The Last Day

The thing that everyone would have said about the day, if anyone had survived to talk about it, was that it seemed like as perfect a day as one could ask for.

It was an unusually warm day for fall, at least in most places in America. The air was crisp but refreshing, like a cool splash of water in the face. The sun was high, and people were out and about, running errands, walking the dog, helping their kids fly a kite. It was almost absurd in its Norman Rockwell-like perfection. Temperatures were consistent throughout the country. Around the rest of the world, there were no major storms or earthquakes or blizzards or anything else that might ordinarily bring cause for concern.

Indeed, it was this very clarity that made it a prime day for an attack. A cloudier, less temperate day might have been less than ideal for the people of Earth to see the giant ship that was descending upon them.

“Ship” is the best term that one can use to describe what was coming towards them. It was something that could move, and indeed was moving towards the Earth in a rather rapid fashion. But it had no wings or other clearly aerodynamic capabilities. It looked, more or less, like a planet that had gotten out of alignment. But it moved without clumsiness; its movements were precise and intentional.

It hovered above America because that happened to be the most convenient place for it to stop. It didn’t matter. Thanks to 24-hour news stations, soon everybody on every part of the globe could see the massive sphere that had stopped to hover.

Suddenly, in government facilities all over the world, phones started ringing. The voice on the other end was cool, calm, and almost clinical in the lack of passion in its voice. Each message came through in the language of its nation. The message (allowing, of course, for some differentiation in various translations) was as follows:

“Hello. This is the last day for your planet. You can try to resist if you wish, but ultimately any such efforts are useless. There will be no debating or arguing or willingness to change on this end. Our minds have been made up. Make your peace with your families and your gods, if you have any. Tell your citizens to do likewise. This ends our communication.”

Of course, communication was attempted anyway. But the number from which the message came was blocked. He, or she, or it, or they, were not intending to negotiate.

An emergency session of Congress was called. A unanimous vote was given to take whatever means necessary to stop this threat. Missiles were launched. They had no effect. That is to say, they might have had a small effect. But who can tell when you’re trying to stop a planet?

Similar efforts were launched in other countries, to no avail. Leaders of each country got on TV and told their citizens not to worry, that the situation was under control and would be dealt with shortly.

Some actually believed. Some ran and panicked and looted and rioted. Some prayed and held their families close. Some shook their fists and yelled at the heavens.

What happened next was perhaps the oddest part. There was no big laser beam that shot out of the planet and destroyed everything. Instead of obliteration by explosion, the planet (if it could be called that) began sucking in, like a vacuum. Trees, houses, skyscrapers, everything just began falling up into the massive void. People screamed as they felt gravity leaving them. The screams didn’t last long. The wind acceleration killed the people long before they were sucked into the gaping maw of the Earth-killing planet.

Some people, before they were taken, had the presence of mind to shout upwards, “Who are you?” It’s unlikely that their shouts could be heard, but a booming voice did come from somewhere on the planet’s surface, in a sound so loud it shook what remained of the earth. The voice simply said:

“I am Shiva, destroyer of worlds.”

Next > : The Boarding House