Well, I guess that will settle centuries of religious debate. In these dark and trying times, we have been praying, more often and harder than ever, and our prayers have been answered.
'It's time we saw a miracle', the sceptics had said. 'It's time we saw something biblical.'
Well, that's exactly what we have before us right now: a miracle taken from the very pages of the Old Testament. There's no question about it now: there is a Father above, and he has answered our prayers.
'This is the end,' an old man called John, in a likewise old suit, said. It was difficult to discern whether he was crying for fear or for joy.
He was right. You can't get too picky about what you ask for. We wanted a miracle, yes, something to deliver us from the misery the recent war had bestowed upon us. Something to free us from biological warfare, from the nuclear bombs that had already ravaged Africa, Asia, and America. We wanted deliverance.
A cough from a carcass of a human confirms that she's not dead yet. I don't think she has noticed her baby had stopped breathing some hours ago.
I guess we never really knew what we were expecting. That the dead rise from their graves and return to the warm embrace of their families? That these flesh-eating bacteria suddenly stopped spreading like wildfire throughout the world? That the people who had suffered from radiation magically return to their old, healthy selves—all by the grace of God?
No, not really. More likely than not, this is exactly what we expected. What we wanted. There was no other way, no other end to the conflict. God has answered our prayers, and he has been merciful.
He has sent a saffron meteor to vanish humankind from the Earth.
No politicians, no international experts could have foretold a better end to the conflict. Mainly because most politicians and experts are by now long dead—or hiding away in underground bunkers, who knows—and only the military rule over the few survivors who still cling to this piece of rotten dirt.
Why do we fight so hard to stay alive? Hell if I know.
I guess humanity is right now divided in two: the very brave, who will fight just until the very end, and the very craven, who are too afraid even to take their own lives. Some of them say it's a sin to kill yourself, but I have a suspicion that they are more scared of the pain that comes with cutting your arms open, or jumping from a cliff, or poisoning yourself. By comparison, the day-to-day misery that hunger and illness bring has almost become routine, so common that we have forgotten how else to live.
I must confess I pertain to the latter, as well as most of the human carcasses that still roam this valley of tears. I can't remember how many days I have been toying with the gun in my pocket. Weeks, maybe? Maybe months. But then I remember good old Paul, whose bullet only took away the parts of his brain that controls speech and movement. He did end up dying, sure, but it was a rather unpleasant affair. After cleaning his blood, drool, and pus for two weeks, very few of the people in our commune wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Our Lord must have seen our indecision. He must have taken note of our suffering. He didn't want us to sin. And so he's delivering us himself to Paradise.
With a flaming meteor.
Some soldiers would still have us believe that this wormwood is a new kind of weapon developed by an enemy country—as if any of them still possessed any kind of technology or resources enough to make anything more than the most rudimentary of guns. Einstein got it wrong when he said that World War Four would be fought with sticks and stones—after the third instalment, there's no hope for a sequel.
No; all those big computers, all those menacing red buttons are gone by now. Only an instinct of survival, a deep-rooted hatred, and fear—most of all fear—are what's left to those still fighting. The rest of us just cower in the dark.
Until now. There's no dark left anymore. Isn't that light beautiful? So bright. The divine source of Light Everlasting.
I guess there comes a point for every human being where they can't fight anymore. Everyone has different limits. Everyone has a different pain tolerance threshold, but everyone has one. This war has taken us all to the limit, and most of us have trespassed it already. We had come to the point where we just couldn't endure it anymore.
Except for the valiant, the brave, the courageous. The psychopaths, the ones who want to help Pandora take care of this world, as if opening her box had not been enough. Only those unable to feel empathy, fear, and pain would keep fighting under these conditions. In the meantime, we, the cowards, the dispossessed, the hungry and the desperate—the ones the soldiers swear to be protecting—we pray. Defenceless and powerless, day and night, awake as well as asleep, we can do nothing but pray.
Who would have guessed it would be the prayers of the craven that would put an end to the war? And so I embrace it. May God be just in my hour of reckoning, and give peace to this wearisome soul. I can feel my skin roast and cook already; in a few minutes I will have lost my wits.
It is a beautiful last thought to have. To think He has come to save us, to think there was Justice for those of us who needed it most. To think there was forgiveness. Even if it's all—