wasted effort (classic end of the world scenario)

The tides push forward, receding, and then back again. Like an eternal flow they carry on: powerful, majestic, peaceful with an evil smirk on its face. Two years ago my last touch with humanity was snatched so viciously away; pulled from my feeble grasps of despair. I console myself with this journal, the last to be ever written. Soon I will join my wife, soon.
My story begins in my youth, when I was about 9. I lived in a very small community where everyone knew everyone. I lived a tad out of town, about half an hour away, on a small acreage. The acreage itself was quite dilapidated, and there were no animals. The grounds were fairly well kept, but the hired gardener we had was growing old, and the weeds were catching up with him. My family worked not on the farm, but in town where there were a scattering of jobs for most of them.
One night while gazing through my telescope a few minutes from my house, I spotted an abnormal star. It grew brighter at a brisk pace, yet not moving. I decided upon the explanation that I was witnessing an extraordinary event of Mother Nature, a Super Nova. That was quickly dismissed after it grew to about the size of my fist I had put up in the air beside it; and now thought it to be a meteoroid about to come in close contact with the Earth near to me. I, along with my helpful telescope, scurried over to behind a rock face. With its light growing in intensity; its speed gathering; its noise close to deafening, it flew past me with enough force to knock me down while also succeeding in taking the air with it. The rock face I had hid behind protected me from getting burnt or obliterated. With a great explosion, it crashed into a field a few hundred feet away, but not before blowing a few trees apart and a fence. I rushed over with growing excitement, mixed with a little fear, combining into a startling adrenaline. The ground around and leading to it was burnt, destroyed, and moved. It had created a crater more than a few meters wide, while smouldering with an incandescent light; a strange, burnt-atmosphere smell which lingered around it not unlike after an electrical storm. The air was warm and surprisingly moist. My first look upon this heavenly phenomenon was not a good one, for there was still smoke and haze hanging about in the ether. After it had cleared, I quickly got two sticks in which I was going to place my outer-worldly companion. I cautiously stepped down the embankment while all of my concentration was on not slipping.
Once I got down right beside it, it looked rather normal, except for small holes developed all around it. It looked warm and was glowing faintly. Not until I had placed the stone on my meek gathering of two sticks did I see inconspicuous blue ooze flowing silently from some of the holes. I decided rather half-wittedly to touch the substance. When I did, it was warm and flowed freely almost like water but with some elasticity. It seemed to evaporate soon after I had touched it so I kept on accumulating more and more on my hand. It was after a few seconds that I had realised that it was amassing itself inside my skin, for my surface was glowing not unlike the goo itself. Frightened yet interested, I was clueless upon what to do. The meteorite, I guess I will call it, seemed to have cooled down a considerable amount from when I first gazed upon it. I licked my fingers then quickly touched the rock, checking to see its warmth, carefully retreating afterwards. I was foolishly curious; I tasted the residue on my feeble fingers. They tasted almost metallic, yet not quite. Another taste that was almost recognised by my other senses, was none like I had ever tasted before. My fingers were still wet with saliva, so I assumed that I could hold it in my hands. It was only about 9 or 10 inches wide with close to the same as length. Now, in my youth I have done silly things, this being one of them, and I can’t even try to forgive myself for it.
As I carried this celestial object, I found it to be rather light, also. I managed to carry it, along with my telescope, back to my house. I had to go a variety of different paths before reaching my home because of the vast debris and burning objects. When I had reached my house, I had found that my parents along with my sister were all asleep. I quietly sauntered up the stairs to my bedroom. I put the telescope back into my closet, placed the meteorite on my drawer, undressed, and went to sleep.
In the night my dreams were fascinating, at first. I was flying close to ground level, then suddenly willing myself to fly higher, I did. It was so wonderful and felt so real. But, the surrounding earth was quite different. Everything was wilting, dying, and I had felt that it was my entire fault. I was overcome with a sense of helplessness and a failed dependency. No one that I could immediately see was around; in fact cars were parked in the middle of the street. As I came down for a closer look I saw that people, skeletons, were leaning on the seats. All the buildings were as if they had been left behind for hundreds of years, left to rot and degrade. In another thousand years this would all be gone. Everything reduced to the pile of dust everything began from. Nothing was left except complete and utter despair. Newspapers blew by silently, going wherever the cold wind would take them. Little dust devils appeared then dispersed, their short lives the only ones left.
Why, why had this terrible thing happened? Why was it my fault? So many questions I asked myself that night, none of them answered. I felt compelled to get the answers, but I knew of no place to find them.

