Sometimes she sees me,
Staring into space,
“Where are you?” she asks.
I blink and I’m back. The TV is on. Some jingle is playing.
Her question makes me wonder and so my thoughts rush back along those neural paths, following the intangible threads of electricity that comprise my consciousness; where was I?
I know the simple answer, of course: I was in the Ulterkaad.
Forever I have walked this sullen desert of ashes.
There is sand beneath my shoes. The sand is grey. The sky above is grey. The clouds are grey. There is no sun or moon in this place, only a diffuse, insipid light that comes from nowhere and casts no shadows.
I am standing now on a ledge of lumpy black rocks and staring down at the Pit. Sand trickles past my ankles and I know it is not just sand but the microscopic remains of long-dead sea creatures, land creatures, civilisations.
Where am I?
The Pit drowns out all questions and all sounds. It is silent and massive and it is consuming the desert. It is consuming everything. I stand on the rocks and I watch the sand pour into the pit.
I can feel the pull of it, of course, it is an almost magnetic attraction, but the feeling does not concern me. I seem to have enough willpower to resist. But the sand has no willpower. Nor does the dead wood, or the rocks, or the ruins. Eventually, the Pit will claim them all.
“Where are you?” asks a voice from far away.
I do not remember accepting the role of the Craedus. In my youth I made many foolish pacts with devils and other powers besides. I cannot possibly remember them all.
The Craedus is the Last Man in Existence, or, The One Who Watches The End.
For all the time I have spent in this place, I have discerned one cosmic truth—there must always be an observer.
No tree ever falls in the forest. But here: everything falls. Everything except me.
I am standing at the End of Everything and I will watch it.