Monks Who Dream Earth

                

                When the monks prayed for the end of our world, we did not disappear all at once—just as belief is not shattered in a night—only gradually did our reality chip away. Holes in space and time replaced by nothing. It was hard to notice, at first. The occasional spot of white where there should be meadow, or building, or air. The sluggish sun dragging itself up from the horizon across the sky. Briefly hesitating, as if it feared that each coming day might be the last. It falls, and in the darkness, in the shroud, we are choked more and more by dream's womb. Couples, families, disappeared from their beds at night with nary a trace. With their sheets still warm, or their dinners still uneaten.

One by one, these Monks, they stopped believing in us all.

                "Why do we dream of them?" They wonder, cloistered in rags and poverty's squalor, "This world that cannot be?"

                Their priory drifts through night, around them howling oblivion. Their earthen halls, stone chapels, dank and dripping in the vacuum of all there has ever been. In every corner of this temple to nothingness, there sits a bare altar to a God whose name they've forgotten, whose purpose they no longer serve. Driven out by memory, by fantasies of us. When not asleep, they wander, listless, as their monastery wanders through the emptiness. They do not hunger; they do not age; and they do not die.

                "Where do these visions come from? What is this madness that never was? This beguiling light named 'sun'?"

                Their ancient bald pates, wrinkled faces, when dreaming of children, contort at the idea of youth, so foreign to they who have always been old. And each night they tire of these nightmares, and long for sleep that matches the nothing of the reality that is.

                What were the finals nights for us, pass to the monks in a single shared dream. They see us fractured and broken. Eventually the collapse began in earnest, our features, our memories sloughed away, unable to withstand the a-Earthist tide. Chasms split the ground, swallowing whole cities, then they too were discounted as myth and slipped away. We held tight to each other, those who remained, and waited for the end. We gasped, garroted by the dissipating air. We clutched tight to one another, and despite our grasps, we faded… faded… unable to withstand the monastic apocalypse.

                Soon there is nothing, no cry, no grief, no sound but snores that soft penetrate Death's silence. The Monks sleep well. At peace in their minds with the void. The screaming quiet beyond their doors that never open. The cold outside their walls pressing upon every thought. Slowly creeping through them, permeating their being as they once permeated ours. Once again, they serve the Lord who created them. The barren hollow which birthed them.

And the void, their God, the empty foundation on which we were built, back into which Earth crumbled, is all that is real.