Ashes. Everything is covered in ashes. The water is grey and leaves a gritty film on my teeth. Our food tastes like nothing. When I wake, I rub the grey from my eyes and rise from our grey bed, sending avalanches of grey ash to the ground.

The world is dead and yet, here we remain. Waiting in the ashes. Waiting for our end to come as well.

We killed it, you know. With our pride. With our fear. We killed… Him. And with Him, we killed the world.

I tend my fields as best as I can in the all-pervasive ash, a rag tied over my face to keep me from choking on the grey. It’s a pointless task but it keeps my hands busy. The crops won’t grow. Not in this. We are going to starve. There is no light, there is no warmth. There is only grey sky, grey earth, and grey water.

Mother doesn’t get out of bed most days. The children cry for her but she doesn’t hear them. They come to me, crying, their tears leaving tracks on their dirty faces.

“Father,” they cry, “where has the color gone? Why won’t Mother rise and dance with us?”

They don’t understand. She can’t dance anymore. We killed that too. How can there be dancing when we killed the Lord of the Dance?

My heart aches for these children of mine. What have we done to them in our fear? We’ve given them a dead world with nothing but ashes and despair in it and nothing to look forward to but death and oblivion.

How could we have been so blind? What is the point of living in a world without Him? Never knowing true darkness, we took the light for granted. Having never learned to fear the cold, we snuffed out the flame.

But we know now. We are cold and the darkness presses close.

It smells like despair and it tastes like ashes.