Writing Prompt: Include this line somewhere in your story: “I’m never doing that again.”
It wasn’t exactly nothing. That is, it wasn’t that it was not something but more an absence of something. The sum of its parts did not entirely add to a whole and, instead of order, chaos had now become what some people would refer to as ‘the current social paradigm’. And one such person was Paul, a relatively non-descript fellow save for the fact he had gained some amount of recent fame for being the person who had successfully negotiated what, for all intents and purposes, had constituted the end of the universe.
Paul sat alone in this absence of something, or at least he thought he sat. Spatial conventions, he figured, did not technically apply any longer. Something floated ponderously by his head. By now he had given up trying to hazard any guesses to what these objects were. Their shape defied identification and, theoretically at least, they could have once been anything; a small rock, a mug, last weeks newspaper, for all it mattered now it could have once been France. Whatever it had once been, it drifted on slowly by and eventually twinkled and vanished in what he thought may have passed for the mid-distance. He sighed.
It had all happened rather quickly. Paul’s face was contorted into an expression of deep thought, as it had been for some time now. Under any ordinary circumstances he would have been quite pleased with this arrangement, but then these were no longer any ordinary circumstances. Back when things had mattered, back when there was still some semblance of order, no matter how imbalanced it may have appeared back then, he had been paid to think. Some people are natural born doers. Paul was a natural born thinker. And that was where all the trouble had started.
There is a school of philosophical thought which holds that our experience of reality is a merely subjective occurrence. That is to say that order only exists because we perceive it to do so. This is a dangerous line of thought since, if followed to its logical, albeit extreme, conclusion then it can ultimately mean that nothing technically exists, or even if it did it wouldn’t matter any way. Unfortunately it had also turned out to be true.
On the day that everything had disappeared it had just so happened that enough people had been, at exactly the same time, thinking exactly the same thing. This went broadly along the lines that given the infinite multitude of variable possibilities within the universe and given that any single thing is merely relative to a set of purely arbitrary constructs of thought that existence itself must logically be declared null and void. Paul had joined this thought and the resulting mass of minds thinking as one that the universe when considered as a whole was so immensely unstructured as to be negate any possibility of existence had meant that the universe was presented with very little option but to agree and, as a result, had consequently and obediently scrapped the rule book, descending instead into a state of total unreality.
Which was where Paul now found himself, helpless and for all he knew totally alone. “Well”, he thought to himself in silent monologue, and with a certain sense of clarity and conviction he had never felt before, “I’m never doing that again.”