‘Dying feels…fuzzy.’ This would turn out to be Myron Starr’s second-to-last thought. It wasn’t what he’d expected. Not that he had spent much of his life thinking about death, but still, he had always imagined something else the few times he had imagined it at all. Weren’t there supposed to be lights and tunnels?
In the other room he could hear solemn intonations regarding the apocalypse but he no longer cared. His ears were ringing. He hadn’t expected that either, but again, he didn’t care. The voice in the other room wasn’t just speaking to him, but to everyone, he understood that for a few seconds more. The ringing was making it hard to hear.
His mind, which had always been so sharp, began to dissipate. The razor’s edge deliquescing, atom by atom until it was a butter knife, then a cloud, then something less solid still. His memories fled him like smoke into a fog. Soon he could no longer tell where he stopped and the fog began. It didn’t matter anymore. He turned to face oblivion, and it welcomed him. It whispered into his mind in a language he couldn’t quite grasp. Darkness fell all around him, wiping out fear and anxiety. It wasn’t peaceful, like he had always heard, just devoid of fear, which isn’t exactly the same. He gave himself over to the void willingly.
He, of course, would not remember any of this, which might be a shame, but for one small detail; he would never remember his final thought, which might have haunted him forever.
‘Why do I smell bacon?’
It was a strange thought and it was also his last...
Around the globe, nothing moved. No cars in the streets. No planes overhead. Even the birds had stopped making noise. Everywhere, there were bodies. Buildings full of bodies. Bodies in the streets. Some draped across bar stools, others face down on the pavement. Stacked up in overcrowded nightclubs like puppies. All sleeping peacefully. The lights were still on and twinkling. Nearby, blank screens observed it all, like the onyx eyes of an omniscient god. Black rectangles that had previously been garish colors with news of impending apocalypse, now stared out in absolute tranquility.
At exactly 0111 (GMT) for precisely one minute and eleven seconds, the empty screens displayed a silent message:
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry,
and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.
Afterwards, there was the sudden sizzle of static and then various apologies for “technical issues” which were promised to be resolved shortly. Eventually, the picture changed to an eagle proclaiming itself part of the government and alerting viewers to an impending message from the Emergency Broadcast System. It repeated itself over and over, but the message never came.