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The Day When the Final Struggle Is Over

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It’s the day when the final battle is over, and skeletons of swallows are already beginning to return. They don’t have beaks, and their white, hard-boiled eyes fly three inches forward of their semi-transparent faces, or generally on their aspect.

Skeletons of infants begin whimpering within the cradles, and a small skeleton of a doggy digs itself out of the ashes. It tries to seek out its collar, however fails and disintegrates melancholically into mush and bones. Then the whole lot is quiet for a very long time.

A person’s skeleton in an orange gasoline masks comes out onto the porch. He stares on the skeletons of chickens digging the radioactive ashes and listens to the pensive caving of crow skeletons on the lampposts. He stands, doing nothing as a result of the whole lot has already been accomplished. He’s simply watching, simply listening, simply feeling for the final time.

In the home he has left, a lady’s skeleton will get up from her mattress. She appears round. Nothing has modified a lot within the room. The home windows aren’t damaged; the wallpaper just isn’t scorched by fireplace. The one signal of the battle that has handed are skeletons of fish swimming within the fish tank. No bomb has fallen shut sufficient to actually destroy issues, to show individuals flip into one thing charred, flat, and flaky, to make them follow partitions like moist leaves, however the radiation has eaten up the whole lot product of flesh. It’s so quiet within the room. The air smells of one thing toxic, like diesel smoke.

The skeleton of a lady picks up her telephone, however it doesn’t work. She flips the sunshine change, however there is no such thing as a energy. She presses the facility button of her laptop computer, and it hums, coming to life. She is shocked to see that the web continues to be working. It really works in patches as if it isn’t the actual web, however the skeleton of it. In all probability it may well dwell with out individuals like a piece of prickly pear cactus chopped off from its roots.

She virtually jumps when she sees the message on the display screen. Her bones rattle. A shoulder blade falls on the ground. However she doesn’t care in regards to the shoulder blade. Anyway, there may be not a lot time left for her. Minutes or hours, at most.

“hello,” somebody writes.

“Hello!” the white, smeared in soot, bones of her fingers kind. “Who you’re?”

Her English is way from excellent. She lived and died within the nation the place nobody speaks English. Nobody reads, writes, or hears English. There was once plenty of indicators written in English, although, like ‘Intercourse Store’ or ‘Second Hand’ —generally it was ‘Cekond hend’, however the distinction was too delicate to be seen. Her life-long dream, her secret obsession was at all times to talk to somebody who knew actual English. It appears like her dream could come true now.

 “hows it going?” a stranger writes to her, “r u alive? i’m from us. nobody is alive round right here. i noticed you’re on-line and was curious. peace.”

Peace. What a wierd phrase. For a few years, the battle had been warming up its engine, standing immobile on the rails, like a monstrous diesel locomotive, and that sound vibrated each within the air and in everybody’s coronary heart. Then gazillions of bombs fell, gazillions of missiles have been launched. Sprawling burdocks of nuclear explosions shot up, blinding the solar, making the solar stunning however not likely essential, like a primary woman amongst many presidents. After which peace got here ultimately. An absolute peace that can final perpetually.

The bones of her fingers hit the keys.

“Hello! Not alive, nobody alive anymore, and also you? How are you doing? In case you agree write with me, it’s going to good. peace.”

A brand new message seems on the display screen.

“good to listen to from you. i’m doin good for a skeleton … nonetheless have 8 fingers that may kind. we are able to follow some casual English if u need. Joe”

“Need I?” she sorts. “Follow English is my dream. By no means had likelihood in my life.”

She’s been finding out English since she was six, though her schoolteacher couldn’t inform “how” from “now”. After ten years of examine, all her associates may say was, “My identify is that this and that.” However she’s at all times been extra hard-working and protracted than the others.

She was ten when an American delegation visited her college. Being the very best scholar in English, she needed to say one thing to them. She was so proud then, so excited. She stated, “Howdy, my identify is Lyn.” They smiled broadly, and she or he went on about her hobbies, impressed, “I like learn books. I like wash TV set.” She noticed of their eyes that there was one thing fallacious about it and had a sick feeling in her abdomen. She corrected herself, hurriedly, “I wish to noticed a TV set.” “I’m ten,” she added. “I’m excessive. I’ve huge inexperienced ears. Stunning inexperienced ears.” She meant eyes, after all.

New traces pop up on the display screen.

“i like biking,” the skeleton of a stranger writes, “and likewise music, generally i’m djing at small events. i like to journey. i additionally wish to learn and draw and naturally simply chill with some good individuals. i attempt to be adventurous when i can. i take pleasure in being outdoors and a few partying. what do you do for enjoyable? are you a relaxed or loopy woman? peace.”

When the skeleton of a lady was alive, she hardly traveled removed from residence, and she or he by no means went biking. She favored music, although.

