This is a collection of anecdotes from the fringes of reality, a tapestry stitched together from our dreams as well as our nightmares, from the fears that haunt the collective imagination. These are the symptoms of the sickness known as the human condition.
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Here Today Gone Tomorrow
Joseph Tano’s life ended abruptly just past the fourth hour of his 17,204th day. It was unremarkable enough an event, a coronary. When the moment came, he barely stirred. His wife slept peacefully next to him unaware and unable to hear Joseph’s terrified pleading as he watched the last twinkle of light he’d ever see recede into an expanding void until the darkness snuffed it out altogether. Death was wholly unexpected. There’d been no indications, no physiological omens that made him suspect his final moments had come. The rational part of him understood sudden death was a possibility but he always convinced himself that only happened to other people. His first instinct was to try and claw out of the encroaching darkness, but he felt no hands. He dissolved into the spaceless nowhere. There was nothing but his blinking thoughts.
“Nobody told me how lonely this would be”
The final pulsing of the neuron clusters that formed this thought was the last and faintest flash of is vanquished existence.
The fleet of ships that now held what remained of humanity inside their titanium hulls hovered at the edge of space. The mood was somber as everyone waited in a quiet tension pendulating between despair and mind-shattering terror. The powering up of the colossal nuclear engines sent gale force winds ripping across the planet. This was the beginning of their latest exodus, just another jump on their way to the last.
Human civilization's only hope rested with an asteroid that was hurtling in their direction. The appearance of this interstellar ballistic was heralded as a miracle, and indeed it was their only hope of escaping the world they devoured. When it screamed past the desolated little planet, they would launch themselves at the oncoming cosmic projectile it in a desperate attempt to cling to its jagged surface. It's projected trajectory was set to take it just outside the orbit of a small planet dubbed Toba. An infinitesimal but livable world.
There wasn't enough …
It was a bright and mild morning. A few billowing white clouds drifted lazily across the ocean blue sky, the gentle sun reflected off the dew coated grass and flowers, giving the world a shimmer. A human stream filled the streets and sidewalks as the city rose to life.
One lonely widower had a different reaction to the beautifully emerging day.
Hibiki closed the shutters on his windows, locked the door, and sat his tired old body into a reclining chair in front of a blaring television. To Hibiki, the day’s crystal sky was a dark omen and a visceral reminder of that horrific moment all those decades ago when a flash of light took away 100,000 people.
Hibiki had been there when it happened. He was a doctor at the time, and while the bomb canceled the workday for most everyone else for people in Hibiki’s line of work, there was an additional layer of hell to endure.
“Please...Please..help my daughter!” Hibiki could hear a woman pleading from the street below. With a trembling hand, he pi…
The river was like a massive indigo snake coiling in the shadow of the canyons its eternal flow cut out of the very earth. Somewhere along the watery corridor, settled human life grew out of the muddy banks. The tribe sustained itself on the arterial river, steadily expanding and contracting with the rhythm of its flow like a beating heart.
As far as anyone in the tribe knew no other arrangement had ever existed. The river had birthed them, molding sand and clay into flesh, and infusing the husks with its life-giving waters.
Life under the desert’s smooth turquoise sky seemed safely stagnant. There was no inkling, no deciphered omens, absolutely no hunch of the approaching cataclysm lurking just out of sight obscured by the landscape’s jagged ridges.
Not far from the isolated patchwork of green and brown earth settled by this tribe, the scion of ancient god well into his twilight years was on the cusp of fulfilling his divine purpose.
Harmakar was sitting in the dust staring into the …