The Apocalypse happens every Friday afternoon. I sit in my office and watch the dirty grey sky flicker with orange reflections out the window.
They go in cycles. Last Friday was floods, today it looks like it’ll be something to do with fire. Volcanic eruption? Bombs? I don’t know. I’ve stopped caring. I’m sure each Apocalypse is still catalogued, monitored and analysed by some fanatical scientists out there. Doesn’t interest me.
“Do you want a ride home Frank?” Bob from IT asks as he grabs his umbrella from the stand.
“No thanks, Bob. I brought my bike today. Don’t want to leave it here. Appreciate the offer though.”
“No worries, mate. You have a good ride home then.”
He salutes with the umbrella and heads out the door.
“Have a good Apocalypse,” he calls as the door closes behind him. I watch him through the glass as he puts up his umbrella and walks to the carpark. Debris is starting to fall now and bounces off the toughened umbrella skin.
Damn. Last to leave again. Packing up is so much effort. And then there will be the Friday traffic. I groan. This is why I bring my bike. I’ll zip through lickety-split and be home before any of the acid rain starts. Continue Reading
The Four wait on the banks of the Euphrates, watching the Clock of Heaven count down. Their sweating horses nicker and fidget, as always. The immense machine is suspended over the waters in front of the horrific quartet, gleaming in the high, hot sun.
Its great brass gears rotate slowly, regulated by a huge escapement that rocks back and forth, back and forth as it has done for millennia. When the gears mark their ultimate progress–very soon, now, very soon–the Riders will be sent forth, and one-third of humanity will die.
All of which is patently specious, as any thinking person can recognize.
Realistically, those brass gear teeth would have worn away to nothing over centuries of continual churning. Yet it isn’t simply a question of the gears themselves, but more so of their axle bearings. Did someone provide grease to keep them from seizing and binding? No. Axle bearings need frequent lubrication, and even with that they don’t last forever. That’s a simple fact. And what of the pendulum and its counterweights that supply power to the Clock? No one reactivated those. Heck, the writer hadn’t even mentioned them up to this point. Continue Reading
It didn’t matter who lobbed the nukes first or where or how. All Lonnie knew was that he lived just downwind of downtown Los Angeles and a missile would zoom his way soon enough, and he’d be damned if he died in his trailer that still stank from last night’s salmon patty dinner. And he preferred not to die at all.
His wheelchair rumbled along the gravel of the trailer lot. He made it to the pavement and paused a moment to let his arms rest even as his mind raced in crazed circles. He had lived there for twenty years and had never given thought to basements or bomb shelters or nonsense like that. Hell, this was Los Angeles.
Cars raced along the side street ahead. Lonnie could well imagine the traffic jam on the freeway. Just as well he couldn’t drive. Old brick businesses lined the street. He doubted they had basements. Still, he rolled that way, looking for little windows or grates at sidewalk level, anything to indicate a shelter. Against the back of his seat, his backpack rattled and clinked. He had filled it with all the food cans and medications he could squeeze inside.