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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by desmondwrite

Freedom and the Word Machine

Fearing the 60s and the riots, when everyone from academics to assholes were in the streets protesting against the CIA and their machine that could kill words, and wanting to keep their seats in the House, the Republicans in charge of the Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology focused their budget on the antithesis of a dictionary-demolishing weapon: a thing designed to promote and propagate words important to the American people, specifically the Republican party.

A test-run on the word "Recognition" (randomly selected from a Thesaurus) yielded funny results. Peering into a basketball-sized biosphere, the Subcommittee watched an army of ants retire from service and sweep across the fauna, examine every leaf, touch softly the heads of aphids, squint at flowers, knead antennae diplomatically, before they turned rust-red eyes up toward their observers, making the Subcommittee very uncomfortable.

Next the Subcommittee fired "Limited, Representative Government" into a vacuum-sealed glass of bickering Syrian hamsters, and watched the rodents form a Republic of little Ciceros and Caesars, with great orations delivered from the wheel, and mobs of bites behind the igloo. "Technology" led to spiderspun cities of silver, dung cars, silkworm sweaters and sweatpants. A lobbyist suggested "Consumer," and all recoiled as the experiment's population decreased from 19 cats to a groaning one.

I'm not sure what happened next. Possibly there was a leak in the biodome or a fingerprint. Or the machine, in materializing the abstraction, was affected, along with anyone who touched it. But "Freedom" found itself spilling over the planet like an endless, invisible acid, and the Republicans in charge of the Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology found themselves the careless architects of humanity's dissolution.

First, the effects were tolerable. Free from law, we did what we wanted. Free from daily schedule, we enjoined the chaos of self-pleasure. We stayed home, we made love, we took the kids to the park. But soon the acid touched the bonds of family, and we found ourselves wandering away from connections, apathetic to distance. People cried bitterly as they walked, until they were free from emotions as well; free, free, free from logic and madness, from vices and virtues. We ceased speaking the languages. Wild calls, babbling. We ceased needing to breathe, or eat, and our hearts made their own rhythms or crawled from our chests. Some people floated into the sky; others fell through the Earth.

The chair of the Subcommittee tried to turn off the machine, but her interest waned, and free of ration she began to lick the floor, before her tongue fell out, and then she curled up into a spider-like obscenity and screamed in strange bursts. I, free of perspective, or present-ness, of my own life's narrative in Hyderabad, never having met any of these people, watched her.

Our atoms stretched like cigars and detached. We became plasma clouds of skin tones and white gaseous eyes and an internal dispersing pink mist – and then we dispersed.

Free of death, the people persisted in their unraveling.

Free of time, the people unravel.

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by desmondwrite
Freedom and the Word Machine
Fearing the 60s and the riots, when everyone from academics to assholes were in the streets protesting against the CIA and their machine that could kill words, and wanting to keep their seats in the House, the Republicans in charge of the Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology focused their budget on the antithesis of a dictionary-demolishing weapon: a thing designed to promote and propagate words important to the American people, specifically the Republican party.

A test-run on the word "Recognition" (randomly selected from a Thesaurus) yielded funny results. Peering into a basketball-sized biosphere, the Subcommittee watched an army of ants retire from service and sweep across the fauna, examine every leaf, touch softly the heads of aphids, squint at flowers, knead antennae diplomatically, before they turned rust-red eyes up toward their observers, making the Subcommittee very uncomfortable.

Next the Subcommittee fired "Limited, Representative Government" into a vacuum-sealed glass of bickering Syrian hamsters, and watched the rodents form a Republic of little Ciceros and Caesars, with great orations delivered from the wheel, and mobs of bites behind the igloo. "Technology" led to spiderspun cities of silver, dung cars, silkworm sweaters and sweatpants. A lobbyist suggested "Consumer," and all recoiled as the experiment's population decreased from 19 cats to a groaning one.

I'm not sure what happened next. Possibly there was a leak in the biodome or a fingerprint. Or the machine, in materializing the abstraction, was affected, along with anyone who touched it. But "Freedom" found itself spilling over the planet like an endless, invisible acid, and the Republicans in charge of the Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology found themselves the careless architects of humanity's dissolution.

First, the effects were tolerable. Free from law, we did what we wanted. Free from daily schedule, we enjoined the chaos of self-pleasure. We stayed home, we made love, we took the kids to the park. But soon the acid touched the bonds of family, and we found ourselves wandering away from connections, apathetic to distance. People cried bitterly as they walked, until they were free from emotions as well; free, free, free from logic and madness, from vices and virtues. We ceased speaking the languages. Wild calls, babbling. We ceased needing to breathe, or eat, and our hearts made their own rhythms or crawled from our chests. Some people floated into the sky; others fell through the Earth.

The chair of the Subcommittee tried to turn off the machine, but her interest waned, and free of ration she began to lick the floor, before her tongue fell out, and then she curled up into a spider-like obscenity and screamed in strange bursts. I, free of perspective, or present-ness, of my own life's narrative in Hyderabad, never having met any of these people, watched her.

Our atoms stretched like cigars and detached. We became plasma clouds of skin tones and white gaseous eyes and an internal dispersing pink mist – and then we dispersed.

