Author note: I wrote this after the news of the astroid that came close to Earth and the meteorite that hit in Russia (Feb 15, 2013).
"It's the end..."
February 15th, Friday 3:45 p.m.
I drove as fast as I could to get here.
"I sit here, in the mountains of the Buttes, and wait for the world to end".
All I brought with me was water, a sleeping bag to rest on and the items in my purse, including this writing pad.
Only a few others are here, having hiked in the morning, before the news came. The news on the radio, which is where I heard it, and at first I didn't believe it. The horrible screeching sound at the beginning of each emergency broadcast signal, before a strange pre-recorded voice said, "This is an emergency broadcast...for the United States of America..." and then an announcer came on the air, based out of town. I knew this because they said it was evening and I was driving my car in the afternoon.
"Attention all civilians, head for the nearest shelter...
This is not a drill, you are to proceed to the nearest emergency shelter immediately...
An eminent threat has been detected. All airports and major transportation areas are closed. Proceed to the nearest emergency shelter immediately...
I was on the road, driving back from the Bay Area, after visiting my family. Even though I was driving I got out my cell phone and called them. I saw a few other people were doing the same thing while we were stopped at a red light. I also saw a few cars turning directions and heading the other way, I assume to the nearest shelter, which in this case would be the National Guard station in Yuba City.
Luckily my phone service was still working and I got through. I told my family what I had heard on the radio station and to my surprise, they had also heard the same warning on T.V., telling people to seek shelter.
The National news said an astroid was coming and although the media was telling the public that the military was doing everything it could to re-direct its path, they were telling people to seek shelter as a precaution.
I knew this was a lie, if they were warning people about shelter now then it was already too late. NASA had sent news of the coming astroid an hour ago but the National news hadn't notified anyone until now. So much for relying on the news...
It was already too late for me to drive back now. It would take three-and-a-half hours to get back to my family. There was really nothing else to do. I told my family I loved them. They asked what I was going to do.
"I'm going to drive to the Buttes," I said, "and wait for the end of the world to come." I wanted to say more but the cell-phone service cut out and I couldn't call back. Well, at least they would know where I was headed. I tried to call the rest of my family, to tell them I loved them, but I couldn't get through. I was alone.
I wondered at the whole situation. What were people going to do now? Their whole lives interrupted by this strange phenomenon. An astroid was coming and there was nothing we could do to stop it. As humans, we were truly helpless in the face of this great catastrophe. Even with our dangerous military weapons, we could not stop or re-direct this huge astroid. If the news was to be believed, it was the size of North America and South America combined. Since I didn't believe the news, I assumed it was much larger. Earth would be no more when it came.
The sky is getting darker now. There's a shadow across the sky, as if there were a coming eclipse.
The only eclipse I got to see was last year and it was only a partial one. I saw the shadows from the tree form half-circles, like partial moons, on my house while I was watching in my backyard.
I wonder about my life now. How meaningless it all was, or was it? I did help my family as much as I could, taking them to the emergency room whenever they had to go. Managing things at home the best I could. After collage, even when I couldn't get a job, I did volunteer at places and tried to stay in touch with friends. How else could I have lived? These questions were too late for me now. Now the end of the world was coming.
Would it be fast or come slowly, in slow-motion as I watched the horror unfold before my eyes? Did I really want to witness the end of the world?
It took a while to hike up the mountains, one of the smallest mountain ranges in the world, to a nice little spot up top. I had parked my car down below and carried my things with me. Why did I bother? Habit, I guess. I had to feel prepared for anything, even if it was the end.
I saw the blinking radio towers perched on the mountain-top, ruining a perfect view. Humans always had to ruin things, I thought.
Before technology came, the Natives would come up here when the valley flooded. I wonder if they had thought about the end of the world too? Surely, they knew it would come someday. How did they prepare for it?
All of this technology for nothing. All the phones, the Wi-Fi, microwaves, pointless inventions and science. What good was it now? We are only human after all, walking monkeys in clothes-that's all. I couldn't help but feel bitter at all the waste. And I was a part of that waste.
No, wait. Don't think that way, I thought. Not when the end of the world is coming. I didn't want to go with those thoughts. I tried to think of something better. Of all the good things I had done and was able to do (in my brief time on earth).
