Extinction didn‘t come completely unexpected; quite the opposite actually. Everyone felt it coming many weeks before.
It wasn’t an asteroid, a global war, a machine uprising or climate change. We knew that it was coming, just not in what way.
We all knew that it was going to happen. There was a strange atmosphere of serenity and peace as old conflicts between different nations and groups ceased while personal quarrels were laid to rest. Why fight when the world is about to end?
No one tried to run. Everyone knew it was inevitable. Underground bunkers would be useless, nowhere on Earth would be safe and we didn´t have any huge spaceships to flee; not that they would have gotten us far away enough anyways.
Global travel peaked before grinding to a halt as everybody just kind of decided to go wherever they wanted to be during the end.
Oddly lucid and just plain weird dreams had been become unusually frequent, then common, then the norm. Everyone’s thoughts seemed different in the days leading up to the end. Something was stirring in all of us. Reality felt more and more like a dream while our dreams felt more and more like reality. Even some of the animals acted increasingly quiet and reclusive.
It was a peaceful, but painfully certain march towards the end.
And so, on that warm day in spring, I said goodbye to my family and friends and went for a walk. No one cried. For that everyone felt the impending end, the day felt so incredibly normal.
I walked past houses where people held celebrations, bringing together everyone one last time. Other people simply went about their daily business. One man I walked past mowed his lawn.
I walked out of the town and along a nearby forest. The dark green woods to my left and what felt like endless serene fields to my right, I enjoyed the mild weather and the clear sky. It was such a beautiful day. It was as if all the flowers were blooming in one last act of defiance and the birds had decided to put up a final concert.
At the edge of an empty field only occupied by lush grass and weeds I sat down for no reason in particular. It just seemed like a nice place. I closed my eyes for a second and took in the smells: wet dirt, the flowers and trees, the grass and everything else. A warm wind gently brushed through my hair. The world felt like such a nice place at that moment.
I opened my eyes again. And saw a fox playing in the field about twenty meters away from me. The animal shot me a short assessing glance, decided I posed no threat, and continued rolling around in the grass. I watched it rolling and bouncing, occasionally running a few meters, wondering if it knew what was coming as well.
Then the birds went quiet. All at once, they stopped their musical performance. And not just them, no, the insects and all the other animals as well stopped whatever they were doing and sat down wherever they were. I felt it too. A sudden clarity of mind, as if a veil had been lifted off reality, and the urgent sense of something immensely powerful turning its eyes on me.
The fox turned its head northwards and I followed suit. It was immediately clear what it was staring at. In the north, maybe even over the North Pole itself, a giant red pillar of light had appeared in the sky. This was the end; I had never been so certain of something.
The silence was broken by a noise like a choir singing a single high-pitched note coming from all directions at once.
The ground shook.
The light brightened immensely for a second before part of it splashed downwards and outwards in a colossal wave of red. The wave quickly dropped below the horizon, but I knew that it was now rolling towards me.
For a couple of minutes, I stared at the beam of light shooting high into space in awe. Despite all that I had learned about the world and the universe in general, I had no explanation for what was going on, but that didn’t really matter now anyways.
The fox approached me. I did not see it coming, I felt it coming. I was surprised by what could at best be described as a new sense I had just discovered. I felt every living being around me; bugs, flies, ants, a few birds, every last microbe -if only very weak- and, of course, the fox. Something about reality was changing. It felt less dream-like than before, in an odd and alien, yet familiar way.
The fox sat down in front of me, looking at me expectantly. “What do you want, lil buddy?” I asked it like I would a pet. It tilted its head in response, its golden eyes staring deep into my soul, before sitting down next to me, looking northward with me.
I absently brushed the soft fur on its head, only realizing after a several seconds that I was petting an actual real fox. I gave a short chuckle as the absurdity of my situation became clear to me.
Far away, at the northern horizon a band of red light began to appear. It came into view slowly at first, tricking me into thinking it was only a couple of meters high at most, before rapidly growing into a gigantic wall at least thirty kilometers in height. It was still hundreds of kilometers away, but approached quickly. Again, I was awestruck by this display of the sheer and unimaginable power behind this phenomenon.
The fox was a female. She was two years old and had at least three siblings. She had no concept of names, but liked to compare herself to the sunrise because of her fur color. Information flooded my mind. I had no clue where it came from, but it was there. I knew about where a nearby ant colony had intended to expand to, the favorite feeding spot of a crow in a tree nearby, and every little bug’s plans for food gathering.
The sudden and overwhelming connection to every living being around me hurt, but only for a second. My mind had surprisingly adapted to the new form of input, now sorting and sifting, like it would with any other sensory input.
“Dawn?” I asked the fox, not expecting an answer. It looked at me in surprise, wagging its fluffy red tail twice from left to right. I understood.
The red wave came closer and closer. It now filled almost quarter of the northern sky, growing faster and faster. It was only a few minutes away.
Behind the wall, I noticed an equally titanic mass of long, brilliant white wings slowly unfurling in the epicenter of the event; right above the North Pole.
The fox moved closer. I put my arm around it comfortingly. “Quite the show, huh?” I whispered. The fox nodded.
I could hear thoughts of creatures further and further away. I felt a family of rabbits two fields over huddle together in their rabbit hole. Somewhere, a mouse was trying to hide its food reserves from the impending end. There were a bunch of other things, but I ignored them.
The wave was only about a minute away.
“Is human scared?” a soft voice in my head asked.
“Yeah. But not as much as I should be,” I thought back.
“Dawn is scared too. But human is soft. Human is nice. Human is here.”
A tired smile formed on my face. “So I can talk to animals now?”
A million trillion voices answered something I didn’t understand.
The barriers between different creatures became more diffuse.
I got a short glance at the mass of wings in the north before it became hidden behind the red wave. It had unfolded into what looked like a vague humanoid with six immense wings.
The wall was rolling towards us at an incredible speed. It was now the only thing visible in the North, reaching up mind-bendingly high into the sky.
In those last seconds, as a faint hum grew to a loud rumble and then a deafening roar, as all behind this wall returned to nothing, as everything we had ever built and created turned to ashes, I felt at peace. I felt connected to everything on Earth.
Dawn cuddled up close to me and I hugged that strange fox.
“What do you think will come next?” the voice in my head asked in a terribly scared tone.
“I don’t know. But we’ll see soon. Trust me. I think it won’t be as bad as it looks.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
I felt warmth. Warm light, warm air, warm fur, warm ground.
I saw nothing but a bright red light.
The fox evaporated in my arms.
I held on for a few moments longer before the wave consumed me as well, turning me into red nothingness.
And I became one with Dawn and the birds and the bugs and the plants and the people and the microbes and everything else. Everything combined together like puzzle pieces, complementing the flaws of everything else and forming a greater whole.
We were always destined for this.
Finally, all was right in the world.
A new god was born that day, the aftershock of its birth rippling across the conceptual plane.
Bits and pieces of information, concepts, ideas and even stories were thrown into the aether. All of reality would know, that Earth lived, in one way or another.
Somewhere, in a world located in the conceptual "splash zone", a man woke up from a strange dream.
"How weird," he thought, "I should write this down somewhere."