When you look at the many stories that tell of the end of the world, you often will find the same words over and over. Words that describe how the world will end. They are the same words we have heard many times before, they talk about whispers and whimpers.
But those are wrong. We were wrong.
Even as I write this, I can hear it. The screaming. Jesus, they never stop screaming.
It was a sunny January day when it all started. The day was cold but the sun was out, having broken free of the clouds of the night’s before snowfall. I was at home with my son, Jeremy. He was only five at the time and he was playing with his toy cars on the living room floor while I prepared him his lunch in the kitchen. This wasn’t so unusual for a Saturday routine.
I was for all purposes a stay at home dad. I had a job but I had my own office at home, a not very lucrative job as a tax analyst. God was it boring but it paid the bills. My wife of seven years left when Jeremy was three, leaving with a co-worker to some far corner of the country.
She didn’t even try to contact me or our son, and I felt that was for the best. It was hard enough to explain to Jeremy why his mother wasn’t around, and how I tried to hold back the information it was simply because his mother had grown tired of her own husbands love.
As I sat the jelly sandwich in front of my son on the floor, and my own ham sandwich on the coffee table I noticed that the news was running still from earlier that morning. I always kept the news on in the morning before Jeremy woke up but usually shut it off before he was out in the living room as I didn’t want him to see what was going wrong with this world. Blame me, call me a foolish parent, but I wanted to keep him innocent as long as I could.
I sat down on the couch to find the remote when the incoming news report stopped me in my tracks. The volume was low and Jeremy’s constant babble overwhelmed the anchorman until I turned up the volume, the headline catching my eye.
“Jeremy, go eat your food in your room.” I ordered him not taking my eyes off the screen. I barely even recognized out of the corner of my eye that he picked up his plate and walked out of the room.
“We are getting in reports that what appears to be a highly contagious disease has now spread across Europe and Asia.” The anchorman said in his professional, monotonous voice. Nothing in his voice gave away the dire words that next came from his mouth.
“There is no news from scientists on exactly what this disease is, and there seems to be no other symptoms other than the victim being in extreme pain before death.”
That was about two months ago. The disease seemed to slow down when it reached Asia but soon it had swept through the entire continent and reached the west coast of North America and down through South America. By the time it reached us we had finally realized exactly what was happening, but it didn’t mean we could stop it.
People were dying within seconds, milliseconds even. Every millisecond was one estimate. Men, Women, Children. There was no eyewitnesses that lived long enough to tell what they saw, so in the end it was just the people who died that knew exactly was what happening.
Presidents and politicians hid, but they were found even in their deepest bunkers or highest planes. Astronauts perished in space, their screams filling the airways. They however didn’t die first, they died above where the current outbreak was. If someone was dying in Hawaii and the space station was there miles high above the earth, they would die too.
Animals weren’t affected, they seemed spared. Or at least the ones not locked up away from food where their owners put them before perishing hours later. Plants weren’t affected either. It was just the human race. And this was no disease the scientists concluded.
If scientists from a place unaffected went to an affected area they wouldn’t die, in fact they would be alive as long as their home wasn’t affected. They were completely baffled by this, but in the end even they too perished from the unseen force.
And that’s where I stand now. Reports of screaming were coming in from the next city over. I know in minutes I will face whatever virus or entity will visit this household. I put Jeremy to sleep early, but even sleep won’t stop the dying. I only pray Jeremy will be asleep when it comes and he won’t be in pain.
I can hear the screams louder now. Just down the street from me. I’m trying to write this all down just in case…someone, or something will see it. Maybe there are people that survived in remote corners of the earth, or some in the bunkers that we lost contact with. Hell, even my wife being alive to read this would be fine too.
The screams are getting closer.
Jeremy. I hear him screaming for me, daddy, daddy. I can’t come for you my boy, in a second I’ll be gone too.
We were wrong. The world doesn’t end with a whimper or a bang…no. It ends with the screams of the entire planet from something we could never fight against because we can’t see it or fight it.
What is it? We never had ideas, but one thing still scares me. Seven billion people dying milliseconds apart…
That’s almost exactly two and half months to wipe us all out.