“My car is down by the ocean. The reason why, no one knows. And on this day there is no moon and all mirrors are black. Everyone is outside staring at the sky, looking for something that isn’t there. I’m stuck staring at a mirror, looking for something I don’t want to see. All I want is to go. But my car is not here. Not today.
“They say on that day all of the security cameras didn’t work anymore. All that was recorded was black. Words meant nothing, not on that day. Your lies couldn’t be backed up. Everyone was too busy staring and dying. Losing all hope, for the moon still hides. And I even begin to forget what I look like. At least there is no more pride or vanity. For no one remembers who they are anymore.
“Some would call it an apocalypse. Others call it the beginning. All I know is that no one even remembers or speaks of those who are gone. So may call it a curse, never to be broken. No one ever said curses were like this. They always sounded so mysterious or fake. But if this is a curse, then it feels very real.
“And all I wish is to know where the bombs will fall. Just so I can try to lessen the suffering in a painful age. Everyone seems to know my name. Who knows if that’s a good thing. It doesn’t really matter though. Even if I could save them all, it’ll only delay their inevitable deaths.
“Now all people cling to is hope. Others cling to nothing except the promise of future pain. I talk to people in the streets of the ghettos. They all eventually mention the same thing. The week before, the Bible had been projected in neon. Sounds like good news, but all it did was cheapen it all. Something intended for good became a symbol for corruption, and cheap tricks. It became a source of laughter, so many dismissed it as a pathetic attempt. I guess a week later God had decided it was time to bring it all back. But now, there is no chance for survival.” The tape stopped there, and it soon fizzled and burned.
My name is Thomas. I had filmed it all. All I could muster to say was recorded in that tape. The world is now extremely empty. Everyone tells me that all the good people are gone, taken away to a place far away. Some even say it’s heaven. I never was one for religion, but if it’s all a lie then I don’t know how they’re going to explain this one. Even in a world that’s full of strange things, nothing has ever topped this.
There was an initial shock, as we all realized what had happened. Now things were even worse. A black wave washed over the continents. The mob consumed it all. Peace was a dream of our past. The government couldn’t control it, I couldn’t control it, and everyone wanted it to end. As I walked down any street, there was broken glass and open doors. I walked through one that had its door lying nearby on the grass. All that was left was a carcass, an empty shell. They had taken everything. This mob of people consumed everything. No longer were men any better than locusts.
I felt depressed. How couldn’t I? Many of those who hadn’t disappeared had killed themselves. All the complete distraught from the situation would cause even the most sane man to spiral into insanity. The only thing I could bring myself to do was sit in the only chair I had left. I knew that my car wasn’t on the beach anymore. The mob of men devoured it quicker than any of the houses were scraped clean.
Somehow the news is still going; I found this out after accidentally turning on my TV. I always thought nothing good was ever broadcast on the news, but now it was unbearable. Good news is almost a joke now. Thousands dead, thousands gone, and nothing but destruction. I was about to turn it off when something caught my eye. There was control. A man dressed in a sharp-looking suit stood behind his podium, assuring the world that it was going to be okay. “Everything is okay”, the man said; I knew that he did not stand behind a podium. He stood behind a pulpit.
Apparently the man I had seen was leading us all. “Savior of the world” everyone called him. But I had heard about stuff like this. One leader for the world wasn’t a good idea, and even I knew that.
I stumbled home in a drunken stupor. Somehow all that was happening came down on me suddenly. Drinking seemed to fix it. I slumped into a chair, hit the radio and fell asleep.
“Is this the real life…is this just fantasy…I’m awake in a field…what is this place…caught in a land slide…no escape from reality…I can only open my eyes to see…all I am is a poor boy…and I cry as I walk through this field…Mother, I’ve done so wrong…the man is dead…I didn’t mean to make you cry…nothing really matters…it’s too late…spiraling, spiraling, spiraling…I don’t want to die…just gotta get out…right out of here…I’ve gotta get to the sprawl”
I woke up to realize that Bohemian Rhapsody had been stuck on repeat all night. My dreams were never so vivid. Never was I more terrified. Even the world as it is now couldn’t compare. As I try to remember its entirety, only one word seems to stick. Sprawl. Whatever it means, I don’t know. It sounds like a place. And any place mysterious sounds better than where I am now.