Free of death, the people persisted in their unraveling.

Free of time, the people unravel.
#scifi  #horror  #apocalypse 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Jumotki

When Leaves Fall

     I watched my father’s body dissolve. He had always insisted that the virus was a hoax unleashed by the media, and that it would pass over like any other exaggerated-for-viewership story. He died peacefully, in his worn armchair, as if he had fallen asleep. His body was gone in moments. Dad’s death was just as easy and convenient as we expected, as recounted by friends, family, online videos—a death free from mess, or funeral expenses, or rounding up distant acquaintances for a memorial.

     It was a quiet death, with no remains or evidence—which is why the virus wormed undetected for so long and was so long ignored. There was no hemorrhaging or pain; it lacked the dramatic death throes that we love to watch so much in movies, with the victim's eyes rolling back in their heads and their mouths open in agony, as if their every atom was being crucified. People vanished—all flesh, hair, and bone disintegrating in a moment.

     And then it was winter in June. Leaves disappeared from trees and shrubs, and grass sucked into dirt. Tree branches stretched like desperate hands or exposed human vessels. Everywhere there was cement, industrial skylines indistinguishable from the gray sky; the stone-pallor of corpses in the streets, visible for a second before they crumbled into themselves. People lay where they sank, like toppled trees, as people walked around them in the streets, seconds later the empty space was swallowed by passerby. Entire households woke up together; their laughter turned silent by nightfall.

     During this time, the government broadcasted reassurance, promises of free healthcare assistance and medical breakthroughs. The news was filled with white-coated scientists bustling in pristine labs that looked like Apple stores. Job listings for medical volunteers went up everywhere.

     Most people did not panic. My family and friends discussed the latest disappearances, complained about the lack of fresh food, swapped new recipes involving canned foods and dried legumes. There were whispered rumors of a breakthrough in the labs; something about monkeys. Everyone talked about the virus passing over in time, how the news (“fake news,” our President called it) exaggerated the death tolls for ratings.

     Finally, the president appeared on TV, bedecked in a blue suit and red tie, a flame of color in a charcoal-drawing world. His office’s egg cream curtains, the green tint of the outside world pouring in through the lattice of window panes, the endless oak of his desk, were indicators that the world hadn’t changed. He smiled, he looked fierce and proud, he thanked us for our courage, and stuck out his hands like he was about to grab our shoulders and kiss us, or pinched his fingers and flung them in rhythms in the air—he the conductor; we the faithful orchestra.

     We will come out of this stronger than before and we will prevail, he said lifting a small fist in victory and we roared with him.

     The President broke off his speech, paused and looked beyond the camera, as if taking directions from an aide. We talked in the lull, only going silent when the President released a loud huff of breath before slumping forward on the expanse of his desk, head bowed as if in grave respect to his viewers.

    We waited, nodding and smiling, for the president to rouse himself, to conclude this moment of silence or prayer or whatever it was, congratulating ourselves on the durability of the human race and our country’s ability to rise above this not especially alarming disaster, and we thought of a tomorrow where the sun will rise on a nation of strong people, with color come back to gardens and parks, and leaf on trees again—all of it, an insurmountable testament to life.

     And we waited. We waited. We watched the top of the president's fallen head, wispy blond hair ruffling as if from a breeze. Listened to the clamor of voices and movement off-camera. We watched as the broadcast cut out, replaced by dirty blocks of primary colors—the ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ bulletin—but not before the President disappeared, like a curtain opening, revealing the spindly spokes of the oak chair behind him.

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Jumotki
When Leaves Fall
     I watched my father’s body dissolve. He had always insisted that the virus was a hoax unleashed by the media, and that it would pass over like any other exaggerated-for-viewership story. He died peacefully, in his worn armchair, as if he had fallen asleep. His body was gone in moments. Dad’s death was just as easy and convenient as we expected, as recounted by friends, family, online videos—a death free from mess, or funeral expenses, or rounding up distant acquaintances for a memorial.
     It was a quiet death, with no remains or evidence—which is why the virus wormed undetected for so long and was so long ignored. There was no hemorrhaging or pain; it lacked the dramatic death throes that we love to watch so much in movies, with the victim's eyes rolling back in their heads and their mouths open in agony, as if their every atom was being crucified. People vanished—all flesh, hair, and bone disintegrating in a moment.
     And then it was winter in June. Leaves disappeared from trees and shrubs, and grass sucked into dirt. Tree branches stretched like desperate hands or exposed human vessels. Everywhere there was cement, industrial skylines indistinguishable from the gray sky; the stone-pallor of corpses in the streets, visible for a second before they crumbled into themselves. People lay where they sank, like toppled trees, as people walked around them in the streets, seconds later the empty space was swallowed by passerby. Entire households woke up together; their laughter turned silent by nightfall.
     During this time, the government broadcasted reassurance, promises of free healthcare assistance and medical breakthroughs. The news was filled with white-coated scientists bustling in pristine labs that looked like Apple stores. Job listings for medical volunteers went up everywhere.
     Most people did not panic. My family and friends discussed the latest disappearances, complained about the lack of fresh food, swapped new recipes involving canned foods and dried legumes. There were whispered rumors of a breakthrough in the labs; something about monkeys. Everyone talked about the virus passing over in time, how the news (“fake news,” our President called it) exaggerated the death tolls for ratings.
     Finally, the president appeared on TV, bedecked in a blue suit and red tie, a flame of color in a charcoal-drawing world. His office’s egg cream curtains, the green tint of the outside world pouring in through the lattice of window panes, the endless oak of his desk, were indicators that the world hadn’t changed. He smiled, he looked fierce and proud, he thanked us for our courage, and stuck out his hands like he was about to grab our shoulders and kiss us, or pinched his fingers and flung them in rhythms in the air—he the conductor; we the faithful orchestra.
     We will come out of this stronger than before and we will prevail, he said lifting a small fist in victory and we roared with him.
     The President broke off his speech, paused and looked beyond the camera, as if taking directions from an aide. We talked in the lull, only going silent when the President released a loud huff of breath before slumping forward on the expanse of his desk, head bowed as if in grave respect to his viewers.
    We waited, nodding and smiling, for the president to rouse himself, to conclude this moment of silence or prayer or whatever it was, congratulating ourselves on the durability of the human race and our country’s ability to rise above this not especially alarming disaster, and we thought of a tomorrow where the sun will rise on a nation of strong people, with color come back to gardens and parks, and leaf on trees again—all of it, an insurmountable testament to life.
     And we waited. We waited. We watched the top of the president's fallen head, wispy blond hair ruffling as if from a breeze. Listened to the clamor of voices and movement off-camera. We watched as the broadcast cut out, replaced by dirty blocks of primary colors—the ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ bulletin—but not before the President disappeared, like a curtain opening, revealing the spindly spokes of the oak chair behind him.