I had been to Hawaii, my childhood dream, and went swimming in the pristine blue waters where sea turtles and tropical fish lived. I watched the perfect sunsets and witnessed my dream come true. I had been to the seven heavenly pools of Hana and had gone swimming in the beautiful waterfalls where it was like another world.
I had also been to Japan, twice now. Once to the hot springs, the Onsen, up in the mountains in the Tohoku region. Then after the terrible tsunami and the nuclear disaster, I went again to Kyoto, the place of my childhood imaginings. After watching "Big Bird In Japan" as a child, I had always wanted to visit the Hein Temple there with the pagoda bridge over the water. On my second trip I went to the Hein Temple gardens, stepping on the same pond stones Big Bird did and going to the bridge where the fish came to feed. I visited the Kiyomizu Temple, overlooking the waterfall and witnessed the beautiful calm above the millions living in that city.
And on the plane ride back, I realized I had lived out my dream as a child-to find out what lay on the other side of the Pacific ocean I had seen through my window at night in San Francisco. I guess I had lived out my dreams, after all.
A strange light is coming on the horizon. It could be the setting sun but it's still too early for it to set. Is it coming from the astroid? I thought of the dinosaurs in the, Triassic period? They all died, but then new life came. Will something survive us after this? Or will everything be destroyed?
It's getting darker and colder. I want to keep writing. Even though none of it will exist soon after, I just want to be doing something. I am afraid of the end and of what I will see. Will I feel pain? I can't comprehend the end of the world. If I see it, I still won't believe it.
I hear voices. A few people are hiking up here. I feel a bit intruded upon. I wanted to be the only one up here. But that's a selfish thought and I should be glad of the company. A man, two women and their children. They got the news from their phone just before it went out.
The man walked by me briefly, "God Bless you", he said, "Well, I guess this is it". I nodded. I didn't know what else to say. His young daughter asked him, "Is it really the end of the world?" He broke out in tears while the girl's mom hugged her. "Yes, Honey, it is," he gasped, "But it's going to be all right." They walked on.
Now I really feel alone. I tried my phone again but no reception. I didn't want to intrude upon the family that walked by. They didn't ask me to join them and I didn't ask to join. I guess it doesn't matter now.
The sky is getting darker now. I hope I can see later to write.
I pulled the sleeping bag over me. There's a strange shadow over the horizon and the sky is prematurely dark. I haven't heard anymore voices. I wonder how many people would come up here instead of going to the military shelter? Oddly enough, I'd rather be up here than down there with all the people huddling in fear.
I wonder what my family is doing. Are they watching the news now? I see the lights are on in the valley. Cars are still moving on the freeway. It doesn't seem like the end of the world.
I wish I had brought some food, something for my last meal. I was in such a hurry to get here, I didn't think to stop anywhere else. Will people break into the stores for food? Will panic break out? I don't think there's enough time... What would be the point?
It's only 4:30 p.m. now but it's like dusk. The birds are still chirping here and there, but more cautiously, like they're not sure they're supposed to. I wonder what the animals think about this premature dark?
"Hey! There's a raccoon!" I say out loud to myself. It briefly looked at me before going back into the bushes. The raccoon seemed unsure of what to do at this unexpected darkness. The birds were quieting down now, as if waiting.
Suddenly, I heard a jet fly by. But that didn't make sense, if all the airports were closed. What was it doing up in the air? It must be a military plane. But why was it flying now? The sound was getting louder. Maybe it wasn't a jet. The noise kept going on and on, like distance had no effect on it. The loud roar was all around, not just from one direction. Now it sounded like a big roll of thunder that hadn't finished its clap.
Was it the astroid?
It's getting brighter outside! I see a light...
Oh no, it's the sky.
It's getting brighter but not because of the sun.
The sun is setting now.
The roar is getting louder...
The animals are quiet.
I'm so afraid.
Tears are streaming down my cheeks but there's no one around.
I'm all alone.
I'm having a panic attack.
The only sounds I hear are my cries, my panic filled moans, as I sit here all by myself.
The light is getting brighter.
But it's not the sun.
It's the astroid,
down to earth.
To destroy the earth.
It's the end now.
It's getting louder.
Like never-ending thunder.
the sky is on fire.
I think I see the outline of the astroid...
I hope it doesn't hurt.
I know I won't survive.
It's so bright!