“For enjoyable I did meny various things like studying books that are fascinating for me, play totally different video games. I’m not calm)) I can’t imeging me with out adventurous too. And I additionally like musik,” she writes.

He solutions instantly.

“what kind of music r u into? i hearken to principally hiphop and rock n roll … some outdated stuff too. u like to bop?”

The skeleton of a lady bites the bone of her index finger, like she used to chew the knuckle of it when she was alive, which at all times helped her focus, and ponders over the summary query: what dances would she like if she have been alive?

“I like hip-hop, home, electro home, minimal and many aged songs and widespread music,” she sorts. “I like dance very a lot, and what about you?”

He solutions after a pause.

“cool and loopy. if the time and music (and maybe the accomplice) is correct, i actually like to bop. however i’m not at all times within the temper. generally i simply need to chill when i’m out at evening. additionally, how outdated are you?”

She would flip seventeen in a month if she have been alive. The proper age. The most effective age to be.

Her dream to know English was impressed by her mother. As soon as, ten years in the past, Mom had an opportunity to get a job in Canada and flee from her gloomy, harmful homeland. Through the interview, she was requested a query. “What number of occasions have you ever been married?” However Mother didn’t catch what was stated. In her elegant handwriting, she wrote on the clean web page “eighteen,” as a result of she thought the query had meant “what number of years have you ever been married.” No Canada, sorry. These guys didn’t want professors of chemistry married eighteen occasions.

The skeleton of a lady sorts the reply. “Am 17. I like spek to you.”

She settles comfortably within the chair, however she is simply too fragile now, and even this small movement makes a few her ribs fall out. They rattle down onto the ground.

“i’m 22 and a leo,” the stranger writes. “leos i believe are a bit loopy and really proud. but additionally reliable. at all times a bit in love. i dunno, cool. properly i’m actually a leo. I even have the crimson hair one thing like a lion. you’ve got a favourite signal?”

She doesn’t know the names of the zodiac indicators in English and doesn’t know say about it.

“are you horny?” the skeleton of the boy all of a sudden asks.

One other rib falls. Now it’s mendacity behind her pelvis, the place she used to have her excellent behind. Can or not it’s known as horny, even within the remotest sense of the phrase? she thinks. She feels shy of the phrase ‘horny.’ She’s too younger. She’s stripped of flesh, however not of disgrace but. She already kissed and was kissed tons of of occasions, and she or he already had her first intercourse expertise, however that infantile disgrace stays in her the best way a snub-nosed piglet continues to exist in a hyperlink of sausage.

“Meny peoples seys that I appear like a black panther,” she writes, avoiding the direct reply, and provides, “you’re huge harmful!”

You’re a bit harmful, she means. She hopes he understands.

“sure a leo is huge and harmful,” he writes. “a black panther is an attractive animal for my part. a black panther is wise and quick and exquisite but additionally harmful, all good issues.”

The clock on the wall strikes six within the morning. It’s nonetheless so early. The final day in human historical past has simply begun. She appears out by way of the extensive window. At daybreak, the town is black and white Guernica stretching to infinity and past, however the colourful Dali is already spreading within the sky. How can individuals do that? she thinks. In all probability, nobody can dwell with out which means of their lives, and political psychopaths affected by nationalism and constipation attempt to discover which means in revenge, or territorial acquire, in contemplating themselves higher and nobler than different psychopaths affected by constipation and nationalism.

The skeleton of a lady listens to the chime of the clock fading away, then hears footsteps within the kitchen. Her mother’s skeleton seems within the doorway.

She strikes the display screen in order that her mother can’t see what’s on it. Mother has by no means authorized of speaking about intercourse. She was a agency believer in typical issues like love and marriage.

The skeleton of a lady squints to learn a brief query that has simply appeared on the display screen.

“u assume i’m too outdated haha?”

The skeleton of her mother desires to say one thing, however she doesn’t have lips or tongue, so she simply strikes her decrease jaw a few occasions. The jaw doesn’t maintain and falls to the ground. The skeleton of Mother appears at it, shakes her cranium, and leaves the room.

The skeleton of a lady listens to her retreating steps and kinds:

“Why you stated this?”

She is ready for a solution. One way or the other she is aware of she’s simply seen her mother for the final time. The clock on the wall counts away the sonorous seconds of loneliness. She feels an enormous disconnection with the remainder of the world. Maybe this world doesn’t exist and has by no means existed, she thinks. Will it exist after I fall into bones and soot? Maybe it’s going to. Or possibly not.

What about all individuals on earth? Will the world exist when there’s nobody to see it, to really feel it, to consider it? If a tree falls within the forest and there’s nobody to listen to its fall, did it fall in any respect? Will the rabid radioactive clouds eternally wander round, stretching downwards their cotton-wool fingers, hoping to seek out and kill the final survivors? Will the world be simply switched off like a DVD participant when there’s nothing fascinating to see?

