First, it had just been the collapse of Mount Everest. Only about a thousand people had died as the ice melted and the rocks split, raining boulders down on the helpless mountain villages below. The Love family sat glued to their TV just like every other family in the world who had cable and watched the tallest mountain in the world crumble to pieces as tiny ant people scrambled for their lives. “A miracle,” the reporter flown into the scene was saying as boulders crashed like meteors all around him, “that most people survived this tragic event in our history.”
Next, Las Vegas was completely wiped out by a sandstorm raging from the nearby desert. Buildings were swallowed up by sand as ...view middle of the document...
“And we fear that we have now reached the mythical ‘apocalypse,’” he said, making air quotes with both hands. “Please—” he continued, but suddenly the camera flickered and quickly blacked out.
Dr. Love’s face grew worried after that, the deep lines in his forehead growing even more prominent as the days wore on. But he continued going to work every day, picking up his briefcase and lecture notes each morning before he kissed Mrs. Love on the cheek and headed out the door to the local college where he taught environmental studies. But Blanche did notice that every day when she came home from school, there were more cans stacked in the pantry and Mrs. Love had taken to filling up old milk jugs with water and storing them in the basement. “Don’t worry about it sweetheart,” Mrs. Love said, as Blanche watched with wide eyes. She touched Blanche’s cheek with her free hand and smiled reassuringly.
But Blanche did worry about it. Soon people started falling sick. It started with a few kids at Blanche’s school. They would only have to cough a few times for the teacher’s face to become pale as she hurriedly ushered the students out of the classroom. But the kids never returned to school. And soon, Dr. and Mrs. Love pulled Blanche out of school completely too. The blue sky had transformed into a stirring, cloudy black color, and clocks were the only identifiers of day or night. It became too hot even to consider stepping outside, and why would one wish to step outside anyway, when there was only darkness. The heat stood still in the air, scorching down upon the entire town where the Love family resided. They shut their doors on it and blockaded the windows. Blanche was content, as Mrs. Love allowed to her stay in the cold bathtub as long as she pleased.
Then the clocks stopped working. People were checking their cell phones anxiously for any news, but then one day their screens blacked out permanently as well. The power outage submerged the town into further darkness. The Loves attempted to compensate with the candles Dr. Love had stocked the basement with. Dr. Love attempted to count the days, penciling tick marks on to the wall of their family room. Mrs. Love read out loud to Blanche all the books they had saved for a spare moment in their busy days. Now their days had become flat lines, empty except for the occasional scratching on their doors, which they kept firmly locked. Blanche grew accustomed to eating the slimy, slightly warm fruit from the cans stocked up in the Loves’ pantry.
But then one day, Mrs. Love started coughing. And Dr. Love stopped drawing tick marks on the wall. And sometime not late after, when Blanche went to take her usual daily bath, they realized the water had stopped.
When Mrs. Love died, Dr. Love unlocked the back door for the first time in weeks. He didn’t allow Blanche to come outside with him, even when she pleaded. He locked the door behind him. He took the only key and Mrs. Love...