I thought I would start with a story about the end. Apocalyptic stories seem to be spreading like crazy on Ficlets for some reason, and so I’ve added to a few story arcs on the subject. Fun times!
This particular story includes contributions by:
The end of the world was nigh and we all knew it. It wasn’t something we didn’t see coming. They foretold it for years – we’d lived too hard, pushed too far, caught on too late. Those who could leave had already gone, and the rest of us were left to record earth’s last gasps, which no one would ever read.
It was surprising to me, at least, how civil we remained right up until the end. The sky was as red as an apple, even at noon. The clouds were a deep purple. It was pretty if you could forget that this was the end of it all and may be the last thing we’d ever see.
The oceans boiled. A thick greasy steam lifted ominously to the hurricane winds. Demon winds that ripped trees up by their roots and tossed them like straw against the strongholds of man.
Cities, mountains, all fell before the onslaught of the end of the world.
The Earth, a million years in creation, disintegrated to a ball of flaming, molten rock within a matter of hours. Then even those flames died, the life sucked out of them by the frozen vacuum of space.
Then everything was dark—except for the flicker of distant lights and faraway stars.
“And that folks,” I announced, while signaling the waiters to deliver the champagne and nibbles. “Was the end of the world. We hope you enjoyed your time with Kiki’s Time Travel and Emporium. Please remain seated while we return to our own time.”
I clocked the time device back to our original time and keyed the switch for the temporal engine.
A feral panic hit me when the engine failed to engage.
The capsule was a safe enough distance away that the gamma ray burst we just watched tear through the remains of the solar system would take another two years to reach us, but still.
We were stuck.
I adjusted my collar and wiped a bead of sweat from my brow, looking around hesitantly to see if anyone noticed my little outburst. No? Good. They were all too busy sipping champagne and nibbling on rare and expensive treats to take notice of the lowly tour guide. I’m sure for the last ten minutes I had been talking to myself; these people didn’t care about history, they had just come to see the largest explosion known in the history of the galaxy.
Damn it man, think! The capsule’s life support would give us three weeks to figure something out, and was quite comfortable being a luxury cruiser and all, but these people were expecting to be back in their manse-bubbles in three days.
And then a hand came up in back. “Sir, how long is this going to take?”
I was going to have to tell them wasn’t I? Oh, dear.