Ten months pass. Many people would say it’s crazy to travel for that long. This Sprawl is the only place I knew was better. If anyone were to ask me why, I couldn’t give him or her an answer. This dream I had was important and it must be completed. It’s almost as if something rides upon my shoulders. Everything inside of me says that I need to get there. I don’t think my mind is to be trusted anymore, but nothing really stops me.
My radio has been reporting everything that’s going on in the normal world. People are happy with this “One leader” but there is still unrest. It keeps coming up about these people that preach for hours, very loudly. Everyone is upset about it. No one ever stops mentioning it.
Eight months are long and gone. The preachers are long dead. More come instead, brining people with them. They have also stopped. Not much comes through my radio now. Maybe it’s all over. The journey has brought me to a large hill. I stand upon it, looking around. A sudden realization comes to my mind. Everything is flat. Everywhere around me is flat land. It was the most beautiful thing.
All around was green fields and yellow flowers. The mountains around were speckled with snow. Everything looked like a postcard. I felt like I could spend the rest of my life in this one place. Wait, is there two of that mountain? And why are there more flowers than before? The green seems to fade in and out. Was I going insane? The sky sent down fire and there were suddenly explosions. They consumed the grass, flame took its place. I had only come here to die. As I had said so long ago, People only cling to the hope of future pain. Ten out of ten people die, and my time was cut short by circumstances. I felt the most surreal mix of anger and bliss. I have never wanted to die. But now I knew that even though I die, my pain here will be over. And as I die, I am thankful that my time in this painful age is over. I hope that this is the end of suffering.
“Nobody knows everything about that time. It’s all no highs and lows. All was destroyed then. It’s all gone. A world once so large now seems so very small. Everything is real, but now it seems so fake. From the days that were happy to the time of daily funerals. Each day is just a bipolar, going from bad to even worse. Cities burn and we still fight each other. So many have tried to fix this crap that we’ll surely never get out of. I guess it just proves that some us are just bad people. The worst of days always seem to bring out the worse in all good men. And if a shred of faithfulness still lives then it surely isn’t showing up.” The tape ends, the final words of Thomas fade back into what will eventually become all that anyone has of that time. Destruction isn’t conducive to keeping records.
“Do you remember that day, David?”
“Of course I do. Only a crazy man could possibly forget the day the world blew itself sky high. They all lied. All those hopeful politicians and newscasters who promised some kind of new world order under a ‘One Leader.’ He only sent us even deeper into depression. When it seemed the world couldn’t go any lower, everyone just had to go and fight. Any other day I’d be grateful to be alive. But not today, not even the past month. I’m only alive for some unknown reason.”
“David, do you know what happened to your brother?”
“Yeah I do. He went crazy. One night he called me saying that there was place. A place so beautiful that he had to get to. He said that it was in his dream. I could tell in his voice that he had been drinking recently. Whatever had happened in that dream ate away at his mind, I figure the combination of such a tragedy sent him off a deep ledge of insanity. I went to his house the day after he called me. He was nowhere to be found. He had already left. About a year later I got a call telling saying that he was dead. Killed in a field near the Rockies. The same day that the war started.
“I don’t know why my brother went on that trip. Maybe it was a spiritual search, maybe he was just bored, but I am very confident that he wasn’t all there in the head. In the end he was just a crazy man with a strange purpose. Do you think he is any different than anyone these days?”
The man across the table from David stood up, not even making the chair move. He turned swiftly, heading for the door. “Where are you going Mr. Calvanero?” David called from his chair. The man turned his head, “Off to rule the world.” The door shut right behind him, and David was left in his chains, waiting for when his time on death row would be over.