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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by fallingundone

05.13.27

It has been almost 30 years since the war ended. But our world is still vanishing, faster than it ever did in its 4.6-ish billion years of existence. Faster than during World War IV, a war which resulted in over 5 billion casualties, and over 700 trillion dollars in damage worldwide.

The government thought the peace talks, the agreements, the treaties, and the new laws would be sufficient for our world to begin anew. It was enough, for a while. Technology progressed faster than ever before. Almost everything in our lives became doable with a mere blink, from shopping to booking a visit to the Moon. Hunger and unemployment were basically nonexistent. It was a good life, in the beginning.

It started around twenty years ago. Scientists found a way to warp, or teleport, or whatever you want to call it. They used æłthœ, which is a type of synthetic metalgas, to create a portal that could bend space. The scientist who found it discovered it by accident when he sprayed some æłthœ into two ring-ish shapes, and light began to travel from one to the other. The technology quickly became a success, as it could be used for quick and safe teleportation of objects and people, making many transportation technologies obsolete, and was pretty affordable to make. There weren't many regulations, so by the time our downfall began, portals were everywhere.

About a year after the warp technology became widespread, people began noticing that random things would vanish, as if they had warped away. But law enforcement, scientists, politicians, and other people of power only took notice when crowds, entire buildings, even a city, vanished into nothingness. And unlike in a normal warp, they never reappeared. 

Within two years, yawning holes which opened up into an abyss of darkness started appearing up around the world. No one went near them, but sometimes you could hear faint screams, and the sound of rending metal. At night, you could see the lights of cities shining through. In the daytime, you could see all the things that had vanished, albeit it looked like you were seeing it through a mirage. But here's the thing: by 15 U.Y., over eighty percent of all land had vanished into the holes.

After our population was decimated in WWIV, there were approximately four billion people living on Earth. In 15 U.Y., there were half that, from all the disappearances. The same scientist who created the warp technology worked frantically with a team of brilliant scientists to figure out why this was happening, and found that because æłthœ was a metalgas, bits of it had drifted off and mixed into the atmosphere, and wherever they lined up in a ring-like shape, they created a portal. But because they had not been connected to another portal, the things that disappeared into the accidental portals got stuck somewhere between.

After "between", a sort of pocket dimension, became filled up, it began to strain at its seams and eventually, it burst, ripping a hole in space-time. Unfortunately, the scientists also found that the holes would keep increasing in size, and that there was currently no known way to stop them. They said there may be a solution, but I personally believe we're all doomed. So I might as well write this before I, too, am sucked into a

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by fallingundone
05.13.27

It has been almost 30 years since the war ended. But our world is still vanishing, faster than it ever did in its 4.6-ish billion years of existence. Faster than during World War IV, a war which resulted in over 5 billion casualties, and over 700 trillion dollars in damage worldwide.

The government thought the peace talks, the agreements, the treaties, and the new laws would be sufficient for our world to begin anew. It was enough, for a while. Technology progressed faster than ever before. Almost everything in our lives became doable with a mere blink, from shopping to booking a visit to the Moon. Hunger and unemployment were basically nonexistent. It was a good life, in the beginning.

It started around twenty years ago. Scientists found a way to warp, or teleport, or whatever you want to call it. They used æłthœ, which is a type of synthetic metalgas, to create a portal that could bend space. The scientist who found it discovered it by accident when he sprayed some æłthœ into two ring-ish shapes, and light began to travel from one to the other. The technology quickly became a success, as it could be used for quick and safe teleportation of objects and people, making many transportation technologies obsolete, and was pretty affordable to make. There weren't many regulations, so by the time our downfall began, portals were everywhere.