The traces she sees on the display screen make her even lonelier. She brushes apart this momentary feeling.

“i’m virtually 2m. like 183. 182 now with out my scalp and pores and skin on my ft. i like that you’ve got all these darkish options … just like the panther. panthers have a beautiful physique. i used to be simply joking. however some women like their guys older. u?”

She doesn’t just like the phrase physique. She prefers boys who look into your eyes earlier than trying down at your naked knees. Maybe such boys exist solely in her creativeness. No, she’s not a panther. She’s somewhat a kitten inside. Her thought of happiness is to cling to somebody who loves you again and purr.

He writes to her once more.

“i’m solely teasing. i discovered you as a result of i simply joined kontakte and i used to be searching for one other lynn, a lady who i used to be alleged to be working with when i educate english. however i discovered you as an alternative, and i believed that possibly you’d know some english so i messaged you. inform me some extra about your self although … u have a favourite factor to do in case your complete day is free?”

The skeleton of a lady favored getting messages from her associates when she was alive. However she doesn’t bear in mind spell the phrase ‘message’. ‘A’ or ‘E’? She decides that doesn’t matter a lot.

“If my day shall be free I’ll go first to a library, than alternate therapeutic massage with my associates. You?”

She hopes she wrote the phrase ‘message’ accurately. However the skeleton of a boy doesn’t reply for an entire minute. Then he writes with pauses after each sentence, as if excited about one thing.

“i might sleep late … cozy in mattress. then i might get an enormous scrumptious lunch. then go bmx biking at a skatepark within the late afternoon. then swimming to chill off. then out to get together and luxuriate in some nightlife. then lastly late to mattress with a lady i like. then the therapeutic massage. therapeutic massage is a good factor … then sleep.”

Very typical, she thinks. All they want is intercourse, bikes, and big lunches. 5 years in the past, when she was solely twelve, she spoke to an actual, real English-speaking European. He had a beer stomach, a bike, and the oily eyes of a cat within the season. That European sat in a café within the market each morning. He pawed waitresses however gave good tricks to them. She had at all times needed to check her English, and that day she had her likelihood. She had been making ready for 3 days and was very nervous, however ultimately, she got here to an actual foreigner (to her, he appeared one thing like a white elephant—a uncommon factor and never a human being), launched herself, and spoke about her makes an attempt to grasp the language. He laughed and planted a playful kiss on her brow, so she went away happy with herself. The following day a waitress informed her that after she had left, the foreigner scratched his balding head and requested: “Who the hell was that? I haven’t requested for an underage whore.”

 “Cool, i such as you day,” she sorts.

The skeleton of a boy writes once more.

“properly i borrowed a bit out of your day. i wouldnt have thought to get a therapeutic massage in mattress when you hadnt impressed me. it was your thought.”

She imagines them in mattress: bare, with their telephones, exchanging messages. Hmm.

“I believe as an alternative therapeutic massage you need some one other factor with woman would you want in you mattress, and also you determined to not say it,” she writes.

She reads the reply on the display screen.

“possibly ….. possibly you’re proper and also you caught me … or possibly a lady does all these different fantastic issues first after which the evening ends with a therapeutic massage. or two massages. one for every individual.”

Maybe he’s totally different, she thinks. It could be romantic to speak on the telephone to a lady you like, even when she’s in the identical mattress with you and has already accomplished all of the fantastic issues she may. To make use of a phone to inform her about your love. So touching.

“I by no means thought of it, however it’s fascinating,” she solutions.

He solutions in a short time.

“precisely. particularly with you by my aspect. we’d be some scary fucking massagers.”

It has change into too private for her style. She likes retro issues, like relationship, speaking, pondering, proposing. All the pieces that makes the relationships sounder. Anyway, she doesn’t need to focus on intercourse with a stranger any longer. Even with a skeleton of a stranger.

“My father is a navy engineer,” she writes. “He makes weapons. Good bombs that kill solely individuals and go away issues secure.”

Weapons supposed to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. At some point Lyn heard, out of the blue, {that a} woman from her college had died in a railway accident. They’d by no means been associates. She didn’t even keep in mind that woman’s identify. However days after listening to about her dying, she felt as if some tender a part of her nature, the pores and skin of her soul, was bruised, which lent her a painful readability of notion. She seen that the world with out one individual had modified dramatically. The fact turned thinner, just like the air as you ascend the mountains. The times change into clearer, extra clear. Each small factor misplaced its solidity, and a few otherworldly sense confirmed by way of. She regarded on the youngsters enjoying in a sandbox, at a person holding a smiling child in his arms, at an outdated lady crossing the road and thought, if one dying modifications the world a lot, what if hundreds of thousands die? Everybody dies? Will all issues explode and switch into vacuum?

