Writing Excuses 10.3: Watching the end of the world

Writing Excuses 10.3 writing prompt: Take a character, and from that character’s point of view, describe their reaction to something horrific and awful, but do so without describing the thing itself.


The old man watched the world end. He knew that he should have been bothered by this, he knew that he should have cared. But he was two wars and uncountable battles beyond caring. When he had been a younger man, something such as this would have mattered, would have gotten a rise out of him. Heck, that was the reason he had gone to battle in the first place wasn’t it? The first Great Incursion?

Even then, the battles had been relatively clean. A thousand fighter jets no more than a swarm of gnats. Megatons of warheads dwarfed to pinpricks of light. A fight that lasted three days, claiming more than half the lives of the worlds most populous nations. But still. Clean. Clean fighting, clean deaths, clean annihilation. He had gone in knowing that there was nothing that he could do. Nothing that any of them could do. Yet he had gone.

And they had done it.

They had won.

The Second Incursion was worse.

Tiny, instead of huge; myriad rather than singular. Appearing in the shadows between two ears of corn, they ate and ate, gorging themselves on what humanity could ill afford to lose. It wasn’t fighters and warheads this time, it was chemicals and flames.

Many claimed that they couldn’t possibly be related to the First Incursion, they were far too different. The xenogeneticists put that particularly theory to rest, although there were few enough of those left when all was said and done. Few enough of any such lofty ideals in a world on the brink of starvation.

Now it was here. The mother of all things wrong in the universe and he couldn’t even bring himself to care. The Third Incursion.

It wasn’t clean like the First, nor all consuming like the Second.

Nothing like what he was seeing in front of him now, on a thousand channels, the individuals each with their fifteen minutes, fueled by an Internet just reborn.

Even when he felt the shuddering beneath his feet, the very plates that made up the world beneath him bowing to one far greater than they, he just couldn’t bring himself to care.


Not sure that I exactly got what the prompt was after, but I think it’s close enough to the idea. Horror–especially cosmic horror in the ilk of Lovecraft–is a genre I particularly want to try, for exactly this reason.

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