Home of the Brave

For the "Divergent: A Writing Competition" contest. * Father, Brother, and Daughter live on the Edge of the World. After a nuclear fallout, they are the last survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. This is the story of how it all ends.

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5. The End

Father calls it the Edge. Brother calls it the Edge. Had Mother survived this long, she might have called it the Edge, too. But the moment I see it, I know it is not the Edge.

            It is the End.

            You will see it. You’re old enough, now, Father told me, winding his way through the City, I and the horses trailing behind him. You have to see the Edge. To understand.

            Where is it? I asked him.

            At the back of the City.

            And so we walked. And we walked. And when we finally reached the end of the City, its skyscrapers giving way to suburbs and its suburbs giving way to an empty road, I understood. Because where the City ends, the road begins. And where the road begins is the Edge.

            There is no grass. There are no trees. As far as my eyes can see, there is a great flat nothingness. The ground is black, as if a great fire burned away every living thing in its path.

            There is nothing. Just a gray sky and a black ground, and an endless, endless nothing.

            Now you know what the fires did. Now you know how mankind hurt the world. Father stares out at the great vast nothingness, and in his eyes, I see that he is an empty man, one who has stared too long at the Edge. Nothing, Daughter. There is nothing.

            It is not the Edge, I think but do not say. It is the End.

            It is the End of the world. And with this realization comes the horrible, terrible truth, the one Father knew for years, and later, the truth that Brother knew.

            It is the End of the world. And we are the End of mankind.

            We are alone. We are the last.

            We are the End.

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