The Rapture by taliavogt

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I'm writing this in case when this is over, there's anyone left to tell.

I don't want to die.

I'm not always a good person. I shoplifted, I plagiarized an essay or three in university. Maybe I also beat someone up for giving me shitty cocaine-but that was a long time ago. But I really, really don't think that's enough to deserve, well, this.

It took me three months to realize my best friend had been replaced.

It's a miracle I spotted it at all, with how good they've become. Near-perfect imitation; the flit of the eyes, the twitch of the fingers. Fuck them. Makes me wonder if when it's finally my turn, anyone will even miss me. Or if by then, everyone else will have been replaced already, too.

I went out on a limb a few times with some crazy conspiracy theories, sure, and I can't say I've lived my life ignorant of everything the government's hiding from us, the plans of big corporations, all of that. Planes dump chemicals in the air to keep the citizens subdued. 9/11 was an inside job. Whatever. But when the first people blew the whistle, even I thought they were a little far out. There was no way that their husbands, children, friends, coworkers had become like changelings, where it wasn't fairies that had stolen them away, but the government. That a genocide was happening before our very eyes, and no one acknowledged it? It was totally insane... until it wasn't.

Things started making sense. A data breach. The information they took. See, it was so, so easy. We always used to joke about the cameras on our phones spying on us, the microphones recording us, a technological compilation of us. But they did more than that-because we all but downloaded ourselves into virtuality, and they simply gathered it.

Every single thing we did went towards a database. Not just what we posted, or when, but the movements of our eyes, the pressure and pacing of our fingers as we scrolled, every hesitation to open an app or backspace on a caption-hell, they even recorded our breathing patterns. The sounds you made when you slept. Why you chose to put on a yellow shirt instead of a blue one on Tuesday. Enough access allowed them to piece together our very thoughts. Biological engineering took care of the rest.

I know they're watching me now. My curtains are drawn, but they're always there, too many cameras and microphones and GPS trackers in our phone-dependant society to ever escape them. They're stalking me. They're stalking all of us. And yet people still think I'm crazy, even as it's happening to them. They climb in their car; by the time they get to work, they've been switched out. With near-perfect copies of themselves. It's true. It's all true.

But you couldn't call the police because your friend was... what? What was she? For Larissa, all I knew was that it looked like her, sounded like her, even thought like her, but it wasn't. The police laughed. My own family laughed. I didn't even know how to mourn, because she was here, in front of me, the same best friend I've had for fifteen years, and yet the soul I knew was gone. I'm grieving someone who's still here, but not.

It's expanding-there are millions of them now. But the world insists nothing is happening. They're gaslighting us into our own murders. But why replace us with exact copies of ourselves? I think it's all about repair. They don't want extinction; they want improvement. We've been running the planet into the ground. Plagued by inequality and oppression. We are the problem, yet we want to live on. Retaining humans without our destructiveness ensures our survival-or at least, the concept of it. But if they really are replacing us to fix the world, who are we fixing it for?

I've taken to calling it the Rapture-except there's no one good left to save.

They still think I'm crazy. That going off my meds did me in, and that quitting my therapist because she wanted me to check into the hospital was evidence that I have well and truly lost it. Maybe I've also done some shrooms since. A key bump here or there. But that doesn't change the facts. I'm not wrong. I know it. I know it because I saw it in my best friend when she glitched for a single second, just long enough for me to realize that they've spread here, to my city, to my home. I can't trust anyone. I don't go out anymore. Sometimes I think I can hear them coming, and one of these days, I'll be right. Maybe when they replace me, they'll replace the dark swirling in my brain, the permanent stain I can see everywhere I look. But I'll take my excess of dopamine over a literal clone any day of the week.

If you're reading this, you know I'm right. The Rapture will cleanse humans of their humanity and maybe even save the fucking world in the process. If a mood strikes me, I'm almost of a mind that it makes sense, that if we want to avoid extinction we might still need to take our real selves out of the equation. The ones behind it probably think they're putting the humanity back into humans, instead of the other way around. Who knows.

I just know I don't want to die.

The glass crunches beneath my feet as I fish the letter out from under the remains of the table, peppered with spots of her blood-my blood. My hands brush past her face but she barely even notices me, twitching as the last of the life drains from her, from the jagged chunk of glass lodged in her kidney. They were right. She really does look exactly like me. The freckle on the tip of her nose. The squinty left eye. I've never heard of the switch going violently before, but I guess we've got quite the aggressive personality to share.

She looks up at me with my blue eyes, the terror flickering out behind them, giving way to nothingness. They die quite easily.

They told us humans were weak, after all.

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