This is The End
Ross G. Homer
The End was an insane time.
Our elaborate plans crashed and burned back then. Gone up in flames. Too many people didn’t care; didn’t think voting was worth the time. Money and greed ran everything, the entire world. We were at war with an advancing world, we were at war with ourselves.
Cops killed with both impunity and immunity. People killed with impunity, anyway. Where a robber who used to rob gas stations and liquor stores would take the money and run, now they killed everyone in the store, then took the money and ran.
Adults abused and murdered children. Children murdered their parents. Neighbors, friends for years, hated each other and frequently killed each other.
Families were ripped apart because of differing views of politics. Education was killed for ‘cost savings,’ breeding a full generation of ignorant young people who, of course, didn’t care. Most, if not all, social programs were killed, despite promises to those already on certain programs that it wouldn’t affect them.
If you couldn’t afford medical care, you died. Entire neighborhoods were razed because it was cheaper than burying the dead. Sometimes, those who still lived in those neighborhoods were killed by the military or police for expediency.
Because of cuts, entire cities burned, not just in the ghettos and barrios, but the high rises and the upper middle class neighborhoods as well. Fire departments were cut to the bone. Many fire fighters fled from the conflagrations they faced allowing the fires to spread. Fire didn’t care if you were a homeless veteran or a billionaire living on top of the hills. All burned equally.
Should you be brave enough to actually call the police for something, you waited hours for one to show, if at all. Same with an ambulance. You didn’t have some kind of medical coverage to pay for the ambulance? You were left to do whatever you could afford, creating the vicious circle that caused the neighborhoods to burn.
Helping the poor went the way of the wooden clog. People were too busy just trying to survive. Many cities looked like those of third world countries where the dead, at times, littered the streets. Nowhere to put the bodies; crematories were over-burdened.
Diseases, of course ran over everything. Childhood diseases killed then, like the cops; with impunity. Flu became epidemic in proportions never seen since the Dark Ages when smallpox destroyed vast areas of mankind. It, too, reared its ugly head, adding millions to the already rising death toll.
Infrastructure collapses killed commerce and shipping. With no way to get products to what was a rapidly failing market, only those with money got fresh, edible foods. However, it was quickly discovered that those who did the actual work of farming were the very people to whom services were slashed. No one could physically do the farming if they were dying or being cared for by others. Starvation ravaged an already ravaged land.
Men and women who maintained the infrastructures, the vehicles, airplanes and ships fell like those farming. Consequently, that part of the infrastructure collapse then blocked access to the many areas that were needed for simple food production. When those in control realized something had to be done, The End was coming like a runaway freight train. That, too, had happened as railroads fell into disrepair. Airports runways were in such poor condition that larger aircraft could no longer land, making medical support dismal to impossible at best.
Those who were extremely lucky and far-sighted enough, fled the dying country before the borders were closed. They left everything except their desire to be free.
After the borders were sealed, people caught trying to flee were summarily executed on the spot along with their entire families, their bodies dumped on the roadsides.
Those naysayers who said ‘Good, it’s about time those progressives were put in their places,’ found out that they, too, were just as wrong as those in power. Those who said it’s my right to own guns, for instance.
That worked just fine until fifteen armed soldiers marched up to your house and demanded your guns. Those who refused were either executed along with their families or, more often, a loved one was dragged into the street and shot. Worse, raped and then shot.
It took no time at all before private guns were in the hands of the government that was elected because voters didn’t think it mattered.
Yes, The End was an insane time.
We fled just before the shithouse went up in flames. We were lucky to get there because our place of refuge was soon faced with a flood of others. Finally, this government was forced to take drastic measures and for months bodies washed up on shore.
Those left behind, those who didn’t die when it all ended, were stuck facing a slow, lingering death due to greed which led to starvation. Sanitation was flushed down the toilet along with safe drinking water.
Turned out that the ultra-rich, the very men and women who caused it all, were no luckier. When they fled to other places to get away from the country their greed devastated, they were instantly imprisoned, or, in some of the less tolerant locales, stood against the back wall of a hangar and executed for crimes against humanity.
Because, as went the our late country, so went much of the rest of the world. Countries where the governments were known for their socially advanced, more liberal views, were forced to become just as evil when it came to dealing with the inundation of immigrants.
There was no profit taking from this despite those who tried.
Now it was simple survival for everyone.
All the elaborate plans of humanity died along with billions of humans who’s only real goal in life was to get from cradle to grave as easily as possible. Sciences died as superstitions arose, more powerful than before.
Religious extremists, already powerful before The End, became even more so. More millions died.
Many of us watching in horror wondered if the world would finally be returned to the oldest surviving creatures: sharks and cockroaches.
Our little island nation became the sanctuary for the sciences. People continued to believe in some unknown, invisible, all-powerful being, but they eventually moved away from that as it became obvious, even to the pulpit-pounders, that the Universe didn’t give one whit about the foibles of humanity; those insane little creatures who inhabited that little blue marble out there in a negligible solar system floating in a small, out-of-the way galaxy.
I thought about this as I looked at the bodies of both our grandparents and parents in their rooms. They’d self-terminated because, in spite of the fact that our little nation appeared to be doing well, the population continued to plummet.
My wife and three children lay in our bed, all gone. Helium. I went in and contemplated the little bottle next to her and the face mask I was to take off her face and use. My turn was coming as soon as I decided when it was the time to start the fire.
Yes, despite having a chance, a very slim chance, that humanity would recover at some point, it wasn’t looking good.
Our old country was a wasteland. The satellite count two months ago showed roughly a hundred thousand people. The one just three days ago showed there were less. The rest of the world was not much better off. Humanity was reduced to not enough people to sustain a population.
What was killing us? There were no diseases now; they’d run their courses. No wars; no one to fight them or manufacture weapons for war. There was now plenty of food. I looked out my windows to our lush garden. Over to the left were a half-dozen chickens. Behind them was the pig sty with three sows and a boar. We had eight goats wandering somewhere. I didn’t much care.
And there it was.
No one cared.
There was no hope anymore.
As I picked up the face mask and made sure of the connection to the bottle I recalled every ‘end-of-the-world’ book or movie I’d seen. I was amazed to find that I may well have been one of the last humans alive on the little blue marble.
I set fire to the fuse that would ignite a pail of turpentine, then lay down beside my wife’s cooling body.
This is the end, beautiful friend, the end.