I know, I’m a little bit early, but I doubt I’ll be awake at midnight tonight, as I’m really not feeling well. After all the excitement of the holidays, I’ve been hit with a cold that’s knocked me for six.

But I digress; I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I was working for most of it, but I did spend the day with my family, which was lovely. Between working, the holidays, and being ill, I’ve not had a great deal of time or motivation for writing, but I was looking for a ‘new year’s day’ writing prompt, because my mind was blank, and I noticed this one:

Write a story where the world will end in an exactly a year from this point. The beginning of the book starts with it being New Year’s Eve. What happens at this point? How are people preparing for the end?

It stuck out to me, and demanded to be written. I feel like an entire novel could be written around it, and 500 words was difficult – I kept having to cut things out because I was going over, but that’s all part of the challenge, I suppose!

Nevertheless, here’s my short fill for this prompt.

 

Ten!

Nine!

Eight!

Seven!

Six!

Five!

Four!

Three!

Two!

One!

Happy new year!

 

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? A jolly count down and a great old exclamation? Plenty of drinks, fireworks and music to see the new year in? Well not this year, and not for the past four.

Four years ago, a message was broadcast worldwide. It was sent in writing, broadcast over the radio and television, pinned up on billboards; everyone, everywhere, received the message somehow, no matter where they were or what they were doing; it read as such:

On this day in 2018, five years hence, the world will end.

There was no explanation, no postscripts or signatures. In the beginning, everyone, except the fanatics, ignored it. It must have been a joke; every other time it had been. Columbus said the world would end in 1656, many thought a computer virus would somehow wipe out society in 2000, the Mayan calendar supposedly ended in 2012, meaning the end of the world; they were all wild speculation and, more importantly, never happened. What was so special about 2018? Nothing had been said about it before New Year’s Eve of 2013. So, many disregarded it, thinking it another hoax.

But as time wore on, the message was repeated daily and there was a counter on every television programme, a new letter sent with days dwindling from 1825.  

“You have so many days to prepare,” we were told, “there is no avoiding this.”

Eventually, people started listening; slowly at first, and many people wrote them off as crazy still, but as months passed, more people started panicking. There are still those who don’t believe in it today, who refuse to prepare, and those people are going to regret it.

Presidents and Prime Ministers and government officials had talked about it relentlessly, police and paramedics had tried running safety campaigns but what would they matter, if the world really was going to end?

There was a surge of suicides at one point, when true realisation first started setting in. The world became a dark place, homicides and murders and all manner of unspeakable acts were committed because they thought they could get away with it; the world was going to end, they’d say, no one can stop us for long.

And they were right, in one way, but families were torn apart from the news as it was, and there were people making it worse, killing and raping and stealing away the short lives people had left.

Now, the world is a silent, bleak place. It’s as though it had ended with that initial message; people panic-buy supplies, lock the doors and sleep under doorframes and tables. To this day, no one knows how it will happen, but we have one year left to figure it out, or die trying.

What would you do with your final year? Would you cherish it, or waste it away? In the end, it doesn’t matter, does it?

Or does it?

I hope you have a wonderful new year! Be safe and have a drink for me. See you next year!

(Prompt was found here)

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