To whomever finds this letter,
I do not know what will have become of the world as I know it when these words are found, or indeed if they ever will be found. But I feel it is my duty to record the horrors of the last few hours of the world as it was until recently known. In the hopes that future sons and daughters of this great Earth may learn from the mistakes of us, their cursed forebears.
It’s funny, in a macabre sort of way, that the end would be heralded in such a mundane way. No great trumpeted roar from the bowels of the planet, or blood-red comet slashing its way across the still skies. But a poster. A poster no different from any other poster you’d see plastered to the wall of a building, or stapled to a telephone pole.
A poster with band names virtually indistinguishable from those on all the other posters tacked up on the bulletin board at the coffee shop. Advertising a show at a tiny bar not unlike the tiny bars on the rest of the posters hanging in the entrance of the record store. With the same nondescript artwork, drawn by the same friend of the band, as the others in the crooked lineup stuck to the wall of the university hallway.
The posters appeared about a week and a half before the events of the night that civilization perished. Few noticed these grim harbingers, and those who did gave them little heed.
I admit, I turned a blind eye to what I now see as an unmistakable foreshadowing of destruction. Ravens, silent sentinels perching heavily atop each streetlamp post this grim mark was taped to. Strange, unsettling glyphs drawn onto the sidewalks surrounding the community events boards the ghastly prophecy was affixed to. A terrible hooded Facebook avatar offering up free tickets for those willing to part with their souls.
Even now, after everything I hold dear was lost or slaughtered, I still do not know whether the bands involved were somehow part of the plot for the world’s demise, or if they were unknowing marionettes guided into gruesome pantomime by a much more sinister hand.
When I arrived to the scene, I was asked by the gnarled, ghoulish gatekeeper working the door if I was on the guest list, which I was not. I still maintain that the cover I paid was the toll that saved my life that night, that all those who were on that list of the damned were destroyed. But saved me for what kind of life?
If my suspicion of the apocalypse had before been only a distant inkling, stepping into that dank bar turned it into a very real fear. An opening band mewled listlessly in some offensive tongue and lurched with shambolic determination toward something obscene only it could see. A member of one of the other bands hissed and spat venom at a bartender in dispute over a bigger bar tab.
And scattered in ragged clumps around the stage were stagnant-eyed patrons, absently gulping at drinks to dull their senses to the mounting onslaught of doom around them. Were they all, like me, morbidly drawn to this hexed gathering by some intangible force they were greatly unsettled by but too fearful of to disobey? Or were they all just friends and family of band members who weren’t quick enough to create an excuse not to be here?
I drifted amongst them with a growing sense of unease. I had a horrific moment when I came upon the merch table, and face to face with the hollow spectre tending it. A poor, wretched creature, girlfriend to one of the band members. No doubt once quite beautiful, now a shadow of a person, like a child’s crude Crayola approximation of what a human being looks like.
Her eyes were dead galaxies in which I could see the ghosts of every lively social engagement she’d passed up to sit disenchanted at the head of this table. Doomed to hawk misshapen idols printed upon t-shirts that cracked and flaked in the atmosphere outside of the boxes that had long ago become their crypts.
As I backed away slowly, almost paralyzed with disgust, I became aware of a burgeoning sensation of dread in my ears. One that spread like a ravenous cancer to my heart, and dropped with an uncontrollable messy splash through my anus. I knew with unassailable certainty that this was the end. I turned to see that which I already knew I would see. The main act had taken the stage. And, in a cruel knife-twist of brutality, had not done their sound check beforehand.
I tried to exit the building, but it was too late. I saw briefly through the closing doors that fire was already raining down upon the streets, and jagged thrusts of ice were erupting from sewer grates and manholes. The crowd inside was cheering now, a nauseating sound like a chorus of half-run-over dogs. The stage lights blazed on with hellish fury, just as the guitarist hacked out the first chord. And I knew then that all was lost.
What happened after that I cannot recount in this letter. To spare you, poor reader, and because the specifics of that horror are indescribable. The world was never again as it was after that monstrous night of cosmic abandon and indie rock. Few survived, and even fewer know what really happened.
I think I might be the only one who escaped ground zero unscathed. Physically unscathed, that is. The terrors are unrelenting in my brain. And so I leave this record. Before I take my own life to finally escape the rancid demons that continue to torture me.
So I ask any who may chance to read this to heed my tale, and carry forth my message. And that message is this: Jimmy, your shitty band really sucked Friday night and you’re really an asshole. Worst show ever.
Photo by FlickrDelusions via Flickr