In the morning I’d forgotten the whole thing, happy as a normal nine year-old boy should be. But then I saw the hunk of rock staring at me cold in the face, already making an unnoticeable depression beneath it. It: a solemn reminder of my dream, of all the suffering. In my schoolboy anger I hastily threw it out the window and watched it fall into the little creek where I loved to go fishing. Cursing myself for throwing it where I’d have to see it the next time I went fishing, I went downstairs to have breakfast and try to forget about it.
I went downstairs, but only to have it smothered into my face. A news reporter was conversing with the weatherman about the meteorite that fell last night near our area. My meteorite on my land.
“Well, Tom, that was an unexpected meteor-shower yesterday, what was up with that?”
“Well, nobody saw it coming. It just appeared out of thin air. Also, coincidentally, there was a great electrical disturbance 19 miles away from the edge of the atmosphere. We’ve already dispatched a team to go and collect the meteorite, if there’s anything left, and find where it fell. We’re all stumped back at NASA, we’ve never-“
“Hold on a minute there, we’ve just received word, uh-huh, yes, we’ve just received word that another meteorite has fallen in Odessa, Texas. Whether these two incidents are related, we’ve yet to find out; there was also, however, an electrical disturbance, a few minutes ago, which was exactly twenty-four hours from the time the last electrical disturbance was recorded, which was followed by that meteorite. There was nobody hurt; it landed way out in the middle of nowhere, in the plains a few miles away from Odessa. We will keep you up to date on all of this, please stay with CNN.”
Right after that there was a formidable pounding on the door, almost as if on cue. Two suits had been sent out to find the meteorite, and now they were here, questioning my family. My family, of course, had no idea what had happened. I didn’t plan on telling them; it didn’t seem like something that you just told your parents. Well, my parents acted like normal, unknowing folk, which was what they were. Then they questioned us separately, as if they had something to hide. But I knew they didn’t know a thing, just as clueless as I was. When it was my turn I quietly remembered what I was going to say to him, what I had previously prepared.
“Son, your mother tells an interesting story. She said you were down near the area where we believed the meteorite to have impacted the land. What was it again you were doing, looking through a telescope of yours? You’d think that you would’ve at least seen something.”
“No sir, nothing at all,” I lied.
“With that telescope of yours, you’d be blind not to have seen anything. So why are you denying knowledge of any of this? We’ve checked this whole area: thirty-five miles square. Not even a single singed blade of grass.”
They checked a radius of thirty-five miles and uncovered nothing. That took a while to sink in. For a moment my brain tried to rationalise what he’d just said, like all people do after something incomprehensible transpires. I thought what had happened wasn’t real, that I had just dreamt finding the rock, with all of its destruction, even up to now, with this man in front of me, interrogating me. His rancid stale breath brought me back to reality.
“No sir, I didn’t see anything, not even a flash of light. But I did get in early; I might’ve missed it. Sorry, sir,” I lied again.
“Well, if anything happens, anything you do see, you let us know. Your father’s got our number.”

