I remember the day when planes fell from the sky.
A decade into the pandemic, we’d already thought that the worst had happened, that these mutated strains of deadly viruses that were killing us were as bad as it could get. The government was run by the military, the economy had gone to shit, and we’d long since left the era of Amazon packages and grocery deliveries. Social distancing, which some had protested in the beginning, was now practiced religiously. Scientists were working around the clock to keep up with the new strains to develop a vaccine, which they promised they would one day be able to create faster than the seemingly inevitable mutations. We were combatting this pandemic in every way we could: wearing masks, using disinfectants and sanitizers, staying six feet apart, refraining from touching our faces, limiting our trips to the stores, utilizing prayer, trying alternative therapies—so you see, we truly did everything we could.
Except, the thing is, we missed the point. We were just as destructive as before, just as selfish, just as disrespectful to the world around us as we always had been. We made more trash, selfishly hoarded what we valued, ignored the pain and suffering of those less fortunate than ourselves and we did it all without remorse. It wasn’t that we were actively trying to be evil—it’s that we just didn’t care and that was worse.
So when the planes fell from the sky, when electricity sizzled out for the last time, when cars stopped starting and electronics all died and telecommunications crashed, we adjusted our perception of what was the “worst”. There were chaos, fires, riots, death—and it seemed that the world was finally ending, that yes, this was the worst.
But it wasn’t.
Not even close.
Then came the wars, the famine, and the death—so much death; the world’s population plummeting from nearly eight billion to less than five. And through all of it, the fanatics would cry that the end of the world was upon us, that this was itself Armageddon. The rest of us covered our ears with our bony and starved hands, but deep down, we wondered if their words held some truth.
Until one day, six months after the world had ended, they were proven right. A great fire broke out in the East, right in the middle of a desert, the fire spreading not from the ground but the air. The fire grew, covering the entire earth with all the heat of a thousand suns, burning us until our faces were all blackened and bleeding. And then They appeared. From the ashes rose the unholy beasts—the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They rode upon their immortal steeds, separating and heading to the four corners of the earth; Pestilence to the West, War deeper into the East, Famine into the South, and finally, Death, who traveled North.
And so began the slaughter of mankind.
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