For all those fatalists out there wondering what the end of the world will be like, here’s a hint: it’s boring. Dead boring. Out-of-my-mind-with-boredom boring.
Yep, this is Kaito K, live from the end of the world, somewhere in Beirut, Lebanon. Temperatures are way below normal for December – global warming considered. My fellow survivor, Abigail, thinks it’s just another one of them natural phenomena, but I beg to differ. Water in glasses freeze overnight, which cannot be normal for Beirut.
How do I know the world is ending? Well, five months ago, on a fine clear night, everybody in the world fell asleep. Abigail and me were the only ones who woke up. Or, of course, it’s only the whole of Europe that fell asleep, and everybody in the other parts of the world are hiding somewhere, far from human contact. Which seems distinctly unlikely, so we decided the first option was more like it.
I was on a plane when I fell asleep. Even I’d expected the Boeing 747 to end up as a massive metallic grease spot somewhere in Europe, but I’d found myself in one piece in the Arrivals lounge at Heathrow International. Which was queer enough, without all the cobwebbed people. Everybody in the airport, in London, in Britain, in every town we’d passed through, everybody was wrapped from head to toe in silvery webbing, virtually unbreakable – I’d tried – and icy to the touch.
They’d just fallen sleep wherever they’d been during the Night! Pedestrians curled up on the pavement, foodies pushed their plates aside and started snoring, software engineers stayed awake long enough to set their computers to sleep before nodding off themselves.
The electricity lasted for two months before it stopped, then started up again after less than a month. It was strange and unnerving, but very convenient. We checked the radio every morning, even though there were no broadcasts, just endless rotation music.
Then, a month ago, we began to hear the first voices. In London it was little less than a murmur, but in Beirut it was a definite voice, though we couldn’t make out any words. It sounded like somebody, but we didn’t know who it was or where we were picking this up from.
So we set off in the direction it was clearest. It led us to Lebanon, and we’re still hunting.