Dawn of Eternity

Now it's been ten thousand years
man has cried a billion tears
for what he never knew
now man's reign is through
But through eternal night
the twinkling of star light
so very far away
maybe it's only yesterday...

Rick Evans (1964) More about this quote
Taking in the end of the human epoch (ChatGPT)Taking in the end of the human epoch (ChatGPT)

It's not often that I wake up before my alarm clock. That tinny rascal is almost always quicker. But sometimes I manage to beat it. About three times a year, I'd say.

It happened today as well. I just opened my eyes and felt refreshed, knowing I didn't need any more sleep. I dislike sleeping more than necessary. Especially when I wake up before the alarm, because those are the days worth living for.

I stepped out onto the sun-drenched wooden veranda, and with still slightly squinted eyes, I marvelled for perhaps the thousandth time at the magnificent scenery of white cliffs over the bay, the picturesque little harbour with its fish market, and hundreds of brightly white houses squeezed together in a desperate attempt to save space and steal a bit of shade.

I learned about the end of the world from the newspaper.

It was quite mundane, really. I was having breakfast at my favourite spot, on a reed chair under a bamboo roof, when I read about it.

You would think they'd give it a bigger headline. At least one letter per page or something. But it would be pointless, I realized. An article about the end of the world doesn't need a bombastic headline.

I looked over the top of the newspaper. In the distance, on a tray, lay two slices of toast with butter. A jar of raspberry jam. A cup of tea, without sugar or milk.

Uh, so it's all over, then. Everything around has been burning for a few hours under harsh radiation, nasty little particles of energy from space. Even the toast and the jam. And the tea. But they don't mind, unlike all living things.

In fact, nothing really minds, only living creatures can complain about something. To that jam, for example, it doesn't matter at all that an entire arsenal of nuclear warheads exploded in orbit.

The newspaper said we should wear sunglasses. I smiled.

Suddenly, I realized that I was in denial about the whole catastrophe, just as much as the jam was. It confused me a bit. My mind demanded tears and remorse, but I had a strange feeling that none of it concerned me at all. Nothing could spoil that day for me.

The end, I repeated to myself suggestively, to grasp the terrible truth. In a few months, there will be no higher animals on land, just insects and a few resilient plant species. And humans will probably disappear first, perishing in the chaos they themselves caused. The collapse of the global economy. The downfall of all human values. The world will come to a halt. Like in that fairy tale where the wizard cast a spell and all the wheels in the land suddenly stopped turning. Looting of stores, fighting for food, and a struggle for sheer - oh, life. Sight will be the first to go. Then things will escalate quickly. Cancer-ridden dying figures and decomposing dead bodies. Cholera, typhus, the Black Death. A sharp rise in religions, for a short while, until all the self-proclaimed messiahs and the last Jehovah's Witness perish along with their believers. God has been dead for a long time. So many novels have written about it. The captain will be the first to abandon ship. Or rather, the one who was convinced he was the captain.

We fancied ourselves eternal. And yet, only ants and lichens will remain. And fish. Then, in a few million years, some more dignified successor to humans will emerge from the sea. A new race, maybe some walking dolphins. And quite certainly, one day in my place, a young dolphin will be sitting here having toast for breakfast, when someone telepathically announces the news to her. And then new tenants will come again. An immense cycle of civilizations beyond our comprehension...

For a moment, I closed my eyes and shook my head. The newspaper, perhaps the last one ever published, I folded in half and placed on the table. Then I got up and went to make some new toast. I can't stand cold toast.

Originally published in Slovak in 1993.

Tomáš Fülöpp
Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium
April 23, 2022, April 24, 2022, April 28, 2022
Tomáš Fülöpp (2012)

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Tagsapocalypsecivilizationdolphincyclicfutureevolutionstoryfictioneternitynuclear disastertranslation
LanguageENGLISH  SPANISHInternal link  SLOVAKInternal linkLink pointing back to this entry Content typeARTICLELast updateOCTOBER 20, 2018 AT 01:46:40 UTC