So the time had come for the universe to end. It had to happen sometime, and now seemed as good as any. This is what the Lobridham thought, for they were ageless and wise. What time meant to them was altogether different from what it means to us, to them it is the endless dripping into a bucket that will never fill. To us time is the most precious thing we have. The Lobridham felt that they should commemorate the occasion. They decided to throw a dinner party. The Lobridham love to throw dinner parties.
Raul idly shuffled through the mail, throwing the junk mail in the trash and setting any bills on the table to opened later. He came across a large envelope with his name on it in a large ornate font. The paper was sticky and it smelled oddly; still he felt compelled to open it, as it was easily the single greatest piece of mail he had ever received. He tore it open and found an invitation, written in the same ornate font. It was a invitation to a gala dinner commemorating "The End". The end of what he didn't know, it was very cryptic. The invitation said he could bring a guest, and though things had lately been icy between them, Victoria was the first person he thought to bring.
Victoria and Raul stood by the car. They had parked near where the instructions had told them to go to await pickup.
"And what are we waiting for?" Victoria asked, somewhat vexed by the cryptic nature of the evening. Raul had told her nothing about it, only that it was a gala dinner to commemorate the end of something. What it was, he wouldn't say (though he himself didn't know). He didn't know who or what had invited him to this even, and he would only say that it "had a very ornate font and seemed important"
when she asked. Truthfully she didn't even know why she had come, she had been aching to break up with him for a while now, and she had been perpetrating the distance between them, hoping he would take the hint. He hadn't, so they found themselves standing here, night's cold encroaching on them, not knowing if or when they were going to be picked up. Victoria was about to tell him that she was going to leave, when a great light descended from the sky. It bleached out the sky and Raul was still trying to wipe the white spots out of his eyes when they found themselves in what seemed to be a tremendous lobby to some kind of hotel, though it was the kind of hotel that they had never conceived of imagining before. Strange creatures scrurried, slimed, skulked and slithered around the elegantly decorated room. Victoria and Raul tried to to stare, but they were unsuccessful, though many of the creatures there would not have known what a stare was, much less what it connoted.
"Excuse me." Victoria said, trying to flag down some incredibly tall creature who's face appeared to be composed of a single compound eye. The creature didn't acknowledge them, and proceeded down the long hallway, which seemed to extend infinitely in either direction. "Rude." She said when he was gone.
"He probably didn't understand you." Raul said.
"Well at least I'm trying to do something. You're just staring."
"Don't you think this is stare-worthy."
Victoria rolled her eyes. "I don't care, I just want to know what's going on."
"Perhaps I can be of assistance." A chipper voice from behind them said.
They turned around and where greeted by a five-foot tall gelatenous blob. "Sorry to have frightened you. My name is Vuuuurrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmm (which, when spoken aloud sounds like a car speeding by quickly on the highway), but you can call me Vicky."
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Raul and this Victoria." Raul said, extending his hand, but then pulling it back quickly, either because he didn't want to offend a creature that seemed to have no hands or was afraid of what appendage it would use to reciprocate the gesture.
"The pleasure is mine." Vicky said, bowing with a grace that was suprising for such a creature. "You must be exhausted, I'll have The Churd show you to the Space-bar, many other invitees have gathered there."
"Excuse me." Raul said. "But, ummm, why are we here?"
"You are guests of the Lobridham, they are throwing a party to commemorate this occasion?" Vicky replied.
Instead of asking the questions that Victoria thought obvious, such as: "Why us?" "Who are the Lobridham?", "What occassion is it?", Raul asked: "When does it start?"
"In approximately 12 Vlorks. Excuse me, I must attend to some of the other guests." Vicky bowed once more before undulating away.
"What's a Vlork?" Victoria asked.
"A Vlork is roughly equivalent to the amount of time it takes your planet to feebly wobble around on its axis." A tall humanoid next to them said. He had long stringy hair, large forehead ridges and a warrior's stare.
"Are you a Klingon?" Asked Raul.
"Yes." Came the gruff reply.
"Roddenberry got something right."
"Yes, though we do not eat Gagh."
"What do you eat then?"
"The flesh of our enemies and the foes we have felled in battle." With that the Klingon walked away.
The Space-bar was almost literally that. It seemed as though one was walking in the stars, that there was nothing below them but the very infinity of the cosmos. So one could only feel a sickly combination of excitement, fear and awe. And Raul wanted to hold Victoria in his arms and think about how one of the stars was their home and how there was a seeming infinity of stars. But he just sipped his beer, which tasted strange and awkward.
Finally the dinner had arrived. The table they sat stretched into the distance until those seated at it were small specks. Raul imagined that the table extended even further than it. Like the universe itself, he could imagine the scope of the table's length, but he couldn't do the same for the real manifestation of it, even though it was right there. He couldn't feel any sorrow for being left out of any conversation due to his location at the table, becaus he couldn't imagine the sheer number of conversations that were taking place across the vast expanse of table. The Lobridham appeared. Many of the creatures gathered treated them with a hushed reverence reserved for religious leaders, so Raul and Victoria did the same. They began to speak, and all were silent.
"Friends, though many of you we do not know, we use the appellation all encompassingly, we have come here to observe a most auspicious occasion. The end of the universe is nigh upon us, so we must celebrate."
Some of the dinner guests nodded sagely amongst themselves, others reacted with shock, some with anger. Raul just stared at his plate, trying to grasp what he'd heard and the fact that he'd never see his friends or family again. He wished he'd brought someone he loved. He wished he'd brought his mother. Victoria also wished she was back home, that she could be out enjoying the sun, basking blissful and unaware in the sun when all of existence ended. She tried to keep herself from crying. The Lobridham continued:
"Stars from Centauri to Kolob will collapse and vanish. Each star will blink and be gone, their planets will be torn to shred, their inhabitants and all their accomoplishments, their respective histories annihilated. And then all that will be left will be a barren emptiness, and seconds later that too will cease to be. We anticipate this to begin in approximately three hours or 1.5 Vlorks, or 1334.567 sub-ahlkels or....well you get the picture. Well, let the feast begin!
And with that servers begain streaming out of side rooms, bringing tray after tray of food. Most of it Raul didn't recognize, though he did have a hamburger. Some of the food was delicious, some was truly disgusting. The Lobridham interrupted and simply said: "It is beginning"
The ceiling and walls disappeared, it was once again like they were floating in space. The stars began to slowly die out, as if each were a candle being extinguished by the gentle puff of a child's breath.
Raul turned to Victoria. "I think we should say something."
"I guess goodbye."
"I would've liked for it to have worked out."
"Me too." She leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek.
This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick and Miriam Allred of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, Joseph Schlegel of Sour Mayonnaise, Sven Patrick Svensson of Sadness? Euphoria?, William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden, and WiL Whitlark of The Real McJesus. This week's theme: 'A Last Supper'.