By CARSON JENKINS
I wake up, groaning as I roll onto my side. I reach to cease the alarm. “10:30,” I mumble in slight bewilderment. I was laid off a week ago and haven’t fully adjusted to my new morning routine. I shake my head, rubbing my eyes as I sit up in the bed. I look to my right to find nobody next to me. My wife is already at work. I strain my ears towards the rest of the house, but there is only silence. My kids left for school hours ago. I sigh and slide out of bed, barely breathing life into my empty home. I pull clothes from the dresser and lay them on the bed for my job interview later in the afternoon.
I stumble into the bathroom, groggy from the night’s rest. I step into the shower and turn on the water, the warm droplets of moisture falling over my body. “I’ve only been out of work for a week, but I already have interviews lined up,” I say to myself, trying to stay positive as I stand in the shower, washing. It doesn’t work; I easily lose track of time allowing my situation to depress me. I step out of the shower and over to the sink. I finish grooming and throw on a bathrobe, ignoring the clothes on the bed. My interview won’t be for hours.
Shuffling into the kitchen, I glance at the microwave display to see that it’s now noon. “Oh well,” I mutter, pulling out a box of cereal. I’d spent longer getting fixed up than I’d planned to. I pour the cereal into a bowl and then add milk. Grabbing a spoon, I sit down at the kitchen table and switch on the radio. Surprised by the unusually poor reception, I turn it off, annoyed. I continue to fish the food from my bowl in silence. With all flakes eliminated, I drink the remaining milk and rise from my seat.
Finished with breakfast, I throw my bowl into the sink and lean against the counter, wondering what to do next. I decide to fix myself a cup of coffee, and glancing out the window, I remember I haven’t retrieved the paper yet. I fasten my robe and head to the door.
I exit my home, walking down the narrow stone pathway towards the street. I bend to pick up the morning paper and stand, turning to head back inside. As I do this, I notice my neighbors in all directions are also standing outside, staring up into the sky above. I follow their gaze and see above me a light; an overwhelming light, swiftly increasing in size. I stand there in my front yard perplexed at the stunning sight, the morning paper tucked loosely under my arm, my coffee held firmly in my free hand. The light grows to a blinding brightness, and then there is darkness.
The clocks stop at 12:21. The world ends shortly after.