After that day, where and when it all began, nothing happened; no explanations, no more falling meteors where there shouldn’t have been; nothing for fifteen years. In that fifteen-year absence nothing remotely related to what had happened that day transpired. Through those uneventful years I graduated from Guelph University with a Masters in the field of Meteorical Archaeology, and a Bachelors in Biology, quite an accomplishment, in my mind. I guess that incident when I was nine must’ve had an impression on me.
The next part of my life takes place while working for the university. While I had still been in the university I had been offered a dig at the run-down little town of Odessa, Texas. It involved a craterlet that the Texas Aeronautics and Space Agency had overlooked and had believed it to be part of a larger meteorite that crashed hundreds of years ago. At first, something clicked in my brain about its significance, but I didn’t know what. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity, not just because of the money but because there’s some adventure and travel in that whole aspect.
When I got down there, the first thing I did was to book myself a hotel room at the Rio Calitoro. Cheap government. The one I was in wasn’t exactly up to my best standards: cockroaches and mice, not to mention the unsanitary patrons of the place. But that wasn’t the most notable thing about going there.
The day after, when I went to check in with the team, I met someone there. I didn’t recognise her, physically. In a weird way, almost like tuition, I knew there was a link between us. Now, I’m not talking about love at first sight, but it might have been that too. There was no doubt in my mind she was beautiful. When I went up to her, after introducing myself to someone else, the moment she saw me I knew she could sense the same connection as me. After chatting briefly for a few minutes and finding out her name was Adrianna, we went our separate ways into the site.
The site itself was immense; I don’t know how those people at the TASA could’ve missed it, what with their satellites and everything. It was just over a mile wide and close to the same length. It wasn’t all that deep, only three quarters of a mile.
As I began to sift through the first of the hundreds of layers of the sand, I happened to glance over and saw Adrianna looking back at me. Foolishly I dropped my brush and bent down to regain its grip. When I looked back up, she was once again busy.
Five feverishly fun hours later I was in my hotel-room. I had finished that days work and was cleaning up. Just as I was about to get ready for a shower, I heard a knock on the door.
“Coming!” I quickly replied.
As I opened the door, I thought about how I should’ve just remained silent and let her pass. It was Adrianna, and she looked like she had some important news.
“Turn on the news, quick!”
I did so and what met my eyes shocked me. Images of millions of dead people lining the streets and in hospitals, in schools and in office buildings. All of them were rotting already, but they had died probably only minutes before. The newscaster’s voice droned on.
“What we are seeing here is worse than all the diseases mankind has ever dealt with, ever imagined. A fast-acting lethal virus we believe that was carried on a meteorite is now spreading worldwide. One hour and twenty minutes ago that meteorite impacted directly in Hiroshima, Japan, ironically acting almost as powerful as the Atomic Bomb which destroyed it many years ago. Now, it seems as if this meteorite was almost intentionally sent to hit Hiroshima because of its significance and such a direct hit. Oh, we’ve just received word that France and Europe are now feeling this spreading hand of death. Oh, the world’s ending, it’s over! IT’S-“
And with that the reporter was cut off; it seemed she couldn’t take it anymore.
“You’re from Guelph, the place where the first meteorite hit. This is taking a leap, but were you the one who found it?”
“Hey! How’d you know I’m from Guelph, but, yeah! I was; I never told anyone.”
“You can learn a lot from the Internet. I think the key for the cure is in the stones. Unfortunately, mine was lost a long time ago, in a house fire. My parents were… Anyway, I had to find the owner of the other stone. I knew it was you! Together we can give this stone to everyone, help everyone! I think the stones are the same, yours must’ve been absorbed into your skin. That’s what the cure must be!”
She had a good point, but there were many things left out. Why were two stones sent? Who had sent the first stones, and the last poisonous stone? I still had to retrieve the stone from where it sat at the bottom of a creek.
“We have to go to Ontario.”
“What?” She timidly replied.
“The stone, it’s in a creek where I threw it a long time ago. We have to leave quickly to recover it and use it accordingly.”

With that, we both just up and left. An hour later we were 20,000 feet in the air, cruising along, the only two passengers minus the pilot and a rabbi. I guess they thought the world was ending, the pilots, to not care about anything and go on living. I respected that and even thought they were courageous.
When we got there, in the small Guelph Airport, I thought of how many more lives would be lost in the plane-ride here. I shuddered, but Adrianna didn’t notice. We hailed a taxi, kind of. There was an empty one running that had been left in an alleyway. On the ride there, we were both dead silent. The weight of the world rested on our shoulders.
When we got to my old house, we found everything was in abundance, except for the house. The water was fresh, the trees and bushes lush. I walked over to edge of the water and gazed down. The water had a bluish hue to it and in one part was glowing faintly, which brought back memories. I took off my shirt and shoes and dived in. The water wasn’t cold, but soothing. The creek wasn’t very deep, and once I found the stone I brought it back up to the surface. The first thing I did was giving some of its energy to Adrianna, accidentally, as she was looking at it. Without a word, she slipped it into her pocket and we drove back to town.
The first person we saw who was sick was at the hospital and we healed him; the sickness had reached the Western World. With the sickness acting in less than an hour, I had little if no hope for the world. The gentleman was happy, I don’t know what for; nothing was left. I looked at Adrianna and she gazed deep into my eyes. We both knew the fate that would befall mankind forever.
We would become extinct.
We both decided uncommunicatively what would become, what should become of the stone. With no hope left, Adrianna hurled herself and the stone over the sidewalk and down past the jagged cliffs into the ocean. I cried out, but I knew it would happen.
I travelled back to my old house, found some paper and a pen, went to a rock beside my creek, and started writing. Now, I am finished writing. My story has been told. But who is left to read it? The only man alive besides myself now is that gentleman we should’ve left. He was so close to the Truth, to treasures unimaginable. But instead he will suffer, alone, just like me.

By torch

talk to me; maybe I'll tell you everything