2016 – The End of the World
I open the paper and go straight to the daily cartoon. It’s a drawing of a man sitting in his armchair, eating popcorn, watching a turning, burning globe of Planet Earth. The caption reads; ‘What 2016 feels like!’ I laugh…the cartoon really does sum up the dominant events of this year. First match to the fire was America’s new president, Donald Trump. The narcissistic Republican nominee only won because hackers had read Hillary Clinton’s emails again. This time they found communication shared with another well-known Democrat in which she discussed the possibility of alien attacks. The media discredited her, NASA denied her claims and most people suspect she might be going mad.
The Baltimore riots add a little more combustion. More than 200 black American citizens and 20 police officers killed and thousands of other, innocent, bystanders wounded. The blacks are still fighting for equal status in American society. Racial discrimination has now outlived Martin Luther King by almost half a century.
The Mexicans are frightened. Trump’s threats in the lead up to the Presidential election kept most of them awake at night. Now it seems to be more serious. Someone has already drawn a line across the map where the ‘Great Wall of Mexico’ is to be built. The protest strikes resulted in a mass exodus of thousands of Mexicans employed across South America. Apparently, none wants to risk being jailed or deported now Trump has been elected.
The European Union is falling apart. The Brits have already disengaged, fed up with the EU telling them what they can, or cannot, do; Tired with waiting for the pipe-dream of European unification to be realized. France is in a prolonged state of civil war. This small country seems to have earned more wrath than others from the Islamic extremists still carrying around the hate of long-past transgressions, convinced that all ‘infidels’ must die. Turkey has already had three military coups. The most recent, bloody upheaval has resulted in 161 deaths, more than 1200 injured, and the arrest of almost 3000 military personnel. There are little ‘fires’ burning all over the globe, right now.
I turn the page of my newspaper. I read about four Pokemon GO participants being shot by a home owner for trespassing on his property. Fear is another global flame…. Who, these days, completely remains safe from the prospect of home invasion? It’s not always hate that pulls the trigger.
It’s the headline on page six that surprises me most. I read, ‘NASA confirms alien attacks.’ I look more closely to see if it is a paid advertisement placed by Hillary Clinton. It is not. The article quotes a news release from NASA, stating there have been a number of strange deaths reported. Several small towns appear to have been wiped out. At least, the inhabitants are either missing or dead. The buildings remain intact. The bodies of victims look completely dehydrated, but show no other signs of violence. The absence of evidence supporting the use of any known modern weapons has led NASA to suspect the killers could be aliens.
I turn on the TV and switch to a news station. A NASA spokesperson is being interviewed. He confirms the news report. The news reporter then asks him if it is a hoax. “You been saying for years there are no aliens. Both NASA and the US government have persistently denied video evidence from people reporting strange lights and objects in the sky. Recently, you even cut live feeds to the International Space Station when strange objects appeared. Are you telling me that you are now doing a backflip? Are you saying that we are under attack?” The NASA spokesperson nodded. “Yes, I am.”
Grabbing the remote, I disconnect from the unreal world of my television screen. I am not convinced by what I have just witnessed. Maybe it is some kind of publicity stunt by an author or film publisher. I remember reading an article about the possible remake of the 1980s classic, ‘The Aliens are Coming.’ It must be something like this…surely? I refuse to believe NASA can go from staunch denial to actively warning us that are under attack by aliens. It just doesn’t make sense.
I decide to visit my girlfriend. She lives in a townhouse overlooking an ocean beach. Anna is a sane, intelligent woman. I need such company right now. I step through my doorway into thick fog. It’s unusual to have midday mists in this part of the world, but I don’t think too much about it. My Oldsmobile 442 is waiting for me. I switch on the car radio and begin moving slowly out of the driveway, simultaneously listening to a flash weather alert. The reporter is advising that the fog is dense and broadly spreading across the region. Listeners are being asked to drive carefully. There have been several freeway accidents reported. Drivers are being requested to avoid the freeways. Luckily, my trip down to Anna’s place is via quiet roads.
Anna is not surprised to see me. We decide to spend the rest of the day watching Netflix and chilling out. I want to avoid the news stations and any discussion about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. She agrees. We head for the kitchen and cook some tasty Mexican food for lunch.
It is now evening. As I look through the window into the night I can see the fog is yet to clear. Anna moves to my side. I hear her sharp intake of breath and can see what causes it. A number of shadowy figures are moving through the fog in the direction of the townhouse. I can now see more clearly. The aliens are between seven to ten feet tall, with white, hairless faces and horns growing out of their shoulders. Each seems to be carrying some kind of weapon. They can see us looking at them through the window. One of the creatures is pointing his weapon at Anna. Watching her drop to the floor, I find myself thinking, strangely, that her face now looks like a large, dried prune. Looking back at the white-faced alien, I begin to feel a burning sensation in my chest.
2016 – The End of the World