About a year after the warp technology became widespread, people began noticing that random things would vanish, as if they had warped away. But law enforcement, scientists, politicians, and other people of power only took notice when crowds, entire buildings, even a city, vanished into nothingness. And unlike in a normal warp, they never reappeared. 

Within two years, yawning holes which opened up into an abyss of darkness started appearing up around the world. No one went near them, but sometimes you could hear faint screams, and the sound of rending metal. At night, you could see the lights of cities shining through. In the daytime, you could see all the things that had vanished, albeit it looked like you were seeing it through a mirage. But here's the thing: by 15 U.Y., over eighty percent of all land had vanished into the holes.

After our population was decimated in WWIV, there were approximately four billion people living on Earth. In 15 U.Y., there were half that, from all the disappearances. The same scientist who created the warp technology worked frantically with a team of brilliant scientists to figure out why this was happening, and found that because æłthœ was a metalgas, bits of it had drifted off and mixed into the atmosphere, and wherever they lined up in a ring-like shape, they created a portal. But because they had not been connected to another portal, the things that disappeared into the accidental portals got stuck somewhere between.

After "between", a sort of pocket dimension, became filled up, it began to strain at its seams and eventually, it burst, ripping a hole in space-time. Unfortunately, the scientists also found that the holes would keep increasing in size, and that there was currently no known way to stop them. They said there may be a solution, but I personally believe we're all doomed. So I might as well write this before I, too, am sucked into a
#scifi  #fiction  #science  #apocalypse 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Broken_Toe

Man’s Folly

It all started with Dolly. Lost in the annals of genetic experiments and the discovered limits on cell reproduction, the barrier to eternal life — was in theory — breached to a curious scientific community. The ethical issue of cloning ruled the debates, and philosophies behind the laws and the regulator enforcements placed to hamper scientist, which worked to sooth the concerns of the general populace,— squelch all but the most extreme voices of the doom-sages;— but, in reality, these legislative endeavors did little to curb experimentation to the creative minds that thrive solely on the need to press forward: — “because to achieve,— limits must be breached.” The missing link was traced to cancer cells which continue to divide unhampered by telomeres, but as with the case in most human equations — possible consequences were unforeseen — or ignored. But life on our planet has an amazing ability to adapt to the natural world. Programmed into the very fabric of the DNA, in all living things, are the sleeper genes that fire due to changes in the environment. Normally the adaptations in organisms take place over generations as environmental charges are a gradual process. But man’s ability to mess with everything at a much faster pace drove a quicker response from our DNA sleepers.—— Who would have thought? that unlocking the key to ever-lasting-life was the very seed necessary to fire the sleepers that would end the human race. 

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Broken_Toe
Man’s Folly

It all started with Dolly. Lost in the annals of genetic experiments and the discovered limits on cell reproduction, the barrier to eternal life — was in theory — breached to a curious scientific community. The ethical issue of cloning ruled the debates, and philosophies behind the laws and the regulator enforcements placed to hamper scientist, which worked to sooth the concerns of the general populace,— squelch all but the most extreme voices of the doom-sages;— but, in reality, these legislative endeavors did little to curb experimentation to the creative minds that thrive solely on the need to press forward: — “because to achieve,— limits must be breached.” The missing link was traced to cancer cells which continue to divide unhampered by telomeres, but as with the case in most human equations — possible consequences were unforeseen — or ignored. But life on our planet has an amazing ability to adapt to the natural world. Programmed into the very fabric of the DNA, in all living things, are the sleeper genes that fire due to changes in the environment. Normally the adaptations in organisms take place over generations as environmental charges are a gradual process. But man’s ability to mess with everything at a much faster pace drove a quicker response from our DNA sleepers.—— Who would have thought? that unlocking the key to ever-lasting-life was the very seed necessary to fire the sleepers that would end the human race. 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by ruffmiriam

On the Edge

Kevin licked the remaining bits of grease from his fingers. It most definitely did not taste like chicken, whatever chicken tasted like. He couldn't remember. There hadn't been chickens around for quite some time now. There hadn't been many things around for a while, except people. Billions and billions of people, all crowding against each other on a planet shrinking every day.

As he threw the last of the bones onto the small pile at his feet, he fleetingly wondered if he should bury them - a last testament to humanity, such as it was. But that type of ritual had gone the way of - what was it called? - the dodo. Like death. Gone. Extinct. So many people now, but no one to bury; how twisted was that? And no one knew what to do. At least he wasn't hungry now, for the moment. But that would change, again, and since he had gone off the rails and become a "canni," there was no going back. At least he had plenty of people to choose from. He wondered if they all tasted different.

Kevin was a second-generation subject. His parents had lived during the boom time of science and medicine, when people were screaming for cures for diseases, environmental disasters, and - the big one - mortality. Experiments into re-lengthening telomeres were just the beginning of extending the human life span. Soon, scientists were figuring out where in the genetic code the "aging" genes were, then the "death" genes. It was complicated, to be sure, but the map was there if you knew how to follow it. It became an obsession, not just for the scientists, but also for the world at large - a way to live forever. To be a god.

