Not long before the End Times, my love sought a man to cut his hair. There was a prophecy, you see, that the Chosen Ones would be shorn and clean-shaven, the better to apply a mask.
“Cut my hair,” he said to the man holding scissors in the square. “Will you cut my hair?”
“I will not,” said the scissorman, and my love walked on.
He came to the edge of the town where the fields began, and saw a man cutting crops with a knife.
“Cut my hair,” he said to the man with the knife. “Will you cut my hair?”
“I will not,” said the knifeman, and my love walked on.
He came to the wilderness and saw a man cutting wood with a sharp stone. He asked the man, “Please, will you cut my hair?”
“I cannot,” said the stoneman, and my love walked on.
He walked through villages and towns, hamlets and hovels, crossing hills and ridges and valleys. He roamed until he could see no more streets and squares, no more houses and huts, no more fields and crops. He walked until he saw the woods, where he knelt for shelter.
“Cut my hair,” he whined into the silence. “Please, my hair. Will anybody cut my hair?” He covered his face with his hands and wept. “My hair,” he moaned. “My hair, my hair, my hair!”
He knelt there over the hours, the days and the years, calling for his hair to be cut. And his hair grew and grew. It grew over his neck and his cheeks. It grew up and down and out from his head and his chin and his ears, reaching the ground, curling around ivy and bracken, twirling around tree trunks and weighing down branches, ever growing up, up, into the canopy where swallows nestled and squirrels hid nuts, growing sideways on and on until all the trees in the wood were connected in a web of hair, a map for the birds to follow, and then the gaps in the map where the light came in were covered with new growth over and over, and the fields and the valleys and the bridges and the villages all became dark and cold as his hair grew and grew, and slowly, slowly, as the end came nearer, we all lost sight of the sun.
And so, the End Times came, but not in the way we were expecting.