The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion (Poe)

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The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two spirits discussed the end of the world, caused by a comet's contact with Earth, which led to a fiery destruction and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.

Eiros and Charmion, two beings who had passed on from the world of the living, engaged in a conversation about the events that led to the end of the world.

Eiros — narrator; a spirit who recently experienced the end of the world.
Charmion — a spirit who guides Eiros through the afterlife; wise, comforting.

Eiros recounted the days leading up to the catastrophe, when a comet was discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. At first, people were skeptical and did not believe that the comet would cause any harm. However, as the comet grew closer and larger in the sky, panic began to set in.

Astronomers calculated the comet's path and determined that it would come into very close proximity with Earth. Some even believed that contact was inevitable. As the comet approached, it took on a dull red color and had little perceptible train. For several days, its apparent diameter did not increase significantly, but its color began to change. The people of Earth became increasingly anxious and fearful as they awaited the comet's arrival.

As the comet neared, it became clear that it was composed of a highly tenuous gas, and its nucleus would be the first part to make contact with Earth. The atmosphere began to change, causing people to experience a constriction of the chest and lungs, as well as an insufferable dryness of the skin. It was discovered that the air was becoming increasingly rich in oxygen, which led to a heightened sense of anxiety and fear among the population.

I am overburthened with the majesty of all things—of the unknown now known—of the speculative Future merged in the august and certain Present.

The day of the comet's arrival brought with it a sense of despair, as people realized that the tenuous nature of the comet would lead to a catastrophic combustion. The atmosphere became increasingly oxygen-rich, and the world was consumed by an intense, all-consuming flame. In the end, the entire Earth was engulfed in a brilliant, fiery destruction, fulfilling the prophecies of the Holy Book.