Years of work led to the discovery of the proper sequence, and from that the scientists made a serum that guaranteed immortality. Of course, it was only available for those who had the billions of dollars to afford it. But then a bunch of terrorists angered at the hoarding of the magic formula stole the serum, turned it into an aerosol, and sprayed the air over every centimeter of the planet. Now everyone had all the benefits that science could offer.

It wasn't until a few years later that people discovered they had all the side effects, too. The biggest one was enhanced fertility to the point that people were breeding like rabbits. They couldn't not breed. And since nobody died, the population soared. The trouble was, the serum didn't affect either the plants or the animals, so both became precious, non-renewable commodities. The Earth became taxed for resources of all types. People became primarily nomads, searching out new sources of food, and fuel, and metals.

And they suffered. Cancer rates were on the rise, but since no one could die, the victims remained permanently in pain on their deathbeds. Immortality did not guarantee an easier life. People still got hurt in explosions and car accidents, but there was precious little medicine or medical supplies or even doctors any more. The people simply had to endure. And there, of course, were wars. Man had become the master of war, and the fight over limited resources just escalated the battles. Maimings, bullet wounds, knife cuts - they were just another part of the new era, one that, by its very nature, would never end.

Kevin, at least, was in a relatively quiet area for the moment.

"Don't get too comfortable."

He jumped at the voice and jerked around to see who had snuck up on him, maybe wanting him for a snack, but there was no one.

"Where are you?" he demanded.

"Right with you," the voice answered. "You had me for lunch."

"What? Show yourself!"

He remained low to the ground, turning around in slow circles to find the source of the voice. He was on a dusty plain, not a tree left in sight, and he was, unusually, alone.

"Didn't think you'd get rid of me that easily, canni," the voice taunted.

"How do you know ..."

"I was there while you were knawing on my leg, and my arm, and my head. We can't die, in case you'd forgotten."

"Well, get out!" Kevin's whole world seemed to spin precariously around him.

"No can do. I'm a part of you now, and I'm going to make you pay for what you've done, just like I've paid for all the bodies I scarfed. We're all here.

"Hi, Kevin, you lousy knuckle-dragger," a high, thin voice piped up.

"Don't mind if we do make this home," came another. "Thanks for the digs."

"Why can't you all just be quiet?" Kevin shouted, even though there was no one near him.

"And spoil our fun?" the original voice queried. "We're in this for the long haul, and it's going to be a very, very long haul."

Kevin thought about throwing himself off a high cliff in a desperate attempt to silence the voices, but what good would that do him? He would lie at the bottom of the mountain, all broken and unfixable, and the voices would be right there with him, screaming with their own pain.

And in that moment he knew - this was how humanity was going to end. As more and more people got desperate enough to eat each other, their heads would become more and more crowded, and they would become permanently, incurably insane. And it would last forever.

The voices in his head just chuckled.

Written in collaboration with Joseph L. Silver.

#prosechallenge #apocalypse #endofhumanity #prose #SF

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by ruffmiriam
On the Edge
Kevin licked the remaining bits of grease from his fingers. It most definitely did not taste like chicken, whatever chicken tasted like. He couldn't remember. There hadn't been chickens around for quite some time now. There hadn't been many things around for a while, except people. Billions and billions of people, all crowding against each other on a planet shrinking every day.

As he threw the last of the bones onto the small pile at his feet, he fleetingly wondered if he should bury them - a last testament to humanity, such as it was. But that type of ritual had gone the way of - what was it called? - the dodo. Like death. Gone. Extinct. So many people now, but no one to bury; how twisted was that? And no one knew what to do. At least he wasn't hungry now, for the moment. But that would change, again, and since he had gone off the rails and become a "canni," there was no going back. At least he had plenty of people to choose from. He wondered if they all tasted different.

Kevin was a second-generation subject. His parents had lived during the boom time of science and medicine, when people were screaming for cures for diseases, environmental disasters, and - the big one - mortality. Experiments into re-lengthening telomeres were just the beginning of extending the human life span. Soon, scientists were figuring out where in the genetic code the "aging" genes were, then the "death" genes. It was complicated, to be sure, but the map was there if you knew how to follow it. It became an obsession, not just for the scientists, but also for the world at large - a way to live forever. To be a god.

Years of work led to the discovery of the proper sequence, and from that the scientists made a serum that guaranteed immortality. Of course, it was only available for those who had the billions of dollars to afford it. But then a bunch of terrorists angered at the hoarding of the magic formula stole the serum, turned it into an aerosol, and sprayed the air over every centimeter of the planet. Now everyone had all the benefits that science could offer.

It wasn't until a few years later that people discovered they had all the side effects, too. The biggest one was enhanced fertility to the point that people were breeding like rabbits. They couldn't not breed. And since nobody died, the population soared. The trouble was, the serum didn't affect either the plants or the animals, so both became precious, non-renewable commodities. The Earth became taxed for resources of all types. People became primarily nomads, searching out new sources of food, and fuel, and metals.

And they suffered. Cancer rates were on the rise, but since no one could die, the victims remained permanently in pain on their deathbeds. Immortality did not guarantee an easier life. People still got hurt in explosions and car accidents, but there was precious little medicine or medical supplies or even doctors any more. The people simply had to endure. And there, of course, were wars. Man had become the master of war, and the fight over limited resources just escalated the battles. Maimings, bullet wounds, knife cuts - they were just another part of the new era, one that, by its very nature, would never end.

