We never saw it comin'. The end I mean. It cut into us like a fiery sword from Hell, but far more brutal, serrations and all. Jay said we had it comin', said the Lord was after us whatever the shit that means. Claimed that God's children had fallen. They'd fallen since their arrival in that vast garden, meant to do nothin' but the Lord's work, but it turned out rotten. Rotten it was, and rotten is all it was ever meant to be.
There is no God. Never was. Any being claimin' that title is nothing more than the psychopathic kid with the lens over the ant hill. Jay don't know a damned thing. He was never nothing but an idiot anyway. Only a boy with a mother that wouldn't let up, hammerin' those lessons into him. No matter. He never meant any harm. It's his mother I wouldn't be so sure about.
Our small group has been lucky these past years. We've never been to the other side of the river, but no one really has since the reckoning. We heard there's a settlement over there, a settlement with food, with drink, with...people. But hearin' is different than seein'. Seein' is beleivin', or at least that's what the old timers said, the ones that remembered civilization.
Jay says to me that he doesn't like the waitin'. He thinks it's a coward's act. He says it's not right to just sit here and see if the other side flinches first. This game of chicken he calls it. He says we need to be more aggressive. I say he's young, lookin' to start a fight that may never come. He just twitches his eyes like the weight of the universe is tryin' to crush them shut. We'll sit on the river bank for hours debatin' this, tossin' the worn rocks on the bank into the ripples of the current. Us fordin that river could be like those rocks, I tell him. No one will ever see us again. Trust me, we're safer here. He smirks, he condescends, he outright defies, but he doesn't cross.
That naggin' feel I get sittin' on that river bank is enough to kill a man. His eyes burrowin' into my head like hot nails. I get this feelin' that he'll kill me one day, or try, and send me down that river for the fish, but that's not today. But it'll happen. I'll be found miles down the banks by the eagles and crows. It would be fitting for crows to be there, them bein' sigils of death and whatnot. They would be welcome guests.
Jay is poughting. Go back to camp, I tell the boy. Your mother's probably waitin' on ya'. He doesn't look at me. Just keeps starin' upstream into the coming twilight, another day in this dead paradise expired.
I can feel his fear. It's palpable in a brisk wind in these parts. The animals smell it. The wind blows it towards me, and I can almost taste it.