1. The way the world fell
Xander had always wondered what people had been thinking. Polluting the environment, destroying forests, wasting natural resources, starting wars?
Living in a world with corrupt governments and financial fraud, a world where some countries were poverty stricken while others thrived with greed? What had they been expecting? Surely they saw it coming. Or was ignorance really that bliss? Maybe they thought it just wouldn’t happen in their lifetime, but they were wrong.
What shocked him the most was that they still had the audacity to act surprised, like it wasn’t the inevitable all along. But humanity always seemed to find someone else to blame.
The world crumbled. Governments collapsed, religion was demolished, cities were destroyed and humanity was lost.
Unsurprisingly religion was one of the first things to go as soon as the religious nuts, or to be politically correct, extremists, had finished preaching of the impending apocalypse. It didn’t take long for people to realize there wasn’t a rapture coming to save them or a plague of locusts coming to kill them. And so it was forgotten about. There was no God coming to save the high and mighty ‘elect’ or punish the ‘sinful’, words like that became obsolete. Now there were just people, once 7 billion and now less than a tenth of that he guessed scattered around the remnants of a world.
Governments fell within weeks. As soon as religion had its shining moment reduced to myth, people found someone real to blame, and murder, for the world turning to hell. People just wanted to assign blame and point fingers to make sense of what had happened, ignoring the fact that there had been decades of warning leading up to it. Just because the world had fallen in weeks doesn’t mean it hadn’t been a long time coming. But I’ll save you the gory details, and believe me there were many.
Society and civilization had become a thing of the past. Order, law, morality had all been washed away and left most of the population dead. No-one knew the exact numbers. Suddenly keeping record was pointless next to staying alive.
Communication became limited to word of mouth and face to face contact, so between lies and Chinese whispers, most of what you heard was meaningless anyway. But it was easy enough to see with your own eyes what the new world was like.
Bodies littered the streets. Corpses rotted with no-one to bury them, families abandoning the dead in favour of the living. Cowards had been exposed quickly, family bonds only going so far, but Xander knew himself that karma was a bitch.
Electricity ceased too. There was no-one to keep it running and lines were cut, figuratively and literally in some cases. No-one really knew when or how but it seemed town by town, city by city, country by country, it was gone. Just a flick of a switch and poof, there was nothing. That pretty much hit it home for most people. This was real. This was the world now. It is happening.
People panicked. People ran. People died. People killed.
With the internet gone and the cyber net eradicated there was no international communication unless you wanted to canoe across the ocean. Xander had always been curious about what was happening in other countries. The most obvious guess was it was pretty much the same as here, but it was impossible to know for certain. Maybe they’d survived the worst, re-established the world. Or maybe there was nothing left. It was morbidly exciting to think he could be one of the last humans left on the planet, in all the years he’d been running he must have only seen about a thousand people.
The weak died and the meek inherited the world. Xander had been stronger than most people, and coping without electricity had been hard but not impossible. Material and trivial electronic things becoming useless was something worth getting over to survive. What was worse was water. When the taps ran dry the streets ran with blood.
What had people thought was going to happen? When the world comes crashing down who’s ready to party?
The world had just stopped moving forward. Life went back to fending for yourself, feeding yourself, kill or be killed. That’s the way he lived now.
And when had all this happened? Sooner than you think.