Nobody expected the end when it came. It wasn’t like any of the stories of apocalypse mankind had been so obsessed with throughout its brief existence on the planet Earth. There were no gods raining hellfire from the sky, no nuclear exchange between warring nations. Jesus Christ never appeared in the sky to carry the Saved to Heaven. There were no great tsunamis, no charred lands, no nuclear fallout. Human civilization didn’t wind down to a standstill to await a slow death.
There were no warnings signs. No way to know what was coming, or how it came to be. There was no solar flare, no rumbling tremors to warn the civilizations of man. There were no endless wars, no atrocities to offend whatever gods may be. Man was not turning against man any more or less than he always had. There were no diseases that were ambitious enough to take them all. No social upheavals or doomsday cults.
It could be argued, in those days, that when the world ended, mankind was at the height of his existence. He accepted his responsibility for the world, to act as a steward to the planet and all the life it hosted, and not be a burden upon it.
Yet despite man being at the height of his existence, the end still came.
It came quickly, and it came violently. So quick that those on the surface were dead before their brains could recognize that something was off.
And when it came, it ended twelve billion human lives within seconds. Every bird, every tree, every fish and insect were either incinerated or sucked up into an endless vacuum.
They were the lucky ones. The ones who never knew anything was amiss. The ones who were smote while laughing at a joke, climbing a mountain, enjoying a lover’s embrace. The ones who could die happy, having a lived a full life breathing the fresh air beneath a blue sky.
The survivors of the complete obliteration of the planet of man’s birth could only watch impotently from above. Helpless to do anything about it as the Earth was torn apart, a three-mile-long hole punched through it by a microscopic void from which nothing escaped. Not light, not life, not even matter. It shot through the planet at near-light speed, punching through the core before exploding out the other side, dispersing the atmosphere as though it were a popped balloon at a child’s birthday party.
Over one million souls had resided in the skies above the planet, and the various terrestrial colonies man had erected as a testament to its ambition around the solar system. All they could do is cry at the fates.
The Earth, the very cradle of life within Sol, was no more. The only evidence of it ever having existed took the form of a cluster of massive stones and floating orbs of water.
Thus began the last age of mankind.