We knew it was going to happen. Had known for years, centuries, millennia even.
When the time drew near, we were prepared. As prepared as a civilisation could be for an impossibility.
Our sun, our star, was dying.
The years of her frivolous youth had caught up with her. She had burnt all her fuel. She was old. Decrepit. She could no longer bear the crushing burden of her own mass.
Every planet, every asteroid, every piece of dust would be sucked into the abyss.
She would collapse, and our solar system would exist no more.
We had prepared as much as was possible. Of course, we didn't know exactly what would happen, but we did as much as we could.
The planet - our planet - was evacuated. We sat to watch and wait in our shining star ships, to watch and wait for the death.
It was impossible to believe it would not be our own end too.
We knew our theory. We knew a black hole would be created, where the gravity left over from the death would twist time and space.
We knew that we would be sucked in, along with everything else not obliterated by the first explosions.
We knew: we would be squeezed and crushed to the size of a single atom.
But we were human, and it is human nature to want to watch our own demise so that we might see its meaning in the last crucial moment before destruction.
The last moments were spent in silence. Tears ran down our faces. Splashed onto the brows of the ones we loved, as we clasped them tightly to our chests as if in our arms they would be defended from the wrath of the death.
Those who believed in such things prayed to their gods and deities, praying for absolution we knew could not come.
The implosion began.
We watched with frightened eyes from billions of kilometres away as the star, our star, our mother and provider, grew, and enveloped those of her faithful children that had dared to huddle closest to her warmth.
We cried in a single voice of despair and sorrow, as we watched our home planet, a glittering blue diamond, burn in the embrace of the death.
Then, as if she had fulfilled her purpose in eating our world, she began to shrink.
She sucked her faithful wanderers to her bosom, until she was no more than a tiny pinprick of light, impossibly small across the distance.
We watched the asteroids, the moons, the comets, the planets fly past us. They were drawn by the seductive song of the invisible maelstrom.
Soon it seemed that the bodies outside were motionless. We realised that we, too, were being called by the abyss. She was taking back the gift she had bestowed.
Our ships entered the darkness, for now it was truly nothing more than that, a black smudge blocking the stars behind.
Our mouths opened as one. But the weeping scream was never heard.
The vortex enveloped us, twisting in impossible ways, cocooning us in threads of time and space.
It pulled. Stretched us to infinity. Squashed us to atomic size. Shrieks of pitch-black silence assailed us.
Time ran backwards, and forwards, and stopped altogether, and we heard the echo of words and saw the memories of a thousand things that had been and were yet to come.
Then we were expelled from the wormhole, rejected from the convolution like garbage ejected from a star ship port.
Alien stars looked down upon us.
There was absolute silence for minutes, hours, seconds, days.
Waves of relief broke. We cried again. One voice again, this time raised in hope and joy.
An ecstatic parody played of the moment that had happened seconds and eternities ago on the other side of the universe.
Beautiful, impossible, truth: we had escaped destruction.
Another chance. A miracle. A new part of the endless cosmos to call our own.
A fresh, bright, burning star shone on rapturous faces. The ships drew towards a blue planet, a sparkling gem. A mirror to our own beloved home, consumed by the death.
Tears ran down our faces. Christened the faces of our tightly clasped loved ones. Those who believed in such things thanked their gods and deities. Absolution: it had come.
Years, centuries, millennia: anything, everything, could happen.