Two of the three fish tanks were ok. Only, where were the large angel fish in the third? My daughter, Sam, walked around to the side. She was standing on tippy toes and still her nose only came up to the sandy bottom of the aquarium. Nevertheless, it was she who found the fish lying flat on their sides gasping. I couldn’t understand it. We had used the same filtration, the same water in all three tanks. What had happened? Five year old Jo, on the other hand, was busy running in and out of the spacious rooms. Finally, at last, our flat was finished. The pictures were hung, the antique carpets were laid and looked luxurious in the mahogany sitting room. It looked like home. Home away from home. Home now in Japan.Continue reading “The Ancient Wisdom by Crispen Lish”
Simon arrived at the end of the world. This was the end of the world in both space and time: the very edge of a universe that would collapse in about an hour. It was a beach that merged into a desert, nothing on it but a pair of loungers and a figure in one of those. The scene seemed wholly unimpressive—however, Simon knew appearances tended to deceive.Continue reading “(At) The End of the World by David Sebesta”
When my broadcasting partner, Screwdriver Dan, drops his jaw, I think he has a dental problem. When the station manager texts me to stop by her office after our show, the thought of a raise flashes through my mind. The first inkling I get that something’s wrong is when our call screener informs us the switchboard is lighting up, and no one wants to talk about home repairs.Continue reading “The End Of The World by Dave Henson”
One night, five days before departure:
“I’m not staying for you,” Andrew says.
He lies next to me in bed, his eyes aflame, half-hidden by a lock of hair fallen across his brow. A bead of sweat carves a shimmering trail down his chest.
I prop myself up on one elbow.
“Then why? Soon there will be nothing to stay for.”
“The people, Sarah. Are they not worth staying for?”
I roll my eyes.Continue reading “Departure by Callum Rowland”
I was looking out the window of my 3rd story deluxe apartment, the ceiling high windows the selling point of the hip, modern home. All the people below looked so different, yet eerily similar. Long hair, man buns, side shaves, and bright awful color streaks through their hair to match the dull plaid shirts with the sleeves rolled to the elbows.
My wife left me for good this time. She euthanized our dog, an action I believed extreme. Quit her job, salted the flowerbeds, grabbed a suitcase it turns out had been packed for months, banged the door behind her. Didn’t even say goodbye to our boys. Just stared at them for a moment, as if ciphering. Me, she’d learned to unsee. Then she scrammed.
In September 2212, the artificial intelligence running the Near Earth Object Observation Program at Big Pine, announced impassively that it had discovered a new asteroid that would impact the Earth in about five years’ time. It estimated its size to be similar to that of Australia. I’ve often wondered who it told first, and how they reacted.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who wanted to discuss the end of the world with me, but Jeremy Smedley was a bird of a different color. He didn’t have a standard preferred pseudonym, for one. He was willing to speak with me on the phone without turning on any dodgy homemade anti-surveillance devices. Most significantly, I didn’t have to meet him in a church sub-basement, a hidden personal library, or anything one might describe as a bunker. Jeremy felt no need to conceal his galactic insights, instead offering to meet me on a charming grassy hill overlooking an otherwise charmless Midwestern town.
In the dream, all I had to do was keep going until I got to the center of the city and then turn right to get to Grand Central Station. Before that I had been in L.A. where some cultists were convinced the world was going to end in another two days. They saw the signs in the street and were all standing around and pointing at a string of lights laid out in a certain way. My boss, Steve, thought they were crazy. He, or someone else, was telling us about a new service, a van set up as a portable office at the airport where you could sit for a while and do your business. Someone handed me a pile of photos which Steve wanted to see so I handed them to him and he found one of himself and his wife and there was a visible reaction that showed me they were very close. Before that I had been standing on my lawn and about a hundred noisy kids were living next door and someone had come by to replace my cell phone and he wanted to know if he should remove the loudspeaker. The further back I went the more complicated the dream got. In any case it must have been Steve who sent me to Grand Central. He liked to have us exercise, so there was someone else from the office out walking too, a woman, but she turned off where there was a fork in the road, following an arrow, while I continued straight through, catching green lights all the way.