Kevin, at least, was in a relatively quiet area for the moment.

"Don't get too comfortable."

He jumped at the voice and jerked around to see who had snuck up on him, maybe wanting him for a snack, but there was no one.

"Where are you?" he demanded.

"Right with you," the voice answered. "You had me for lunch."

"What? Show yourself!"

He remained low to the ground, turning around in slow circles to find the source of the voice. He was on a dusty plain, not a tree left in sight, and he was, unusually, alone.

"Didn't think you'd get rid of me that easily, canni," the voice taunted.

"How do you know ..."

"I was there while you were knawing on my leg, and my arm, and my head. We can't die, in case you'd forgotten."

"Well, get out!" Kevin's whole world seemed to spin precariously around him.

"No can do. I'm a part of you now, and I'm going to make you pay for what you've done, just like I've paid for all the bodies I scarfed. We're all here.

"Hi, Kevin, you lousy knuckle-dragger," a high, thin voice piped up.

"Don't mind if we do make this home," came another. "Thanks for the digs."

"Why can't you all just be quiet?" Kevin shouted, even though there was no one near him.

"And spoil our fun?" the original voice queried. "We're in this for the long haul, and it's going to be a very, very long haul."

Kevin thought about throwing himself off a high cliff in a desperate attempt to silence the voices, but what good would that do him? He would lie at the bottom of the mountain, all broken and unfixable, and the voices would be right there with him, screaming with their own pain.

And in that moment he knew - this was how humanity was going to end. As more and more people got desperate enough to eat each other, their heads would become more and more crowded, and they would become permanently, incurably insane. And it would last forever.

The voices in his head just chuckled.

Written in collaboration with Joseph L. Silver.

#prosechallenge #apocalypse #endofhumanity #prose #SF

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by B27321

How Much

Fukushima Was the Beginning Of the End,

the Radiation Seeping Into Our Oceans;

Causing Mutations & InSanity;

From Fish to Man.

Driving Them to Feast On the UnInfected;

a World Damned.

I Still Dream Of the Food Riots,

When we Could No Longer Eat From the Sea.

the Crashing & Burning of Cities;

Parents Eating Kids.

Cops Going Door to Door

Rounding People Up For the Cattle Camps,

the Old & Sick Shot

& Cooked In the Street.

How I Survived Still Mystifies,

aLone & Not One Friend;

All Ways Running,

Running For the Hills.

So Many Things Have I Done

& the Things I Know I Will Do

Just To Survive Another Setting Sun.

How Many Lives Must I Take

to Pay For Mine.

#B27321

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by B27321
How Much
Fukushima Was the Beginning Of the End,
the Radiation Seeping Into Our Oceans;
Causing Mutations & InSanity;
From Fish to Man.
Driving Them to Feast On the UnInfected;
a World Damned.
I Still Dream Of the Food Riots,
When we Could No Longer Eat From the Sea.
the Crashing & Burning of Cities;
Parents Eating Kids.
Cops Going Door to Door
Rounding People Up For the Cattle Camps,
the Old & Sick Shot
& Cooked In the Street.
How I Survived Still Mystifies,
aLone & Not One Friend;
All Ways Running,
Running For the Hills.
So Many Things Have I Done
& the Things I Know I Will Do
Just To Survive Another Setting Sun.
How Many Lives Must I Take
to Pay For Mine.
#B27321
#fantasy  #scifi  #horror  #adventure  #poetry 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by CAJohnson

Apocalypse

The world has gone insane.

When people die they turn into animals. Literally animals. That cow you ate yesterday, may have been your neighbor, or your friend, or probably a complete stranger. Oh yeah, they can talk too. Plus, everybody who's blond died. It's all very strange. So that beef you used to make hamburgers for dinner was once a blond teenager, who was so much or a rebel he didn't die, he instead turned into a talking cow. Like I said the world is insane.

I may have forgot to mention, all the plants are poisonous, except to the man animal thingy McBobbers. They glow too. Did I mention that it's perpetually night? Well, it is. The planet is still warm though, so we must have a sun somewhere. Somewhere, but not here. 

You read all those books about the great and terrible apocalypse, but in truth, I like this new world better than the old one. I mean, how many kids want a talking dog? I have one. 

But sometimes I get this weird feeling that the world is about to die. No, not the world, the universe. It just seams like the end, ya know? But I guess it's no so bad though. I'll soon be outa this crazy world. But hey, might as well enjoy it when I can. 

You only live once, no matter the conditions.

