The Transformation Story Archive Strange Things and other Changes

At the End of Time

by Brian Eirik Coe

I know how the world is coming to an end, but I won't be there to see it.

I write this, not knowing how much time I have left, not knowing even if anyone will miss me. Not knowing if anyone who reads this, who believes this, will share my fate. So many have vanished so far that one more won't be noticed. By the time the police look into it, they'll be gone too.

I saw a bird today. I recognized it. My time is short.

No one really knows when it started. I suspect now it's been going on for years. We've all heard stories of people that seem to vanish without a trace. A teenage runaway, a businessman, a mother, a loner. People who were there one minute and gone the next, never to be heard from again. We usually just assumed that the body was rotting in a shallow grave somewhere, the victim of foul play, or they were living life in some new town with a new identify, escaping what they left behind.

That's not happening now, for the forest would be full of bodies stacked like firewood and the cities full of people with new identities.

But the forest is full of animals, and the cities are far from full.

The press didn't catch on until three notables vanished in a single day. A prominent television star in Los Angeles, a high ranking Canadian official in Vancouver and a Belgian scientist who had just won the Nobel Prize. It was only then that a European paper noticed the spike in missing persons reports in Belgium. Then Canada. Then the States.

It was only days before there was a collective realization: Hundreds of people were vanishing without a trace every day. Soon it was thousands.

Yesterday, it was over ten thousand.

Some called it the beginning of the Rapture. Some people thought that it was an evil plot, either by the government or the UN or aliens. One serious fellow even thought that these people are living the high life in a bubble city on Mars. He claimed to have proof.

He used to be on the radio all the time, but no one has seen or heard from him in two weeks.

I think that its God, or maybe Earth herself.

I know the real truth, because I've seen.

I noticed the reports in the paper first, but didn't realize their importance. Tiny stories buried in the middle, given all of an inch of print, if that. Five wild California condors sited near Atascadaro, California. A sudden surge of black footed ferrets, for reasons unknown. The blue whale population was the highest it had been since the turn of the century. Key deer were being sighted in the swamps around Orlando in unusually high numbers.

The reports came is separated by weeks or months, so they never came together in my head. Until this morning, when I saw the bird sitting on my back fence.

I knew it from my old books, from old drawings and descriptions. Man had been its demise. The pinkish gray feathers were a tip off. Then the other reports came together. The other animals surging from near extinction, people vanishing.

Now the passenger pigeon is back.

I've been going through the lists since I made the connection. People disappearing lately aren't totally random. Scientists and journalists are vanishing faster than the rest, the very people that you would expect to make connections like this.

And now I have.

At the End of Time copyright 2001 by Brian Eirik Coe.

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