by BarkerJr, October, 2004

As I sit here, I feel the rumbling of the earth under my feet. The dark storm clouds are flying by, fast as if they are on fire. It is the end of civilization as we know it. Let me go back to where this all started.

My family lived in a beautiful antique house built in the twentieth century. Our relatives had come to visit from their homes nearby. We were having dinner and discussing the high oil prices. Gasoline, which was needed to power our crafts was up to six dollars a liter and showed no signs of returning to anywhere near what it was a few decades before.

We felt a slight vibration of the earth but dismissed it as a craft disregarding the laws and flying to close to the house. Then, a bird flew over the skylight and dripped black liquid onto the glass. It was very unattractive, so we stepped outside to see where it had come from. My uncle nearly jumped out of his skin when he noticed our mud puddle.

As I stated earlier, this was an old house. It had only three levels, and the yard was modest, with a fence along one side and a pear tree. Every year we would go out and pick pears for jam and anything else you can think of. There was also a little hill where a bit of muddy water collected at the bottom. The birds loved it, so we put up with the bugs and the stench. However, now the pond had turned into oil.

That was the beginning of the tear of reality. We did find the oil to be useful, although the birds, no doubt, did not share our joy. It seemed that as soon as we pumped the oil out, it filled up again. Therefore, we installed a personal refinery and were able to get gasoline out of it, for free. Our neighbors became very good friends with us and we were happy.

A few years later, on the same day of the year, my family and relatives were together again. Ever since we installed the refinery, the relatives seemed keen on visiting us more often. In any case, we were just sitting down to dinner when we heard some tinkling of metal outside. We had no wind chimes, so we assumed it was someone else nearby. After dinner, we stepped outside for the evening. My aunt's jaw dropped when she spotted the tree.

My family was quite well respected in the region. My father was the director of The Dome and earned a nice salary, so we really had no real wants in the world. It was with great surprise to see that instead of pears, the tree had coins on it.

And so continued the tear in reality... We had to order an electric fence to place around the tree in order to keep the packrats, and other children, from collecting our shiny coins. Since two very odd things had happened, my father and I decided to go to The Dome to research our events. They weren't terrible happenings, but odd all the same, and we wanted to see if they had happened in the past. We took the stationcraft to The Dome.

The Dome was a wonderful building. Actually, it could be called a shell or bubble, as it contained buildings inside. In The Dome, the temperature was always a pleasant 25.C degrees and 30% humidity. There was grass and trees and the precipitation system only ran at night when no one was there. There were three large buildings and a few smaller ones scattered around. Being a Saturday, the area was practically deserted. However, Lucia was there.

Lucia always seemed to adore us. There was a continuous debate among the employers of the facility of if it was personal adoration of my father or the desire to get ahead in the world. My father ignored her as best he could, and for my part, I did the same. We were busy and she wouldn't leave us alone. My father and her got into an argument and she wouldn't leave. Eventually, after much pleading with her, he had to have security remove her from the facility. She was seething with rage as she was taken away.

The ground shook for a moment. I had the feeling of urgency. We delved into our terminals searching for information about the change in reality that seemed to be upon us. After much searching, I discovered that the EarthCon application was spewing out errors. The EarthCon application had controlled much of the way the planet acted for the past few decades, since the second decade of the second millennia. I attempted to stabilize it it. My father went home to pack. The family would spend a week in our cottage in the wilderness.

As I tried to fix the program, the errors kept getting in my way. Faster and faster they appeared. The clouds outside were getting darker and darker. The error messages weren't letting me type a statement into the terminal before they stopped me again. Eventually, my family returned to pick me up. I jumped in and the stationcraft flew off into the wilderness.

As I sit here, I feel the rumbling of the earth under my feet. I don't know what happened, but I realize it is the end. Sure, we will have to rebuild. With any luck, we'll be able to rebuild much faster than our ancestors had. We hope that many other families manage to escape the cities before the looting and the shootings begin. It is the end of civilization as we know it.