The Next End

The world ended five times. There was The Flood, but few remember Theia’s moon-bearing collision with the Earth. That was rough. Fewer still recall Meekal rending the sky with righteous rage, or whatever you lot called it in Gilgamesh. First time any of us angels bothered to say no.

We’ve been saying it ever since. Since his OG defiance—some nonissue to do with life’s will to power—my brother has shrieked across time while we’ve torn through the galaxy to haul his ass home. Creation wormed out of our flyway, but we didn’t notice until hindsight, which was quite recently. Sorry.

I’m at the sixth extinction, pouring Nu-Shroom coffee for an idiot in a Givenchy suit, trying to convince him not to blow up the sun. We’ve been stuck in avatars since the precession. I’m used to being a woman, though not so much having a human sense of smell. I gag as dank, pretending-to-be-roasted-beans steam flirts with the back of my tongue.

“There are things we can do,” I clip in my avatar’s crisp RP. She’s a good girl, grass-fed. We’re both uncomfortable in a silk blouse.

“Who?” the idiot barks, eyes shining like black-gold, crude oil money signs.


Meekal’s entrepreneur extraordinaire spreads his stocky arms, nub fingers splayed. He looks like a bald eagle, featherless—an amalgam of impotence—which is how I know it’s him. He ignores me and the implication he’s not the center of the universe with biblical gravitas.

“A controlled explosion will redirect the sun’s rays to Mars for recolonization,” he says. “A fresh start.”

Though indoors, he punctuates this statement by donning a pair of Ray-Ban Metas. I want to say wow, but when he taps the hinge near his temple, I realize he isn’t speaking to me. His recording goes live, instantly viral with his monopoly on the algorithm.

“It’s all me, baby,” he drawls in unbelievable earnest. Meekal swoops the drink from my hands and slurps. Then, he heads for the jet.


That night, the world watches Meekal’s sun-exploding missile take to the sky. From my apartment, starfall pitter-patters until the sky crawls with light. Crowds thrum with unease. As the first bright fragment falls, a sonic boom peels the night open. Meekal’s man-mug appears on my phone screen, beaming wider than the event horizon he spewed himself out of.

“A lightshow for the new world,” he coos, awed by his own undoing.

The fall quickens, one starlit shriek after another. Crack, Crack, Crack. At our sixth cosmic cockup, I snap.

“Is your head really too far up your own ass to realize the fucking sky is falling?” I holler.

He doesn’t know it’s me. Never does.

“No,” he says, like he knows what’s up. Like I’m the idiot.

I let rip, but too late. The footfalls of panicked crowds eclipse my voice and Meekal mistakes the sound for applause. He swells like a dying giant and bows for the world’s next end.

Stevi Sargas

Stevi Sargas is a queer, spec-fic author from Aotearoa New Zealand. She graduated NorthTec: Tai Tokerau Wānanga summa cum laude in 2024 with a Diploma in Creative Writing. Her work can be found in journals such as bad apple and A Part of Me. Stevi edits for F(r)iction and freelances in publishing, where her recent project won the 2023 Australian Game Developer Award (ADGA) for Excellence in Narrative. She is an unflappable welfare advocate, using her experience of chronic illness and neurodivergence to increase accessibility and awareness. Stevi writes about messy little guys new to the human condition—which, honestly—aren’t we all?

Hailey Renee Brown

Hailey Renee Brown (Ren) is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, they moved across the country from Michigan to Pennsylvania, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, they attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ, where they were selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project. They have since worked for a variety of clients from Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment to the Brink Literacy Project.