Apart from the tiny piece of floating debris they were standing on, there was nothing but empty blackness. Retvik took a deep breath and to his surprise he discovered he was still breathing oxygen and nitrogen. A second breath confirmed his suspicions, that there was an artificial pocket of air around the little rock he was standing on. Or something providing air at least, because he could feel a light breeze on his unarmoured body.
By his feet sat a familiar yellow friend. The only other items of interest were a long, black belt, left lying on the ground, and a small, spinning disc of energy.
“Why have you brought me here?”
“I fucked up. I meant to bring more of you…” Arkay rubbed his face, his long black claws leaving slight indents in his skin. Clearly he had been doing that for a while.
“You. All of you…” Arkay rubbed his eyes this time, trying to hide several tears. “All of it. Gone. Fading away. Because I fucked up, yet again. That’s all I seem to do. Fucking things up.”
“Uh…” Retvik backed away, then realised there was little room to do that. It seemed like the little platform was crumbling away. “What did…”
“I FUCKED UP!” Arkay leaped to his feet, gripping Retvik tightly around the arms. Their differences in height made Arkay look like a scared child. “It’s gone, Retvik! It’s all gone! Dead and done and fucking decaying!”
Retvik blinked. “What is-”
“EVERYTHING. THIS UNIVERSE IS DEAD!” Arkay’s words turned into garbled sobs as he collapsed on the ground. “I tried so damn hard… I just wanted to fix it all… I tried so damn hard, I tried to keep them all together so things would run smoothly but nothing worked and I tried and tried and tried and now it’s all melting and falling apart and it’s all going to die and get remade into something else and I fucked up it’s all my fault…”
“Uh…” Retvik was at a loss for words. He had no idea what to say, or whether Arkay was telling the truth or not. After a handful of loud cries, Arkay climbed back to his feet, leaning against Retvik for support. All Retvik could do was gently put an arm around his old friend. “Maybe we should talk about what happened?”
Arkay sighed. “Too much happened. There’s nothing left though.”
“It’s all gone, Retvik. I’m sorry. I tried to save your partner and your kid and I fucked up. I was several milliseconds too slow. Everything evaporated. Not that it matters. I can’t save you. You’ll fade away in, say, about five minutes too.”
Retvik glanced down at his feet. Nothing was happening. But he did notice that the wind had picked up. “How did we end up like this?”
Arkay looked away, into the inky void. “Kinisis wanted a break. She took that break. Left us in control. We couldn’t take it, we became self-destructive. I tried to seek help, I went to Stasis for advice. I don’t know who, but someone else acted on their self-destruction and broke both Kairos and themselves. Maybe they took out each other. Everything just started vaporizing until Kinisis returned and did something with Stasis and… well… They realised they couldn’t save it, so they decided to start again. Start over.”
“She can do that?”
“I assume so since that’s what’s happening…” Arkay wiped a tear from his eye. “I always said I wanted to die, that I was tired of my existence. But I always tried to stop others from feeling the way I did. Didn’t try hard enough, clearly. Really, the entirety of my existence, all I’ve done is cause pain and suffering. I’ve fucked up everything I’ve ever done… And now, now that I have the chance to no longer exist… Everything else is going to cease existing too…”
“Especially you…” Arkay turned away again, looking off into nothingness. He was trembling. Retvik knew he wanted to just lay down and cry. “I thought I could save you all. I fucked up. I couldn’t. You’re going to fade away right in front of me, you already are, and there’s nothing I can do to stop any of this.”
The breeze had picked up, turning into almost a gale. Retvik could feel his skin tingling. Oddly pleasant and unpleasant at the same time. Arkay was right, he was fading away.
“Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve fucked it up…” Arkay was crying now, each syllable punctuated with a hiccup of anger and fear. “Everything would have been better if I’d never existed.”
“I doubt it…” Retvik patted Arkay on the shoulder. On the third pat though, he swore he saw flicks of dust being dragged away by the wind. “There have been some nice things, right?”
“Well,” Retvik smiled, just a little. “Well maybe this new thing that Kinisis is making, maybe it will be better. But you should not face the end while filled with pain and regret. You always blamed yourself for everything, and that is not true. You did not do this.”
“I should have tried harder to stop it.”
“Maybe you could not have stopped it…” Retvik smiled one last time as he hugged Arkay, pulling him close. “It does not matter any more. I do not blame you. And even if you were to blame, I forgive you. It is not your fault.”
The wind picked up once more. The little disk of energy collapsed into a lump of nothing, before exploding and drifting off in a shower of purple particles. The ground Retvik stood on, the black belt by his feet and Retvik himself began to fade, taken away by these last few air currents.
“It will be alright, my little friend… It’s all over now…”
What remained of Retvik disappeared off into the blackness of the void.
Arkay said nothing. He wanted to scream and shout and cry, but he knew it would be futile. Retvik’s last words circled his mind, filling him with conflict.
“Yeah, you’re right… It’s all over now… Time for something new to take our place…”
One final tear dripped down Arkay’s face. With a final, defeated smile, Arkay let go, fading away into nothingness.