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by CAJohnson
Apocalypse
The world has gone insane.
When people die they turn into animals. Literally animals. That cow you ate yesterday, may have been your neighbor, or your friend, or probably a complete stranger. Oh yeah, they can talk too. Plus, everybody who's blond died. It's all very strange. So that beef you used to make hamburgers for dinner was once a blond teenager, who was so much or a rebel he didn't die, he instead turned into a talking cow. Like I said the world is insane.
I may have forgot to mention, all the plants are poisonous, except to the man animal thingy McBobbers. They glow too. Did I mention that it's perpetually night? Well, it is. The planet is still warm though, so we must have a sun somewhere. Somewhere, but not here. 
You read all those books about the great and terrible apocalypse, but in truth, I like this new world better than the old one. I mean, how many kids want a talking dog? I have one. 
But sometimes I get this weird feeling that the world is about to die. No, not the world, the universe. It just seams like the end, ya know? But I guess it's no so bad though. I'll soon be outa this crazy world. But hey, might as well enjoy it when I can. 
You only live once, no matter the conditions.
#fantasy  #fiction  #apocalypse 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Syne

Crushed (Part 1)

Note: I realized this challenge was ending so I rushed to write what I could. Part 2 to come later

On the first day, I woke up not feeling quite right. For some time now, getting up each morning had been a burden, but this was different, it was a strange kind of lethargy. Every step I took required effort. I must be coming down with something, I thought.

By the time I had walked to work, I was well out of breath. But I felt somewhat better at work. I figured it was the kiddies, or the sense of purpose my job gave me. I was a swimming instructor at the local YMCA, only a few blocks away from my place. Though it would never be my friend, the water had become my therapy, ironically.

It was the birds on the second day; it's usually the birds. The streets were full of them on the way to work, common birds mostly, like pidgeons, robins, black birds, but there were a few vultures and hawks too, just standing there on the grass and pavement, refusing to fly away even as I approached them. But I was too drained to take my camera out. All I wanted to do was work and go back home, just like every other day.

On the third day, I called in sick. It took me ages just to drag myself out of bed. That day, several planes lost control and dropped out of the sky. The media attributed it to the strange weather patterns and sudden storms that were occurring in several places around the country. The worst was yet to come.

On the fourth day, I thought I had woken up with sleep paralysis. My eyes opened to the dreaded feeling of not being able to move, of sinking down into the bed. Except I was fully awake, and the feeling did not leave even as I crawled my way to the couch, using all of my strength to prop myself up and turn on the TV.

Buildings around the world has been crumbling, the tallest ones.

The Sears Tower in Chicago, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Centrepoint Tower in Sydney, they had all fallen.

Most crops had withered to the ground and died, as if they had been viciously trampled on. Cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters and major weather patterns were being reported all over the globe. No airplanes or birds were flying now.

The scientist on TV looked as if he was using every bone in his body to keep himself sitting straight. His voice was even less stable.

"The Anomaly--it was detected about a week ago. Their presence has affected space-time somehow. We don't--we don't know why, but it has afffected the relative mass of Earth. Meaning--well, you're all feeling it, the strength of gravity on our planet has increased--has been increasing since they arrived--and it continues to increase.

We urge people to stay off the streets and exert themselves as little as possible. At this point, all we can do is wait for the Anomaly to leave and hope for this phenomenon to somehow terminate. I--I'm sorry, there's really nothing--"

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by Syne
Crushed (Part 1)
Note: I realized this challenge was ending so I rushed to write what I could. Part 2 to come later

On the first day, I woke up not feeling quite right. For some time now, getting up each morning had been a burden, but this was different, it was a strange kind of lethargy. Every step I took required effort. I must be coming down with something, I thought.
By the time I had walked to work, I was well out of breath. But I felt somewhat better at work. I figured it was the kiddies, or the sense of purpose my job gave me. I was a swimming instructor at the local YMCA, only a few blocks away from my place. Though it would never be my friend, the water had become my therapy, ironically.

It was the birds on the second day; it's usually the birds. The streets were full of them on the way to work, common birds mostly, like pidgeons, robins, black birds, but there were a few vultures and hawks too, just standing there on the grass and pavement, refusing to fly away even as I approached them. But I was too drained to take my camera out. All I wanted to do was work and go back home, just like every other day.

On the third day, I called in sick. It took me ages just to drag myself out of bed. That day, several planes lost control and dropped out of the sky. The media attributed it to the strange weather patterns and sudden storms that were occurring in several places around the country. The worst was yet to come.

On the fourth day, I thought I had woken up with sleep paralysis. My eyes opened to the dreaded feeling of not being able to move, of sinking down into the bed. Except I was fully awake, and the feeling did not leave even as I crawled my way to the couch, using all of my strength to prop myself up and turn on the TV.
Buildings around the world has been crumbling, the tallest ones.
The Sears Tower in Chicago, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Centrepoint Tower in Sydney, they had all fallen.
Most crops had withered to the ground and died, as if they had been viciously trampled on. Cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters and major weather patterns were being reported all over the globe. No airplanes or birds were flying now.
The scientist on TV looked as if he was using every bone in his body to keep himself sitting straight. His voice was even less stable.
"The Anomaly--it was detected about a week ago. Their presence has affected space-time somehow. We don't--we don't know why, but it has afffected the relative mass of Earth. Meaning--well, you're all feeling it, the strength of gravity on our planet has increased--has been increasing since they arrived--and it continues to increase.
We urge people to stay off the streets and exert themselves as little as possible. At this point, all we can do is wait for the Anomaly to leave and hope for this phenomenon to somehow terminate. I--I'm sorry, there's really nothing--"
#scifi  #fiction  #science  #mystery  #apocalypse 
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by HermitThrush

Hypersensitive

It was most obvious in the cities at first. With so many people in one area, it was a matter of statistics. At first everyone thought it must be a virus or something, but no dice. The reason for people swelling up, choking, dying? Allergies. People started developing allergies en masse, and no one knew why, let alone how to stop it.

