The apocalypse? It was that period when the concept of soulmates was thrown out of the balance. People were no longer born with the names of their soulmates etched on their skins. The downfall started with this one girl. Nala. Have you never heard her story? Seriously? Okay, gather around. It’s a bone-chilling one.
It all began with an itch. The name of Nala’s soulmate etched on her wrist. It itched. She scratched it absentmindedly, not paying much attention to it. It was, afterall, a mark that had come with her into this world. Our soulmates’ names came with us. Hers did too.
It was just another day at work for her. There were presentations to be made. Deadlines to be met. Little did she know that she was going to be the first. That she was going to be the reason. The end of everything. The tattoo itched more. She scratched it more. The last alphabet began peeling off. She didn’t know. Nobody thought that was even possible.
Samara, her mate, called her cell to ask her out for dinner that night. Nala smiled, blushing to herself like always. Her mate, her one true love, her Samara, was so considerate, so loving.
In another part of town, Noel was getting ready for his big meet with his soulmate, Mihanel. He hadn’t known Mihanel at all, till he used the government-sanctioned software to find her. The tattoo on his wrist was darker than ever that morning. He was about to meet the woman he would love forever. He was jubilant.
Nala got done with her work early, and went to buy her Samara a vinyl record. Samara loved those. Her eyes lit up. Even as her mate’s name on her flesh began fading a little, hour after hour.
Dinnertime was here. At one table sat Samara, chocolates in hand, while Mihanel sat at another table, a stress ball in hand. Both awaiting their mates with bated breath. Nala entered the restaurant, and walked straight to the table, without a faltering step. Samara looked gorgeous. The tattoo itched violently. Nala rubbed her wrist along the side of her jacket.
Noel entered the restaurant minutes later. He looked around for his mate. Mihanel sat, resplendent in the soft yellow light above their table. Messy ringlets fell on her forehead, as her nose twitched away strays. Noel looked at her wrist. His name beamed off her dark skin. He smiled in pleasure.
Nala put her bag in a chair, kissed Samara on the cheek with adoration, and went back to the reception to hang her coat. While returning to her table, her eyes flowed across the room, resting at Noel. The skin at her wrist pinched awfully, and burned her. She gasped and looked down to it. The tattoo was almost gone altogether, leaving a red rug burn of sorts.
She looked up to Samara in a panic. Samara still looked just as beautiful as the first time Nala saw her. But something was different. Very different. She didn’t feel like walking over to Samara and taking her into her arms like always. She felt like she wanted to do that to someone else in the room. To the guy who sat at a table with the gorgeous dark woman, looking terrified as he looked down to the fading tattoo on his wrist.
Then, Nala uttered the last word she would ever say before the world came crashing down upon us.