The Amateur’s Guide to the Apocalypse
Axiom 1: Remain calm.
Holy shit. Oh my god. Oh my dear, jumping, Jesus Christ of a god.
I’m going to die.
Yep, this is it. Right now. Totally going to die, any second now. Better just close my eyes, accept my fate, and wait for it to be over.
…or not, maybe.
Actually, the fact that you’re reading this journal, that I wrote this journal, is probably evidence that I haven’t died, at least not at the time of writing this. On the other hand, if this journal abruptly ends in two pages, in the middle of a sentence?
I mean, that probably won’t spell out a good fate for me, the author.
Why am I even keeping this journal? Honestly, I couldn’t give you a good answer. Maybe one will come to me as I keep writing. I think that after the events of the last few weeks, the End of the World and all that, I need some way to come to terms with it all.
Anyway, those panicked thoughts that so wonderfully started off this journal were my thoughts this morning, as I heard the explosions, screams, and other unpleasant noises coming from outside. I also very quickly learned that this was the End of the World, thanks to one woman who, for several minutes, kept on screaming out that this was the End of the World.
She stopped screaming very suddenly, I remember. In fact, I can’t seem to stop remembering how suddenly she stopped screaming. And her last scream ended in a very wet sort of sound.
It was a bit like “Squelchishich.”
Of course, maybe I’m not even supposed to be down here, suffering! This was my next thought, and it seemed reasonable at the time. Maybe I need to go outside, and I’ll get raptured up to Heaven. Perhaps the beam of light coming out of the sky couldn’t find me because I was in the changing room in the back of the Gap store at the mall, trying to see if my body type had somehow magically changed into the type to let me pull of skinny jeans.
The answer to that is no, by the way. They just make my thighs look a bit like over-stuffed sausage casings.
After fighting my way out of the too-tight pants, I headed out of the changing room in the Gap, leaving the jeans I’d picked out behind on the bench in the little room. I didn’t see any sign of the changing room attendant, but I assumed that, if she was still alive, she’d come back at some point and clean up after my mess.
The Gap store looked fairly normal, except that all of the fluorescent lights in the ceiling had gone out. When I stepped out of the store after finding my way past the looming shapes of snazzily dressed mannequins, however, the rest of the mall looked markedly different.
There was a lot less of it, for one thing.
Previously, the Sacramento Mall had formed a shape a bit like a large plus sign, with four straight arms extending out in the cardinal directions from a big central food court. Now, however, it seemed as though someone decided to perform some violent subtraction on the mall. Looking down the length of my arm towards the center, I saw sunlight shining down through the lack of a ceiling, catching dust motes drifting lazily up from the piles of rubble that now lay everywhere.
And there, floating in what had once been the center of a bustling if thoroughly unhealthy food court, I saw an angel.
He floated there, hovering in the air. The huge, white-feathered wings extending out from his back flapped lazily, almost more for show than to actually contribute to his staying aloft. He wore a flowing white robe, unmarred by any stain or dirt, and a ring-shaped halo glowed a bright yellow color as it bobbed about six inches above his head. In one hand, he held a sword with a blade made from a single, dancing flame, extending out from the handle in a brilliant, ever-shifting mixture of red, orange, yellow, and white at the core.
In his other hand, he held what appeared to be a Furby.
I blinked. Surely, I was hallucinating. I slowly reached up and felt about in my hair, checking for a lump, but I couldn’t find any sign of an injury. Pinching myself also failed to dissipate this strange image of a floating angel hovering thirty feet or so in front of me.
As I tried to wake myself up from this disturbingly lucid dream, the angel held the Furby up in front of its face. “You are no creature of God,” the angel spoke out, his voice majestic and terrible and echoing about the ruined mall in a way that is nearly impossible to do without a very complex and expensive sound system. “Are you a creature of Lucifer? Spawn of Hell?”
“Wee-tah kah-loo-loo,” the Furby replied, waggling its ears.
A frown appeared on the angel’s handsome and perfectly symmetrical face – and then it threw the Furby up in the air, switching to a two-handed batter’s grip on its flaming sword.
“Doo-dah,” the Furby managed to get out, before the impact with the burning blade reduced it to a pile of ash and smoking gears.
Seeing that poor Furby destroyed seemed to snap the last little thread of my sanity. I spun around and fled, running blindly away from the still-frowning angel, from the smell of burnt synthetic fur, from the destruction and madness and horror that surrounded me and assaulted my eyes wherever I turned. I ran and ran, until my burning, exhausted legs could carry me no further.
Up ahead of me, I saw a vehicle, a van of some sort, with the back door hanging open. With the last dregs of my strength, I dragged myself into the back of the van, pulling the door shut behind me.
Alone in the darkness, I felt my consciousness slip away.
To be continued…