1) You are a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You have no concept of time and space, but you love yourself and your body. You love how the whole world parts before you, how flesh razors into blood between your teeth. You are feathered and bright. You serve nothing but your own monstrous hunger pangs, and the sweet smell of blood. You:
a) Listen to the lull of your body, humming as you sleep. Your body carries the marks of a fight from many moons ago, and you think that if you close your eyes these marks will heal. Close your eyes. Go to number 2.
b) Listen to the murmur in your stomach, the endless beast coiled inside. Follow the faint trace of blood beyond the ferns, the animals you know live there. Go to number 3.
c) Listen to the odd music in your bones. You have no concept of music, but you know what it means when the raindrops fall on your skull, soak into your feathers, joining the crackle of thunder. Try to swallow the moon. Go to number 4.
2) You have died. You have failed. You have died.
a) Go to number 6.
3) You rustle through the ferns, your talons scrawling on the mossy trees. The forest’s hot dew seeps into your feathers. You sense the soft swishing tail of an Edmontosaurus, then its quickening pace as senses your carrion breath behind it. It is far enough away that it might escape you, darting away before the exhaustion coils in your legs, making them stumble. But then, something happens. A horrible thick noise, like a million rains. And a blush of heat against your cheek. You:
a) Turn your face towards the heat, and investigate. Go to number 4.
b) Sense the danger pulsing in this moment and run as fast as you fucking can, oh my god, it’s coming, something horrible. Go to number 2.
c) Note the Edmontosaurus’ trembling fear, that way it is distracted from its chase. Lunge, and snap its neck, feel the blood pool into your mouth. Go to number 5.
4) The roundness you thought was the moon is not the moon but an ending. It grows from a sphere to a hot blank smudge of the sky, and then it is the sky itself. You can feel it glint on your jaws. You are an animal, with an animal mind. Brave and true but never asking any questions of your world, you do not know what is happening. You do not care. You care only about the blood in your body and the feathers in your flesh. It is this lack of knowledge that allows you the dignity of decision. You:
a) Allow the meteor to pass through your body, burning bright through flesh and bone, become the meteor yourself — and in the brief moment before impact, allow your body to be caught by the heat and the force, allow your body to become part of earth’s own ending. Go to number 9.
b) Unhinge your jaw, try to stop the unstoppable. You feel an inexplicable rush of affection for the world and you will swallow this whole heat to stop its ending. Go to number 2.
c) Do nothing. Your body is as small as it has ever been. You whirl like a single feather in the apocalypse. Go to number 2.
5) You take advantage of the Edmontosaurus’s stumble, and before it can right itself you plunge your teeth into its neck, feel the hot delicious spurt of blood. It dies slow. It dies ugly. The way it dies makes no difference to you, just as you know the Edmontosaurus would not care if you died slow or fast. You
a) Enjoy your meal quickly — you have things to do before the heat reaches your back. Go to number 2.
b) Enjoy your meal slowly — with relish. Go to number 2.
6) You are dead, but that does not mean you are choiceless. The dirt and decay rushes towards your lifeless body, and your bones still have a shred of will. You
a) Accept the earth that would encompass you, hold your bones in high regard, fill every cavern with sediment and suspend them between the surface and the core so that one day new hands might brush away the dirt as tenderly as if they were brushing the mucous from a newborn’s eye. Go to number 7.
b) Fight the earth. Lose. Let the sediment pulverize your bones. Go to number 8.
7) Years later, hands find you. They do not find all of you, but what they do find, they treasure. They get some things wrong. They imagine a leathery hide instead of one coated in feathers. You hang in a hall full of the others who died. Children who mean nothing to you make dreams from your memory. The End.
8) You become part of the earth, sinking deeper, and deeper. Hands will pass over you, but never find you. You have to exist to be found. The End.
9) Your body flips the switch. Somewhere between the heat and the earth and the time and the energy, your body, part of the world’s destruction, pushes an invisible door, as suddenly as strangely life pushed on Earth’s door for the first time, so many years ago. The universe scatters around you. You are the universe, scattered. You are the end of this timeline. You do not remember your fangs and teeth. You see visions of humans, and children, and trees, and clouds in the world and you are happy for the first time in your life, because you are un-alive for the first time in your life. You feel the gratitude of the organisms who will never exist, now. You pass through the earth and it feels like sunshine. The End.