Day One: Happy Birthday
The day after the Rapture was my birthday. I had hoped for trumpets and celebrations, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.
The Rapture itself was a let down, if anything. After all the hype that had been put out around it – all the references to angels coming down from Heaven, the return of Christ and the torments that would be visited upon the Unsaved, well… I expected more, let’s just say that. I expected angels with swords aflame to come flying from the clouds to carry off the elect. I expected music to rain down from heaven. It would have sounded like the kind of music Bach heard in his head but could never quite get down on paper. I expected the earth to shake and crack and rend itself asunder as great gouts of sulfurous steam jet forth, blasting the flesh from the bones of anyone unlucky enough to be in its way.
I expected more.
What I saw was this: On the train, a young woman – probably about thirty or so – looked up from her book, said, “Oh.”
Then she vanished. And that was it.
Maybe I was the only one who noticed, maybe no one wanted to make a fuss about a young woman who disappeared like a soap bubble, but there it was. “Oh.” Gone.
It happened again a few more times during the day. An elderly man who just started laughing before he went; a small girl who was singing and vanished mid-skip; a Starbucks barista who somehow managed to hold on through making a double latte without being called away. She put the cup on the counter, called the customer’s name, let out a deep breath and then just… wasn’t there anymore.
And it seemed like nobody noticed but me. Everyone went about their business, doing whatever it was they did on a Saturday afternoon. Twitter was humming along as it always does, but the only mention of the #Rapture was to make jokes about it. Not once was there a, “Hey, did anyone see people disappearing? That’s kinda #weird.”
The next morning, the morning of my birthday – and allegedly the first day of the Tribulations or whatever they were called – the sky was grey. The air was heavy and muggy and sluggish, barely moving through the world. My coffee was weak and bitter, my toast crumbled as I bit into it. My shower was lukewarm. I could have gone out, but… why bother?
The Boyfriend stumbled out of bed and grunted something that was probably “Good morning,” but really could have been anything. He dropped a magazine on my desk and said, “Huppuhbufduh,” before crawling back into bed. It was a fashion magazine that was sold in any convenience store in the country. I couldn’t care less about fashion.
The dog didn’t eat. The cat just slept.
That, at least, was normal.
So I’ve been sitting here. Because I can’t think of anything else to do in this grey and heavy post-Rapture world.
Demons, volcanoes, the collapse of causality. Any of those would be better apocalypses than this. At least they’d be exciting. Interesting. Something worth writing about.
This just… is.