Pretty soon it was everyone. Not all the allergies were severe, thankfully, but if you had eaten something, you were now allergic to it. Pretty soon hospitals were distributing food substitutes as fast as they could but for most people it was a matter of figuring out which foods wouldn't kill you immediately. Malnutrition can be nasty, but everyone thought that they just had to wait it out until doctors could figure out what was happening.

Unfortunately, the allergies weren't static. They just got worse and worse over time. People who thought it was safe to keep eating something because it just gave them a rash would be going into anaphylactic shock by the end of the week. It was possible to rotate between a few foods to stave off the inevitable, but only a handful of people had access to that much variety by the end.

Ultimately, though, what no one could deal with was the allergies to medicine. Anyone treated for allergies became allergic to allergy medication. Anyone who had prescription medicine had to face their conditions unmitigated. Even painkillers were now potentially deadly. That's when people gave up on the hospitals.

And that's how humanity finally died out. Surrounded by all the resources they could possibly need, they starved.

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by HermitThrush
Hypersensitive
It was most obvious in the cities at first. With so many people in one area, it was a matter of statistics. At first everyone thought it must be a virus or something, but no dice. The reason for people swelling up, choking, dying? Allergies. People started developing allergies en masse, and no one knew why, let alone how to stop it.

Pretty soon it was everyone. Not all the allergies were severe, thankfully, but if you had eaten something, you were now allergic to it. Pretty soon hospitals were distributing food substitutes as fast as they could but for most people it was a matter of figuring out which foods wouldn't kill you immediately. Malnutrition can be nasty, but everyone thought that they just had to wait it out until doctors could figure out what was happening.

Unfortunately, the allergies weren't static. They just got worse and worse over time. People who thought it was safe to keep eating something because it just gave them a rash would be going into anaphylactic shock by the end of the week. It was possible to rotate between a few foods to stave off the inevitable, but only a handful of people had access to that much variety by the end.

Ultimately, though, what no one could deal with was the allergies to medicine. Anyone treated for allergies became allergic to allergy medication. Anyone who had prescription medicine had to face their conditions unmitigated. Even painkillers were now potentially deadly. That's when people gave up on the hospitals.

And that's how humanity finally died out. Surrounded by all the resources they could possibly need, they starved.
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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by TheTallOne

Facade

      The world ended when man learned not to lie. It didn’t happen gradually, if it had, we as a whole could have gotten used to it. No, the world woke up and found the truth only thing allowed to be spoken. Strange and unknown were the reasons, but the effects we devastating. World leaders were unable to work around facts, hide in their partial truth, and make false promises. Thus, diplomacy fell apart. Soldiers were mustered, tank rolled, war planes bombed, and battles ship churned the seas with the dead.

      Some buttons were pushed.

      On the smaller scale overall it seemed more catastrophic. Politicians’ true colors were flown; some were corrupt and unable to shroud their misdeeds. Others ended up being lazy, happy and fat in their milking of the public’s good will. Even the honest and good ones happened to be tainted by the stain of it all. Cops had a field day; criminals could do nothing but confess. However, cheating spouses revealed their infidelity, thieves exposed their ill-gotten means, and murders declared the blood they shed. While these things may seem worthy of praise, man tends to be worse than the beasts. In our anger and rage of hidden sins we killed and wrought pain. Mankind died in fallout of falsehood, the few that remain do so in misery.

      The world is broken, and hope is a fiction we are incapable to tell.

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In Adrian Barnes’ “Nod,” the apocalypse occurs over a month as 99% of the earth’s populace loses the ability to sleep and slowly goes insane. In Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” the world is full of children because everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies. For my challenge, invent your own strange take on the end-of-the-world story. Tell a story set in an apocalypse never or rarely seen. 200 coins to the most original work :)
Written by TheTallOne
Facade
      The world ended when man learned not to lie. It didn’t happen gradually, if it had, we as a whole could have gotten used to it. No, the world woke up and found the truth only thing allowed to be spoken. Strange and unknown were the reasons, but the effects we devastating. World leaders were unable to work around facts, hide in their partial truth, and make false promises. Thus, diplomacy fell apart. Soldiers were mustered, tank rolled, war planes bombed, and battles ship churned the seas with the dead.

      Some buttons were pushed.

      On the smaller scale overall it seemed more catastrophic. Politicians’ true colors were flown; some were corrupt and unable to shroud their misdeeds. Others ended up being lazy, happy and fat in their milking of the public’s good will. Even the honest and good ones happened to be tainted by the stain of it all. Cops had a field day; criminals could do nothing but confess. However, cheating spouses revealed their infidelity, thieves exposed their ill-gotten means, and murders declared the blood they shed. While these things may seem worthy of praise, man tends to be worse than the beasts. In our anger and rage of hidden sins we killed and wrought pain. Mankind died in fallout of falsehood, the few that remain do so in misery.

      The world is broken, and hope is a fiction we are incapable to tell.

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