Aye, Wormwood (fiction)
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hunched figure is meticulously picking his way over crumbling rock pass ahead
of me. First light catches the peak and the fireball in the sky is once again
too glaring to overlook. It was a grey, dreary morning; with just enough light
piercing the clouds to make navigating the rugged terrain bearable. It's been
hanging over our heads for dozens of months now, but what can we do about it? "Hey Captain, wake up
and give me a hand with this rigging.", snaps me out of the daze and I
continue on like I always have, one hand over the other, one foot after the
next; on and on like it's always been, as we push ourselves through the morning
Everyone lurches forward as the tram whips to halt. A loudspeaker crackles, "Everyone off, last chance is now, I'm honored to have carried you today." Why do we humans get so emotional around this time, I start to get lost in my wondering. Remembering snaps me out of it. It isn't my problem anymore. It's no one's problem now.
I reach my pathetic corner of the spire, my apartment number matches the new year. The simple coincidence brings me to laughter for the first time since they let the news leak. They called me hero once, now my address matches their expira-never mind. The heights don't get to me like they do most; they still bring me peace, even in these rough times. The backdrop out my window paints a grim view of what's to come. Looking up you can still make out the dirty exterior of the space station. The International Space Station became something so much bigger than the research center it was intended for. With drive and purpose, the men and women of the third millennia forged it into a stepping stone for our first pushes into the galaxy. This was all before its extensions were abandoned when I was still just a boy, right after the first outbreak.
The Blight. A little less than half a now decrepit century ago, it was to be the first of many things to hit us while we were down.
fear the blight caused was tremendous, nothing else mattered. The government
ordered all funding flopped to the doctors and researchers, leaving the rebuilt
ISS abandoned just before it was needed, before we could take another step. Science
kept the people in fear of a new outbreak, or new mutation for the next
sixty-eight years, and we were more than happy to keep giving them our money. A
few private investors tried to keep up maintenance, but soon, just like the
sprawling vacant cities begun by the twentieth century, it became another
hulking wreck we had to ignore, 500 square miles of orbiting wreckage. Shame,
if they had kept pushing into space, tomorrow morning we wouldn’t be just
another snuffed experiment of intelligence. The earthquake was really where we hit rock
bottom. About sixty years ago a massive 8.6 split through the middle of Los
Angeles and caused one of the most devastating natural disasters the old United
States ever faced, nearly four million wiped off the slate so quick I could
have held my breath through it. Another few million died of aftershocks and
conditions in the California area within the day. The destruction didn't stop
there, no, something the scientists never predicted happened. The Pacific plate
tilted, burying a huge part of Japan's coastal islands and sinking the rest of
western coast just into Idaho. The Caribbean, Eurasian plates were shattered
into so many smaller fragments and every other tectonic plate nearly buckled
from the fallout of the stress release. Whole countries disappeared; Australia
became a chain of Islands. Economies and Empires collapsed, there were no more
superpowers, Europe, Asia and the Americas were sent crashing to their knees; all
of us knowingly awaiting the Executioners blade.
This is how it's going to end. A few drunk men, staring at their beer and awaiting the percussion. Of course, it can't end immediately. Quick and painless is too good for our race. The initial impact will only destroy the last islands of Europe and the Americas. The rest of apocalypse will carry out the collapse of our electromagnetic field triggering more plate snapping quakes, along with tornadoes and hurricanes bigger than Florida had ever seen before it drowned, storms bigger than Florida to erase our ruins. More of a whimper considering the bang it began with.
barkeep is walking outside now, there isn't going to be anyone left to serve in
a few minutes. All attention is focused on our city, not much use to us in
here. As I make my way outside I see a man in the corner. He's mumbling about a
trumpet and a dragon, something about big trouble. Who cares now, the trouble
is here, only a few thousand miles away now, just out past the full moon.