the end of the story

Nothing happens at the end of this story. Yes, it’s that kind of story. To get technical about it, though, it is possible that something happens outside of the reader’s sphere of awareness. Let’s face it: that’s always a possibility. Someone might die, perhaps. For example, there is this one character. Across his throat stretches a sinewy silver scar, relic of a botched beheading. So, you know, given the previous attempt on his life, there’s probably a greater chance of him being killed off-page than one of the other characters, of whose possible prior brushes with death the reader is unaware and therefore are less of a factor in stimulating conjecture in the reader about off-page deaths in general.

There’s a bit of character development. Skeletal, really, by conventional standards. For example, Scarneck (let’s just call him that for the sake of convenience) lives with another person and the clickety-clacking of their long narrow limbs during frequent midnight lovemaking sessions often wakes the neighbors, who have short fuses and don’t shy away from confrontation. So, you know, the two of them have to deal with that delicate situation. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a direct path to a denouement or anything, though. But it plays a role, it plays a role.

At some point Scarneck and his paramour part ways, as is wont to happen in these kinds of stories. Here the plot grows murky as the reader suddenly enters Scarneck’s consciousness, which is a tenebrous locale, even for one already familiar with its formations. The natural structure of time and space dissolves and the reader is left dangling, so to speak, limbs occasionally bumping up against objects of unknown substance. It is a dark time of uncertainty for the reader, who is all at once seized by a persistent horror similar to what one feels in that moment of stepping into an elevator only to find the empty shaft yawning below.

Eventually the reader emerges as one does from a 20-mile naked march through the Mojave Desert with just enough water to prevent death: seared, parched, and disoriented. In this naked vulnerable state the reader creeps at an agonizing pace toward that final sentence of the last paragraph. And it is there, upon reaching the full stop, that the reader will confront Scarneck once again, as he steps out from the void that exists beyond all ending punctuation on the last pages of all stories written since the beginning of written storytelling. As the reader looks up then, dry mouth agape, at this looming apocalyptic figure, Scarneck reaches down, plucks the full stop from its resting place next to the last word, pops it into his mouth and swallows, thus annihilating the ending of what the reader has to admit had been a rather frightening story.

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