The End of the World

Halloween is always a special day over the Monson house.

That's why Mike chose today to tell you about the End of the World.

The End of the World by Mike Monson

Hal hid in the alley behind the diner where Karla waited tables every morning. He held a gun. While he waited, he prayed to Jesus and thought about the Reverend Jimmy Jack Collie.

The Reverend Collie said on the radio the world would end at midnight tonight. The Reverend Collie studied scripture for years, and he knew God’s word backwards and forwards. The Reverend Collie, he even knew God’s intentions—up to the minute.

So, if the Reverend Collie said at midnight tonight all the righteous folk would be sucked up into heaven, leaving only their empty shoes behind, then as far as Hal was concerned, it was true. It was gospel.

Most mornings Hal drank coffee at the counter while he watched Karla and prayed and read his Bible. He adored the beautiful Karla and did not understand why she liked her heavy-metal-rocker-wannabe boyfriend. The skinny guy dressed in tight black jeans and t-shirts. He wore big black boots. His face was pale and he dyed his long hair black, like charcoal.

Hal had taken the anti-schizophrenic-medication Zyprexa for seven years. But two months ago, when he first heard the Reverend Collie’s predictions, he stopped cold turkey. He wouldn’t need medication in heaven.

Hal planned to kidnap Karla and her boyfriend, take them to his trailer out in the country off of Paradise Road, kill him and fuck the shit out of her until seconds before midnight. Then, quickly, he would repent—just in time for the apocalypse. The Reverend Collie said there was only one way to get pulled up into the rapture and go straight to heaven: repent and take Jesus into your heart. Didn’t matter how horrible you were or what you had done.

Maybe he could even take Karla up there with him, if he got her to say the right words, got her to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior before the clock struck twelve.

He had a special outfit all picked out for her—a green silk lacy teddy and green high-heeled shoes. Classy, just like Karla.

For weeks he had visions of his last night on earth. Of Karla yelling, “Harder, do it harder! I want it hard, and rough!”

At 2:00 p.m., the boyfriend pulled up in his crummy old Chevy Impala and tooted his horn. As Karla came bounding out the back door, Hal ran over from his hiding place and pointed his gun at her chest.

“Get in,” he said, opening the passenger door for her. His plan was to get in the back seat, point the gun at the boyfriend and make them drive to his place. The usual ‘kidnap the woman and the man while stealing their car’ move. He’d seen it all before in movies. He knew what to do.

Karla saw the gun first, and stopped for a moment. But, when she saw that it was Hal who was holding the pistol, she gave him a little annoyed smirk.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Karla said. She peered in at the driver. “Wayne, it’s that stupid born-again asshole from the diner. Look, just look at him. Jesus, Christ, he’s holding some little gun. What a joke.”

Wayne looked over at Hal and laughed. Karla laughed too. Hal had never heard her laugh before. It sounded evil, like a devil’s laugh, like a she-devil. He’d never seen Wayne up close. He was shirtless today and Hal noticed one of those Satan-worshiper things tattooed on his chest, one of those pentagrams or whatever. Hal looked at the tattoo and at Wayne’s empty black eyes and he listened to Wayne laugh at him and he shuddered.

He wondered if he was already in hell, or if maybe the Reverend had got it wrong by a day or a few hours and he’d been left behind and all the sinners had taken over earth.

Oh, shit.

He dropped the pistol and started to run. Wayne had somehow gotten out of the car—super fast—and grabbed him by the back of the shirt.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going, asshole?” Wayne said.

Man, for a skinny guy he was strong. He picked up Hal like he was nothing. He took him back to the open door where Karla was waiting, the pistol in her hand. She laughed that horrible evil laugh again as Wayne punched him three times in the face and shoved him in the back seat.

Hal felt sick to his stomach as he watched Wayne get behind the wheel and Karla get in the front next to her man. She turned around and pointed the pistol at him. She smiled. Big. She’d never smiled at him like that at the diner.

Wayne pulled away. Karla put the gun down and loosened her long black hair from her usual tight bun. She shook her head back and forth and Hal finally saw all that hair hanging down, all the way to her lap. As he stared he watched the mane rapidly change colors from black to red and back to black again before turning into thousands of writhing, hissing snakes.

“Let’s take him home Wayne,” Karla said, “we could have us a little fun, don’t you think?”

“You bet,” Wayne said. “I’m always up for a little fun.”

Karla pointed the gun at Hal. She laughed her evil laugh and her face became a demon’s face. She said, “Jesus can’t help you now, dickhead.”

Wayne looked back at Hal out of the corner of his eye.

“Dude, you’ve got no idea what you got yourself into,” he said, laughing. “Karla is a real devil and she likes it rough and she likes it hard.”

Mike Monson recently moved to Hawaii, where he got fired from his first three jobs. He now works for a large retail store and is being very good. His book Criminal Love and Other Stories is available on Amazon for Kindle. His novella, A Scent of New Death, will be published soon by Out of the Gutter.