Galen moved to sit next to Thuraya, keeping the umbrella over them the whole time. A pensive expression crossed his face. “When he’s satisfied.”
“Well,” Thuraya said, “I suppose he’ll have to be satisfied with being Erik.”
“I suppose so, but maybe the end is what he was waiting for.”
A third person joined Galen and Thuraya on the bench. Thuraya knew who it was before the person had to speak. She turned to look at the demigod with a raised brow, “You’re here too?”
“I couldn’t miss the party. The end is soon, and I wanted to be with friends,” Mynoria smiled. She didn’t have an umbrella with her to ward off the rain, but it was unneeded. The rain bent around her as if it was afraid to touch her. Not even Kinyar was brave enough to confront Mynoria head on.
Galen replied, “I don’t remember us ever being friends with you.”
“If you talk like that, you just might hurt my feelings.”
“Me, hurt your feelings? Don’t make me laugh!”
Mynoria flicked Galen’s nose. Thuraya laughed at the glare Galen gave her in response. It had been a while since they had all been together. The history they shared had led them to keep their distance from one another. And the new life they had forged went on without each other. Besides, Mynoria had never been a part of her life after her demotion, flittering in for a second during the fiasco with Severin.
Thuraya asked, “Mynoria, have you been keeping track of your family?”
“It’s hard to care about them once it goes past the great-great-great-great grandchildren. At that point, there’s hardly any part of me or Malek left,” Mynoria responded.
Galen turned to Mynoria in surprise. “You and Malek, huh? I didn’t expect that, but I probably should’ve.”
“You were the one that facilitated our meeting,” Mynoria softened, and a small smile quirked her lipe, “I miss him.”
Thuraya said, “I know how you feel.”
Vera’s death had hit Thuraya hard, sending her into a sprawling depression that had almost turned into the wastes. Vera had been the love of her life, and Thuraya would never be the same without her. She would trade anything to have one more second with the asteris. That’s all she ever wanted: more time. More time with Vera and with Nessa, but she won’t get what she wanted. She wondered if immortality was her curse. It was a miracle Galen was still with her, but that was only because Irkala had taken an invested interest in him.
Galen sighed, “Are you two satisfied with everything?”
“No,” Thuraya was quick to say, “I wish almost everyday that I could change it all.”
Mynoria replied, “I am.”
“You are?” Galen asked.
“When faced with death, I feel that the only thing I can be is satisfied. I lived a happy life, for however short it was, with the man and children that I loved. And when everything restarts, I’ll do it all over again.”
Thuraya closed her eyes and leaned her head back. She saw the clouds clear, and the rain petered to a stop. The sun, using all of its might, shined through the world smog. It hit the remaining droplets of water, refracting beautiful rainbows into the sky. All around them, people stopped and stared at the unusual sight. Tears began to well up in Thuraya’s eyes, and she sniffled quietly.
Mynoria asked, “Why are you crying?”
Thuraya shrugged her shoulders, raising a hand to wipe at her tears. “I guess I’m sad that it’s over. All I had were my memories, and everything I’ve experienced will fade with me. ”
At her words, tears gathered in Galen and Mynoria’s eyes as well. Galen said, “You’re making me sad too.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
So the three of them sat there, crying on a street bench as they waited for the end of everything. Thuraya was sure that the passersby were judging them, yet she couldn’t find it within herself` to care. She took in a deep breath, inhaling the dirty air. As she exhaled, somewhere deep within the darkness of reality, everything collapsed to a singularity.
Right before their end, Mynoria turned to look at her and said, “It all begins again.”