The Future (The End of Days)

The End of Days

The future was dark. He had seen it. It was worse than the present. Even worse than the past.

He was on the run, fleeing his destiny. The vision was always in his mind. He knew there was nothing he could do to stop it. Nothing could change it. Still, he fled. He ran from nothing and from everything, panic always breathing him in the neck.

The mass extinction of species had gotten to a breaking point hundreds of years ago. Only the strongest, most adaptable creatures were able to survive. They did well. Cockroaches. Rats. Fungus and bacteria.

Mankind had fallen, Epidemics, hunger and war became the end of all civilization. When the nuclear plants started to leak hope was already lost a long time ago. Mutations. The cockroaches got bigger, the rats smarter. Humans were no longer on top of the food chain. They were outnumbered. Out sized. Outsmarted.

He remembered the night of the fever as if it was yesterday. The night his little family had died. His beautiful wife. She looked like she was from the early years, the time before the destruction. Almost, at least. And their child, such a lovely little boy. He was born with seven fingers, but better off than most children born these days. He had two arms, two legs. The fever didn’t care.

There, in his hallucinations, time had played a trick on him. Beside his wife’s dead body, to the sound of his son’s last moans, he had seen it. The future. The night of his death. He suddenly knew the fever wouldn’t kill him. He wished it had.

He stops. He knows this place. He turns around, but it’s too late. It always has been.

Something approached. It was no cockroach. No rat. Not even animal. A giant killing machine, created to destroy. Humanoid. Intelligent. Immortal. Destroying anything living in it’s way. Big as a mountain, hard as a tank.

He stood between the lake and the machine. He wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go. He could see tentacles searching for anything edible in the toxic shore. Cockroaches came out from holes in the ground. They’d smelled him. Driven by hunger they came charging at him. They held him down with their creepy legs. Nibbing on his skin and flesh, flawing him alive.

The giants comes closer. One stops, looks down at the scene for a moment. Amused. It lifts its foot slowly. Crushes them all, cockroaches and man, under its heel.

The giants moved on. The end of days had arrived.

This is another version of one of my older stories, The End of Days. I had some doubts when I wrote it, and later I regretted some choices. The ideas that are different in this one was already there when the first one was published. Which one do you think is better or worse?

Some background information can be found here: The Future.

And here are some links to support the message:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/robots-in-war-the-next-weapons-of-mass-destruction/

https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/robotics/risks-of-robotic-warfare

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/mass-extinction-global-planet-start-year-2100-a7957886.html

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150623-sixth-extinction-kolbert-animals-conservation-science-world/

http://www.thefuturewatch.com/Dystopias.html

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37 Comments

  1. It’s an interesting story with a frenetic pace and a lot of dark happenings. One thing I would like to have seen was an explanation of the giants. They seemed to come out of left field with any real idea why they are there. I had expected the rats or cockroaches would corner him or something like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In this version they are war machines, left over from past wars, killing on will. I might go back and edit a bit to make it clearer, it’s an important change from the original publication. It’s thought as a warning against the automatization of war. In the older version the giants are some kind of demons or mosters come out of an cracked reality, a more mystical thing beyond understanding. Cosmic terror kind if thing, fear of the unknown. Thanks a lot, it’s very interesting to read your point of view.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You could probably accomplish letting people know something worse is happening with a foreshadowing line like “and there are even worse things than the bugs.” Something about the creature being man made would show what you are trying to say. You really need maybe two sentences and everyone will understand what is up.

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        1. I did take out some sentences in the second version, so I am aware of it. I’m kind of searching for the right balance. When this was written I was combining my essay- and story-writing, so they landed somewhere in between.

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  2. I agree with Robert. Good piece. A bit more on the giants would make it better 🙂 I liked the ending imagery of the human being stomped on with the cockroaches. There’s, heh, a sentence I didn’t expect to be typing today…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting… What I would like to have seen was environmental descriptions instead of telling what has happened. The only thing we should care about is the characters. Show how the world looks, we can assume the world has ended from the context; everything else is just meaningless details.

    But maybe that’s just me, I prefer the mystery, to keep me guessing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a bad thought at all. Would have been interesting. I guess it came out this way because of a strong desire to get the message through. In the beginning of my blogging days I made that more obvious than I do today. If you have time and interest, I’d love to hear what you think of my flash fiction trilogy Dystopia here on this blog, I think it’s closer to what you say here. Thanks for the feedback, I like the tip. Maybe a third version of the story will come some day 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! As I told Stamphers, it could be cool to make a bigger thing from the same synopsis some day in The Future (haha..). I have Dystopian flash fic trilogy calle Dystopia, if you’re interested. Thanks!

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  4. I like that there are more machines in the original, but this ending is tighter. Man, you really like to creep us out with cockroaches. Reminds me my 3 months are up, time to get more traps or I’ll end up like one of your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool, just my kind of thing! I preferred this one, it felt more polished. And I’ve spent over 120 hours (so far) playing Horizon Zero Dawn on the PS4 which involves a world of killing machines, so I’m into that right now!
    Good stuff indeed. And awesome picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was fairly nihilistic and fatalistic. It’s hard for me to write stories where there is absolutely no hope and it doesn’t matter what you do. You might as well just stand there and take it because you’re going to die any way.

    I was still hoping he’d find a way out.

    Liked by 1 person

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