Just like that, I could feel the apocalypse behind me, peering over my shoulder at the half-finished charcoal sketch of a man and his dog. We were at the park, the apocalypse and I, surrounded by hundreds of other people — joggers, children climbing the jungle gym, couples making out on picnic blankets — yet somehow we were very alone. At least that was how I felt, knowing that his cold, appraising eyes were focused on my very incomplete work.

I expected him to say something, anything. Maybe he would point out the anatomical incorrectness of the man in his short jogging shorts (head much too large, inappropriately out of proportion for his impossibly skinny body), or maybe he would remark, aghast, at exactly how ugly the dog was turning out (he should have been a cute mutt; instead, he was looking more like Old Yeller being dragged out back to get shot). Instead, the apocalypse continued to watch, perhaps smugly, while I attempted to continue sketching as if I’d never been disturbed.

But he was disturbing me. After all, he was the end of all things, and I wasn’t yet prepared to let him take me.