“my fathers a lawyer,” the stranger solutions, “i like vehicles. i used to drive a bmw. however now i’ve no automotive. u have a automotive?”

 “No, however I like Lexus,” she writes.

“sure i do prefer it,” he writes. “these vehicles are costly tho … so it’s a fantasy for me personal one. if i did personal one i will surely take you for a drive with me. would u like that?”

She smiles, in opposition to her will, in opposition to the chasm separating them, in opposition to all these billions of deaths, logically potential, militarily justified, politically essential, however inconceivable in some higher ethical sense. She thinks she likes this man, though she doesn’t perceive among the phrases he writes.

“Sure, I’d)))”

“id commerce you a therapeutic massage for a automotive experience when you had the lexus,” he writes and provides after a pause, “provided that you thought it was a good commerce after all.”

This time she is sincerely shocked. There’s one thing psychotic in it. Or is that this simply her creativeness?

“Therapeutic massage?” she asks.

He pauses, then writes slowly.

“it was a joke. i used to be saying that when you had a lexus i might love so that you can take me for a experience as properly. i might even provide you with a therapeutic massage if u let me are available your lexus, if u thought it was a good commerce.”

She thinks she can’t perceive the purpose of this joke, if it was a joke. She opens a dictionary. “Commerce: the act or an occasion of shopping for and promoting items and companies.” It doesn’t clear the matter up one bit. Why does anybody must ship a message to an individual in the identical automotive? Is that this boy proper within the head?

“)))I wasnt anderstend what do you imply))) For what do massages within the automotive after we are shut?”

However the reply she will get is much more puzzling.

“if simply plain intercourse is the whole lot you need”

All of the sudden one thing idiotic interrupts his phrases.

“Hello, please assist me win Hyundai Accent ))

please ship SMS with textual content 51_ 41З5 to number1171. Worth: $1. I would like your assist! As quickly as I win I promise to ship again $500.”

“what does all this imply?” he asks.

She feels ashamed, although it isn’t her fault. She sorts as rapidly as she will.

“Nothing, virus despatched this therapeutic massage.”

She waits. He doesn’t reply for a protracted whereas. All the pieces is so calm. The lifeless world is crumbling to items so slowly, so quietly. In chilly polar seas, skeletons of whales attempt to sing their final songs to the skeletons of their wives with skeletons of their unborn infants inside, however no sound is heard. Skeletons of sloths fall from the branches like overripe plums. Skeletons of lions comply with with the gaping stare of their bony eye sockets stumbling skeletons of zebras, nonetheless sleek of their disintegration. Skeletons of individuals burn slowly like sparklers, throwing the final sparks of their souls into the darkness round, looking for the final phrase that can make the world resonate like a guitar physique, however by no means discovering it. It’s ten minutes after six, nonetheless so very early. The following message unpleasantly surprises her.

“okay we are able to chat on there later. my laptop is a bit fucked up proper now anyhow so i’ve to attend too. within the close to future i hope although”

The bones of her fingers hit the keys.

“Don’t go away. There is no such thing as a future!”

He doesn’t reply for a few minutes. Then,

“possibly it’s too laborious to clarify right here. anyhow i’ve to go and say goodbye for the evening. its evening right here in us. im glad i received in contact with you although. it has been a pleasure. anyhow, hopefully you don’t assume i’m a creep or one thing.”

The display screen is empty. Oh my god, it’s throughout, she thinks.

The skeleton of a lady comes out onto the porch. She’s flaking like a airplane tree. Her bones are off-white, the colour of a full moon in a transparent evening sky. There’s a nasal cavity, somewhat massive, on the place the place she used to have a small, freckled nostril with a turned-up tip. She doesn’t have her left hand now, and most of her rib cage is already gone. The panorama is steaming like a sizzling bathtub. She feels bare with out her ribs.

She sees a heap of bones and the orange gasoline masks: all that’s left from the skeleton of her father, the navy engineer and creator of excellent bombs, who stood there some half an hour in the past, trying on the skeletons of chickens digging the radioactive ashes. All that’s left from his robust arms that used to toss his little daughter within the air and at all times catch her. All that’s left from his shoulders she used to take a seat on when he was giving her piggyback rides within the central park.

She has by no means seen earlier than that his cranium is so rectangular and his eyeholes are so shut collectively.

Her proper leg falls off, and for a while, its toe bones jerk, neurotically. She retains standing on her left leg, like an empty wineglass on its elegant stem. She doesn’t discover it troublesome to maintain her stability, in all probability as a result of she is as gentle as a feather now.

When she hears a comfortable distant honking, she appears up on the sky, startled. However within the sky, there aren’t any bombers anymore, and solely skeletons of cranes are flying so excessive above the land, so easily, so surprisingly, that the skeleton of a lady smiles and understands that the whole lot scary is already over, that the whole lot goes to be good any more.

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