The Thin Blue Sheet

 

I journeyed to the end of the world and nearly fell off. 

 

Not only did I realise the earth wasn’t round, as I’d been forced to believe all of my years, but also that it was a vertical plane which I’ve been blindly scaling sideways. This wall world, onto which grand mountain ranges and finite oceans cling, where edifices, great walls and expansive bridges threaten to snap off and float into the chasm of the universe, has duped our supposedly superior minds and opposable-thumb science for thousands of years.

 

The meaning of life as philosophised by religions and cults, physicists and numerologists, has been reduced to the perpendicular ascent of a populated sheet in the sky.  As I teetered on the thin edge, my toes clinging to the sod and my arms flailing wildly, I started to laugh.  I laughed at the hippie philosophy of freedom, love and sexual liberation.  I guffawed at Jung’s garbled view that man’s sole purpose is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.  I lost my shit at Aristotle’s theory that we must be virtuous via virtuous activities.  I laughed at all their smug faces floating in the ether realising their profound thinking and ostentatious offerings were of no use in the climbing of a wall.  My laughter eventually waned, giving way to thought of what to do now that I’d reached the end.  It was stark and bitter--lonely with no one talk to.  Where had the human race gone? 

 

With my arms splayed, I maintained my balance, unsure if I should put one foot forward and allow my body to stiffly topple into the unknown.  I felt an invisible force holding me stable but waiting for me to make my choice.  Was there a choice?  If I chose to do so could I carefully kneel down, grasp the end of the world, let my legs dangle and rappel to my preferred age?  Could I stop at a time in my life when everything worked in my favour and I was utterly happy without a worry in the flat world?  I wondered what everyone else had done once they got here.  Then I looked down.

 

What I saw were fingers.  Clinging fingers of all colours and densities, finger nails in various states of length and filth.  The fingers stretched across the edge of the world for as long as my eyes would take me.  Some of the fingers were pale, blanched from blood loss with signs of black mould in the webbing.  Others presented deeply encrusted wrinkles while still others were mere infant digits, dimpled and clutching onto a future that would never come.  Leaning forward ever so slightly, I tried to view what lay on the other side.  The force surrounding my carriage gave way little by little without letting me topple, and I slowly gained enough confidence to lean out at a full thirty-degree angle.  The phantasm was horrific. 

 

It is not something that I care to, or would even attempt to emulate with words.  I felt a rush of absolute terror defile the husk of my body through which an evil, black tar had been dumped.  All I had ever considered about the other side, the afterlife, heaven and hell, was shot down, cascading with the glint of broken stars.  The lids of my eyes would not respond to closure, but recoiled like powerful flesh shutters vacuumed into the sockets of my skull.  With them went my eyebrows--two hirsute protrusions sucked through the straw of my optic nerve.  Next came two loud pops and pain so excruciating that I let out a shriek that was lost in black gas as my globes narrowed into elongated spheroids and disappeared into the back of my head. 

 

At my bare toes the noxious gas that rose from the other side ate away my flesh; first my nails curled up into crisp, black chips before blowing away in a crystalline dust.  My legs went next—one at a time—breaking away at the knees and disintegrating beneath me so that my body balanced on the two thin discs of my pelvic bone.  I saw nothing, heard nothing.  I only felt my soul being ripped from my core, and what little air I was able to siphon through the pin hole of my throat.  The flesh-eating toxin got more aggressive as my testicles swiftly inflated and burst while the burning sensation of my melting penis caused me to pass out.

 

Now I hang--two arms, a corroded skull and ten clutching fingers.  The steel cold of the universe cuts away at what little flesh is left on my shoulders   Movement