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The End of the World – edited by Kenneth Weene
That was the challenge, the writing prompt. Here are the responses, nine in all, and each in 200 words or less. They run a broad gamut that will make you smile, think, pray, or perhaps just feel afraid. Two things are sure: The range of pieces demonstrates why we call ourselves a disparate group of writers, and there is something here for almost everyone to enjoy.
Ken Weene is one of the regular editors of The Write Room Blog. You can enjoy an example of his quirky humor at http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1149
And now, in a randomly selected order
The End of the World
1) Who art in Heaven by Ron Cherry
Father Tadhg knelt at the rough-hewn altar, clutching his rosary as he recited Morning Prayer. The cavernous room had been carved by the Ameri-Euro Alliance when moving their headquarters to Greenland in 2208. A vain attempt to find a safe haven when global warming had made south of the 45th parallel uninhabitable.
But attrition from wars against others driven north from the heat and UV poisoning shriveled Alliance numbers. Desperate, they resorted to thermonuclear weapons. It only exacerbated the problem, adding radiation to the mix.
Father Tadhg was the sole survivor in the cave, with its with wells and geothermal electricity. Living on reconstituted food and acrid well water, he faithfully kept the Divine Office. This morning, his long-silent radio spoke. A woman living alone in another cave pleaded for food. She was several days’ walk away, deadly days in the open air.
He read from Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” He sighed and stood, shouldering his pack of dried food. Donning his hat, he walked to the elevator to the surface.
“Our Father . . . .”
R.L. Cherry terms himself a raconteur, a teller of tales for the sake of capturing the reader’s imagination. www.rlcherry.com
2) The end is nigh! by Jon Magee
Surprisingly end of the world theories are not all religious! NASA predicted that in the beginning of the year 2013, the sun’s growing magnetic energy would combine to a high level causing solar flares to destroy all of our computers, disrupting the earth’s magnetic field.
This coincided with another prediction by author David Flynn who said that Isaac Newton’s doomsday calculations were inaccurate, and suggested 2013 instead of 2060 as the end of the world.
Hal Lindsey predicted 1988 as the year of the battle of Armageddon heralding the end of everything. The date was based on the idea that Jesus would return one biblical generation after the birth of Israel in 1948. He said a “biblical generation” was 40 years and the end would be in 1988.
Can the bible be used to calculate the end of the world? According to the bible itself that’s not possible. The time will come, but it will be when we least expect…
Mathew 24:35-36 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
Jon Magee is a writer who has experienced much on the front line of late 20th century history. He has lived what he writes about. http://about.me/Jonmagee.author.minister
3) The World is [Not] Ending By J. F. Elferdink
I declare unequivocally that the world will never end! Current scientific research even points toward this. For example, Science Magazine Newton recently reported that scientists cannot find an edge to our universe–maybe because the edge borders/overlaps other universes. (Physicists report the probability of multiple universes). They also suggest there may be more than four space-time dimensions.
All this fits my theory for enduring universes: When our lives on this world are ended, we are met by the maker of all universes who sweeps us away to the universe that meets our criteria for a perfect world. And as we continue to evolve (re Dante’s Paradiso), we redefine paradise and select its next site. Imagine the wonder of stepping onto other universes–new worlds for humans but perpetual dwellings for angelic beings, certain animals, and other science fiction organisms. I dream of a place like C. S. Lewis’ Perelandra, where food not only satisfies hunger but gives inexpressible pleasure, boundless energy, and elevated understanding, and where evil is unknown. Naturally, I expect my paradise to be devoid of bugs & ex-husbands (their criteria would surely differ!).
Are you primed for a world that never ends? If not, read some SciFi.
Joyce Elferdink approaches life with bouncing energy and enthusiasm. She believes life is abundant, love is plentiful, and creativity is always within grasp. http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Elferdink/e/B008ZTCRUY
4) Survivors by Sal Buttaci
When Earth ended, Tin Man and I were sitting on the green sands of Nuvaria drinking the last Earth-exported shipment of Dos Equis Shine. We watched the galactic fireworks, explosions of Sun and Earth, along with our dreams of returning home, rain down like giant cinders in bright skies.
“What now, Tin Man?” The flesh-simile bowed his steel head, but I was the one who matched his gesture with feelings of profound sorrow. A man and his mandroid marooned on a distant star was plenty cause for depression, but what could we do?
Tin Man took another swig of shine and tossed the empty bottle behind him. He said, “Edgarth Morales, we will make do.”
Tin Man addressed me by my full name. He had no name of his own. I tried once to name him “John Smith” but he refused to accept it. “Call me Tin Man,” he said in his almost human voice.
Up there our planet and the bright star that had once brought us our bright days still sparked chunks of land, sea, and fire.
“At least we’re alive.”
“Speak for yourself,” said Tin Man. He handed me another cold Dos Equis. “Drink it slow.”
