I stood on the edge of the world, looking down. There had been stories, of course, myths and legends over the centuries about what lay at the edge of the world.
Now I knew none of them were true.
Nothing is not much of an answer to all those thousands of years of speculation.
The voices in my earpiece were silent now. I’d turned it off.
I had nothing to say and no answers to their questions.
The video was still running of course, but I had nothing to say.
What can you say about nothing?
I had a good idea what was going on now that the video feed was still relaying from the base. All those pundits who made some kind of living speculating on the world and its wonders would be preparing themselves – from tabloid journalists to philosophers – to opine over what this particular nothing meant.
Here at World’s End… the world just ended.
That was it.
That is it.
I turned away, wrapping my safety line around my hand as I edged back towards the rover and the box of experiments. There were all manner of experiments to do, from balls to drop to kites to fly over the World’s End. Each with all with all the sensors our scientists could devise.
But what was the point of unpacking them all?
Nothing does nothing. You learn nothing from nothing.
I picked up the ball from the pocket in the side of the rover.
It was just a normal tennis ball – florescent green-yellow. It was intended as a joke. One sequence for the end of the News shows on the TV channels. Video of the tennis ball doing whatever it did at the end of the world.
I took it back to the edge with me.
I stood on the edge where the something of this world became the nothing of what lay beyond and around it.
I let the ball drop from my gloved hand.
The ball stayed where I let go of it. Not floating, it just did not move.
I nudged it with the tip of my glove.
It did not move, just hung there in the slightly greyish off-white of the World’s End. There were times, back when the first ever telescopes made out what lay beyond our world, when the theologians claimed that the grey/white that lay beyond our world was a cloud that hid the home of their particular god or gods from the sight of mortals.
It was no cloud.
It was nothing.
I plucked the tennis balls out of the greyness. It came free with no effort and no change in the greyness around it.
How can nothing change?
I chinned the switch to turn the audio back on.
‘What’s going on?’ Hank’s voice was close to panic.
‘I needed time to think… to process,’ I said. ‘All those voices speaking at once.’
‘That’s why I’m here,’ Hank said. ‘To be the one voice talking to you.’
‘It didn’t work,’
Hank sighed. ‘No.’
‘What’s it like?’
‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘It is just nothing.’ I laughed. ‘There are no gods behind the cloud. There is no cloud.’
‘None of the sensors read anything,’ Hank said. ‘All the readouts… all the screens… all the dials… nothing.’
I nodded. Then spoke. ‘What shall I do?’
‘Nothing,’ Hank said. ‘What can you do?’
I shrugged, staring at the nothing I’d come all this way to see.