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The International Writers Magazine: The End

Catalogue numbers 53-59.
Diary entries extracted from rudimentary computer storage device prior to predicted extinction level event - circa 2008. - April 20th

sunami, it’s such a beautiful word – almost inviting. When you say it, it flows around your mouth like a really good wine. It sounds calm, peaceful, even harmonious. Unless of course it forms a small part of the end of the world - then it becomes rather more alarming. I say small part because apparently we’re also looking at the equivalent of a nuclear winter. So even if you’re lucky enough not to drown you will still be frozen solid.

I was in the precinct the other day and a man started to rave about impending doom and so on. Everyone just ignored him. Does that make him mad or us, I wonder? I was there, I heard him, but like everyone else, I didn't listen. Perhaps we should have, but how do you prepare for the end of the world? Repent? Will God swat a comet out of the sky? I don't think so. If only I had become a Jehovah’s Witness. They've closed their doors now. I could have ridden it to hell with the rest of them...

Perhaps I should explain. There is a large comet heading right for us. They’ve been calling it an NEO – near earth object – except that now it’s going to be rather nearer than was, at first, anticipated. You couldn’t even say that we didn’t see it coming. You can’t miss the bloody thing – it’s huge and it’s been up there for months. Actually, you can’t help but admire it in a twisted kind of way. It’s beautiful though it doesn’t look real – as if it’s been stuck onto the sky with glue. There it hangs like a malevolent jewel, almost as if it’s laughing at us. Maybe it is.

This then, is my end of the world blog. I’m not sure who’s going to be left to read it - intelligent cockroaches maybe, who knows? But someone might and that’s good enough for me.

May 15th
Once we had a huge comet heading right for our planet – and now we have two. The governments of the world, in their wisdom, got together and sent a missile up in order to destroy it, Bruce Willis style. Unfortunately due to …well let’s just say a certain level of incompetence – rather than bombing it into bite size chunks which would burn up on contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, they merely managed to divide it into two lethal fragments. It was bad before – but now it’s worse. Bruce Willis must be laughing himself silly.
Ironically the predicted date of impact is Friday 13th June. Unlucky for some.
May 17th
Nobody seems to know how to act. Should we still go to work? Should we abandon ourselves to an orgy of unbridled hedonism? Everyone seems to be carrying on as normal, except of course it’s a different kind of normal. We look at each other in a new way, as if we’re trying to find some kind of an answer. We’re denying our fate. Can you blame us? May 26th
Apparently there’s been some looting in Waitrose – in Waitrose! Nothing signifies the break down of law and order more than members of the middle classes helping themselves to extra virgin olive oil and sun dried tomatoes. Elsewhere they’re rioting in the streets but here the anarchy, though present, is quieter. People have stopped going to work and I’ve noticed next door are having more sex than usual but other than that, life is, on the surface anyway, much the same.
May 31st
There’s no water and no electricity now and if you haven’t got food already you’re going to go hungry. It’s getting increasingly grim out there. Some people are wandering the streets as if in a daze. Others are begging for food. Everything just disintegrated …almost overnight.
No-one seems to know exactly what’s going to happen or whether or not there are any measures we can take to protect ourselves. For a government who used to be so fond of issuing edicts about how we shouldn’t do this or that in case we harmed ourselves, they have become alarmingly silent. Before the TV went off for the last time there was an interview on the news with a minister. He was being asked about where it would hit and what would happen. He just kept saying he didn’t know. The interviewer wouldn’t leave it there.
"Is there anything you do know minister?" he was asked.
There was an agonising close up of his fat sweaty face, wide eyed and terrified. He just shook his head. When politicians stop lying you know that the game is up. I think it was around then that it really started to hit home. In less than a month I’m going to die.
Fuck. I don’t normally swear but…. Fuck!
June 5th
Less than a week left. For a while regret almost overwhelmed me – all the things I haven’t done or said – but now I’ve accepted it and its come as a relief.
A lot of people have gone now. I’m not sure where. I’ve started to think about that myself. But the question is – where should I go – high ground, low ground, underground? Which is best? There’s been very little guidance. Once it became clear that both fragments were going to hit, everything started to shut down. We’ve given up. There’s no chance of a Hollywood ending. The certainty of our end is terrifying.
June 12th
Hours to go now and I’ve made a decision. There’s a hill outside the city. That’s where I’m heading. I’ve no idea if it will offer any protection but if I’m going to witness the end of the world then I might as well have a good view. The worst thing was leaving my cat. I’ve had her since she was a kitten. Saying goodbye was hard. I gave her some of her favourite food. And then I picked up her up to cuddle her….but she wriggled free and went off through the cat flap. And I realised I’d never see her again.
It’s time to go. Nothing left to stay for. As I look around my little flat it doesn’t seem like home anymore. I feel somehow rootless, abandoned. I’m used to a solitary life. I’m self contained, always have been. But in the last few weeks I’ve felt more alone than I’ve ever done.
I don’t know who will read this, if anyone. I suppose I should say something momentous about looking after the planet but I don’t really have the heart. You can’t possibly be worse than us, whoever you are. All I hope is that this disaster will bring a fresh start and maybe we, or you, will do better this time. I suspect however, that you’ll make as big a mess of it as before. But then I’m a born pessimist and with what I’ve got to look forward to – maybe it’s just as well.

© Diana Bretherick November 2007

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