The End - 2021

Sett set down the two halves of paper, refusing to return the note to Ratty’s waste paper basket, and refusing to read it. They stared at it for a few moments too long, before folding it together with Eleanor’s: difficult not to read as it consisted entirely of the words “Eleanor, I” written in black ink. They had had that conversation in person.

Their eyes skipped over the folded jacket on the bed. It normally held pride in place on it’s own separate coat-rack, too coated in paint and studs and safety pins to do anything but damage other fabric, but for today, it felt comfortable there.

They pocketed the folded letters, picked up their cane, and limped out into the living room. They were largely ignored by the crowd of people gathered around the TV, noticed only by Fern, who respected their decision to — instead of busying themselves with the news — make a cup of tea. Something to calm them down.

““This is a time that we as Canadians need to come together. It is only natural, after accident so senseless, to search for truth, and I would urge us all not to be led into sensationalism.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, earlier today, broke his silence on the crash in downtown Toronto earlier this week. Several thousand are missing, presumed dead after an illegal aircraft owned and operated by the Angel Military Holdings Corporation collided with the CN Tower. 

Trudeau apologized for his silence, saying he had been at a loss for words, and needed time to confer with other world leaders on what actions to take. The Prime Minister declined to answer when asked why members of his cabinet were found inside of the aircraft during the initial search and rescue.

Opposition leader Andrew Scheer says his party is currently in the process of setting up a full-scale investigation into the Prime Minister’s ties to Angelcorp, though declined to comment on whether that investigation...”

Maybe it would matter, maybe it wouldn’t. As they watched the water boil, using the watched-pot effect to say in the moment before they collapsed, they turned on the radio, fumbling along the underside of the cabinets for the plastic box as not to break eye contact. They tuned to a static channel and drowned out what must’ve been the hundredth report on ‘the accident’ that day.

And after a short period of white silence, the static spoke.

“Folks, I’d like to close out today’s broadcast with a new track from Miss Vera Lynn,” music would be a welcome distraction, “For the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I’m Buster Friendly. For all our boys on the front lines, send Adolf my coldest regards, and goodnight.”

And they stood there, confused for a moment, staring at the plastic machine as the gentle da-rumph of the song’s string section rose behind its horns. Not seven seconds into the tune, the TV audience sat bolt upright, shocked from their focus by the slap of Sett’s cane hitting the floor.

As Eleanor rounded the corner, the goat’s hunched form had already pulled their banjo from subspace, and begun to play along.