Sal Buttaci loves seeing life flash before his eyes. Visit him at http://cherryevasquez.tateauthor.com/uncategorized/a-bio-flash-from-sal-buttaci/
5) How the World Ends by D. M. Pirone
Fire or ice, the poet said;
He was wrong.
The world ends in water.
Lapping against the shore,
A quarter-inch higher than last year;
A slow rise to simmer, a sickness gaining ground.
The beach submerges;
Then the fields,
The lawns, the parks, the streets,
The schools, houses, churches;
Drowned lands topped by a cross,
The last sentinel of a steeple.
“Why did you let this happen, God?
You promised Noah.
How could You break Your word?”
God answers, sad and quietly:
“You broke My world, that I gave you to take care of.”
No answer to that but silence.
What more is there to say?
6) The Rupture by Bryan Murphy
“Welcome!” said God.
The assembled diplomats burst into applause. Few had expected God actually to show up.
“I don’t really look like this,” said God, stroking the long red hair that fell over pendulous, obsidian breasts. “If I came as I really am, I’d literally blow your minds. Now, any atheists here?”
“Yes,” said the representative of Belgium.
“Still?” asked God.
“You could be a conjurer.”
“And if I were to melt you on the spot?”
“That would convince me.” The man smiled. So did God.
The woman next to the Belgian hastily moved her feet away from the malodorous puddle.
“Now, the same treatment for all atheists.”
The floor was spattered with puddles.
“Yes,” said God, “more than one imagined.” Even the Arab League was no longer a cohesive bloc.
“That was fun,” said God. “Now, with your critical thinkers gone, your days are numbered, but I’ll speed things up. I’ll give you 100 days. If you last that long. Oh, the good news: there is no Hell. No Purgatory. None of that.”
“Heaven?” a voice piped.
“You’re joking. No afterlife. You think I’d want to spend eternity with you lot?”
The world ended 76 days later.
Bryan Murphy is a British author with a talent for speculative fiction and poetry. He lives in Italy and welcomes visitors at http://.www.bryanmurphy.eu
7) To face the crisis by Martha Love
If the world was coming to an end, I would start meditating for inner balance. Depth psychologist Carl Jung was once told a story by a friend about a village in China that was experiencing a very long drought. To these villagers, it was like the world was coming to an end. They did everything they knew to pray, banish the demons, and call the rain to come. But it was to no avail. So they finally brought in a rainmaker, a shaman from another village.
Upon arriving at the village, he looked around and went inside a tent that he asked the villagers to make for him and stayed there for 3 days. Everyone wondered what he was doing and why he wasn’t out trying to make it rain.
Finally, it started snowing on the 4th day. When asked how he did it, the rainmaker said something like “I did not make the snow. When I got here, everything in the village was out of order—out of Tao—so I became out of balance too. I meditated until I found my center of being and then of course all went naturally into order again and the rain came.”
Martha Love writes non-fiction on the topic of the intelligence of human nature and gut instincts. Her book website is http://careerstorefront.angelfire.com.
8) Missed Opportunities by Stuart Carruthers
“The end of the world is nigh”, proclaimed the sandwich board slung over James’s shoulders. He was used to the verbal abuse and the urine. Fists soaked into him like the rain that soaked his bones on inclement days. All the time he smiled to himself. It wasn’t just that he believed the end of the world was coming: he knew. From the LCD display on his board, he knew that in precisely 4 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds the Earth would shatter into an infinite number of molecules.
He and others like him had tried warning us, but they were ignored. For the 39 years, since James had arrived on Earth, he’d been telling people the end of the world was coming. He wanted to give us enough notice. Now it was too late. For the last time he removed the board and rested it against the plate glass window of a shop and walked away.
“Oi, come back,” shouted a spotty youth in a dark blue blazer and a name tag that also announced the name of the store he worked for.
“Sorry Robin,” James read the young man’s badge; “it’s too late.”
Former Londoner Stuart Carruthers writes about distopian displaced expats in Asia. Read samples of his work at www.writeimagination.co.uk
9) The end of the world by Kenneth Weene
So weary, I have no idea why I go on. My knapsack becomes emptier each day, yet it seems to grow heavier on my shoulders, I earch. I find nothing, no one—at least not alive. Why I keep this journal I cannot say; still I write if only of dust, death, and desolation.
I go on. I know I will find nothing, nobody—not anymore. Step after step I go on until, exhausted, I sink to the ground and sleep. There is no longer a sense of day and night. Dust obscures the heavens into gray twilight,
I suck air from the dusk. My lungs ache with the effort. If only there were another survivor, somebody. It there were, what would I say?
Do I hallucinate? There she is; her face covered with grime, her body wracking with each breath. Yes, it is she. I can say it. I can tell her. “Sonia,” I say, “you see I was right all along. When you left it was the end—the end of the world.
He is a poet and novelist as well as a writer of short stories; find Ken Weene’s personal website at http://www.kennethween.com