The lone mercenary walks into the town at midnight,
his slow footsteps silenced by the cold dirt road running through the middle of town.
As he passes by various barred and broken windows decorating the gloomy scene,
flames lick the tips of trees,
growing inwards like an incurable disease.
Soon, the fall light will fill the lane in a blazing final fury,
then spread through the deserted buildings with the ashes of leaves.
At the far edge of the town, a single oil lamp hangs from a slanted roof beam. Even in the end of the world, the few remaining people cluster together at bars.
The man reaches the door of the saloon
-or where the door used to be-
empty hinges a sobering reminder of the world that once moved.
He doesn’t acknowledge the only patron,
an elderly man staring blankly into his beer glass,
most of the rim layered in a fine ring of dust.
The lone mercenary goes up to the woman behind the counter,
too busy cleaning the dirt under her nails to notice the gun pointed at her head.
After the bang, screams, then silence, the man knocks down the oil lamp,
letting the flicker catch on the wooden porch.
Inside, the old man watches the dust as it floats in the air,
and sinks down to the rim of his glass.