Stars fading, but I linger on dear...
rating: +72+x

The humans were more powerful than he'd been willing to give them credit for. They shot him, burned him, electrocuted him, and finally threw him in a box. If humans could handle fighting each other, they could certainly handle fighting him.

They solved world hunger. Brought about world peace. Cured every disease. Filled every need. And they grew bored with the crystalline cities they'd built for themselves.

The end of all things crept quietly along after them, unnoticed. When they stopped fighting, mankind faded away. He still hated them, of course, but the ease at which they went almost astonished him. Suddenly no one cared enough. Suddenly almost no children were born. A few metal tubes threw themselves violently off the planet. And then, quite suddenly, humanity died together.

He escaped his box not long after.

After the end, though, the damage they'd done to the world crashed into reality and the world died too. Plants withered away, then anything that ate plants, and then everything else. In a few thousand years the carrion eaters died off and he was truly alone.

At first it was a welcome change. Then he learned the hard way that eternity was only really worth it when things changed. Without any other life around, nothing really changed on a day to day scale. He'd wake up, look out over dead earth, oceans, or at the nearly unchanging sky, and then go back to sleep.

For endless eons he waited. He charted the stars by drawing in the death earth and felt a pang of joy whenever one of them died. But they were always being replaced. Over and over he'd see one die and another be born. Then again humans had done the same thing for a long time.

The sun had gotten larger and larger in the sky over time. It ballooned to fill the entire daytime sky. The oceans turned to deserts and the deserts turned to molten glass. The whole surface of the earth glowed a deep orange. He suffered through the worst of it for a few million years, perching on the few rocks sturdy enough to stand up to the heat. He screamed when he could, but no one was around to hear him.

Then the sun shrank into a tiny white point in the sky, larger than the brightest stars, but only just. The dead earth slowly cooled, though there was no atmosphere left to breath. He was alone with his own thoughts and, again, he began to chart the stars.

At first, it continued on as before. The charts began to cover more and more of the Earth. With nothing but time, he drew his constellations and calculations. Once, the stars were replaced as quickly as they'd died, but now maybe 2 died before another was born. Later still, 3. Then 4. The number kept climbing until there were only a few dozen stars left in the sky. The only record that the sky had once been filled with light was etched on continent spanning star charts across the surface of the dead Earth.

He realized, of course, that his fate was inevitable. Even after all the stars had gone, he would still be here. He would be the only thing left in an infinite darkness that would continue for eternity. He rested his head on the rock and gazed at a star, wondering for how much longer it would burn before fizzling out.

Then one day, a trillion trillion years after the last star had blinked out, SCP-682 squinted at the dark night sky. A new star had formed. This one was brighter than anything he'd ever seen before. It moved strangely, and quickly. Eventually it darkened and disappeared. A few years on another shooting star joined it and darkened again. Then another.

For millennia a colony grew above him. Larger and larger still, until it hung over him like a tantalizing treat, just out of reach.

Then they began to land on his world. He felt the rage return. His world. His home. But they deliberately avoided his drawings. Chose the few blank spaces between the constellations and calculations to dig out the earth. Then they placed boxes gingerly into the ground, covered them and drew new markings.

In a few months they returned, this time with another box. He approached their landing party this time, staying as hidden as he could. He looked, and they were humans. He listened to the ground for the vibrations of their speech, but the language was nothing he'd ever heard before.

Over and over, year after year, they came. And year after year he would go and listen.

Eventually he understood their language.

Today he'd woken up to another shooting star, again coming to his home. He made his way to the landing site and waited. The men and women followed the same pattern as always. He suspected they knew he was there, but they'd made no moves against him. Maybe one day he'd kill them. Destroy their ship. Or take it to the stars and end them once and for all.

But for all his petty fantasy, he knew that he would be alone soon enough. Time would destroy whatever he didn't, and in the end he'd just be bored sooner. So he let them have their ceremony.

The box was laid into a freshly dug hole, and a man in a slightly more shiny suit stood and spoke to the half dozen other figures.

"Mulnos The Rash. The spawn of two krelniks would have had more grace and kindness than you. You hurt everyone. With words or hands or tools, it did not matter. For this we are sorry.

Though we deserved better from you, so too did you deserve better from us. You died hungry and alone, in the between spaces. You scarcely had a bed, and no quarters to call your own.

I commit, now, your soul to the stars, the home of your ancestors. I commit, now, your body to the earth, the home of their ancestors. I hope you find the peace you deserved in life, somehow.

May the Starkeeper bless your passing.

May the Starkeeper bless your ancestors.

May the Starkeeper bless us all."

The humans covered the hole with dirt slowly, and then shuffled into their ship.

SCP-682, the Starkeeper, and the last witness to a dying universe, watched them disappear into the black eternity. He walked over to the grave, pawed at the freshly dug ground, spun in place atop it, and took a nap.

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