The End by Melly Kerfoot

At the end of Route 67 there was a hotel. The hotel was an old one, gilded, and rose with cream to fill in between. It wasn't a place that had pictures and names of movie stars broadcasted across the lobby. It hadn't been in papers in its heyday as the “In” place to be. It was quiet, beautiful in its simplicity, desirable in its peace. It was a place that newlyweds went for their honeymoon, or writers went to find novels kicking around in the back of their heads. 

But now, as the sun set, fat and orange in the autumn sky, its only occupant was a dog. It was a rascal of a dog—a hodge-podge mix of brown and grey and white, a Corgi's pointed nose and an Australian Shepherd's brilliant eyes. It was dirty and scrawny without being skinny: it was muscle and grit and matted fur, and looked completely out of place as it ambled up the wooden step with a loping gait. No one tried to stop him as he nosed open the cracked door. No one shooed him out of the foyer, and no one especially stopped to pet him. 

But on this day, the last day in months of quiet as the world's human population succumbed to its final, devastating disease, the dog turned around three times on the floor mat that was just finally starting to look worn and neglected, and laid his head down to sleep. The sun outside, far bigger than it had ever been before, slowly sank below the horizon with a distant horrifying crackling noise as if reality itself was wadding itself up to be thrown away. 

This was the end, and the dog was the one who bid the world farewell with a throaty snore and a twitch of his leg. He was at peace---the screaming silence would finally be over. 

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