apocalypse

Survivor

Melkor3D/Shutterstock.com

This post was originally published through Patreon on April 10, 2018.

I awaken, covered in aches and bruises, cuts and scratches. My right eye has swollen shut, black and blue like the rest of me. I put out a hand to steady myself and cringe. My arm is either sprained or broken; it will require time to heal.

Slowly, cautiously, I glance at the sky. The light is blinding, and I shield my eyes. Only when they finally adjust can I discern the horror all around me.

Men, women, and children, strewn about like debris—eyes glazed, limbs twisted—even as the surrounding buildings and streets remain untouched. Only the people are broken, transfigured into rotting, festering monuments dedicated to a species unlikely to survive the day.

I shed no tears, for my eyes have been wrung dry. Instead I walk, the pristine street rising up to kiss my bare feet, dodging bodies both whole and in pieces. The first street I pass is Valley View. Then Walker. Then Moody. All the while, I behold a city unchanged in the midst of an already deceased world.

Why am I alive? Did they leave me behind on purpose, or was I just a hapless accident? Are there other survivors like myself? Have we already been forgotten? Unanswerable questions swirl inside my head like thunder clouds.

Flash.

The sudden light is blinding, as if the sun has just gone nova.

Through slitted eyes, and with no emotion whatsoever, I discover they haven’t forgotten us after all.

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Firefighter

Selin Serhii/Shutterstock.com

This post was originally published through Patreon on February 20, 2018.

The fire was so much worse up close.

Eric had seen it on the evening news every night since he was ten. He’d watched it gain a foothold, watched it advance, watched it spread like a contagion through most of the world, until Earth’s entire population, as far as anyone knew, consisted solely of those lucky enough to have lived in or retreated to a tenacious cluster of neighborhoods in Fort Worth, Texas.

Nobody knew where or when the fire had started. Perhaps someone had left a faulty device plugged in at home while on vacation, or perhaps someone had cast a still-smoldering cigarette onto a clump of dry and flammable weeds. All anyone knew for certain was that the fire was impossible to put out. Every time they fought it with water and flame retardants, the wind would blow it in a different direction, or the heat would burn so strongly that the firefighters had no choice but to pull back and retreat.

Like it was alive, Eric had come to believe. Like it had a mind of its own. And now, standing before the dwindling Fort Worth perimeter inside the small scrap of civilization that hadn’t yet been consumed by the fire, he thought that assessment was accurate.

Burning columns of flame rose high into a rusty, soot-filled sky as if taunting the survivors. Come get me if you can, the fire seemed to shout, and all the while it pushed against their failing defenses, promising to eliminate the final remnant of humanity.

But Texas wasn’t built that way, and neither was Eric. He believed it was better to die defending one’s homeland than it was to cower in defeat, and though the end was nigh—though everything he’d ever known stood at the utter brink of annihilation—neither he nor his fellow firefighters were going out without a fight.

So Eric donned his helmet, suit, and hose. He took a deep breath through his fogged respirator, then angled his head toward the sky to offer up a final prayer.

Then he charged headfirst into the flames.

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Let The Show Begin

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This post was originally published through Patreon on August 28, 2016.

Quick note: I’m currently working on “Totem, Part 11,” and plan to release it on November 7 🙂

The world is ending. He can feel it, buzzing like a high tension electrical wire. Like the bass in a celestial orchestra, it began as a rumble, emanating from the core of the Earth itself, and quickly rises to a crescendo. It’s only a matter of hours before the whole thing uncoils like a tightly compressed spring.

He’s witnessed the births and deaths of many worlds, and the end has always fascinated him the most. It’s almost always self-inflicted, a wellspring of violence that erupts from the inside out, blowing the world asunder.

He sometimes likes to imagine he’s the cause—that he’s an Old Testament God, raining down judgement and destruction on an ungrateful world. But of course he is not. He’s only an observer, a cosmic tourist in search of entertainment. He doesn’t want to get involved, and at any rate, humans have done a fine job of destroying the world themselves.

He’ll stick around for the end, and when it’s over—when the Earth is adrift and bereft of life—he’ll move on.

He gazes up at the sky and smiles.

The show is about to begin.

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