Short Story: How do you tell if the world’s ended?

The end of the world isn’t like on TV. It doesn’t happen with a bang, or even with a whimper, it happens bit by bit. I didn’t realise when I first saw it. I thought it was just a broken water pipe in the street outside.

I watched the water seeping out and pooling in the road as I made my coffee. It looked beautiful in the morning sun. When I came home from work that evening the water was still leaking. I called the authorities to let them know they had a burst pipe but no one came. The pool of water grew, day after day. I didn’t realise it was the end of the world.

No one came to collect our garbage. I called, but I couldn’t get through to anyone. Trash started piling up in the streets.

Then I wasn’t paid. The money should have been in my account at the end of the month, but it was empty. I couldn’t follow what they said on the news, something in the economy was broken. I never understood that sort of thing.

We were eating a cold dinner by candlelight that evening, the power was out again. We were talking, and then suddenly you weren’t. Your face froze and you dropped your fork.

Dread and adrenaline gripped me. My cell phone couldn’t find a network. I picked up the landline but it was dead. I ran outside to hail a cab but the road was empty, not a soul, everyone indoors because of the police strike.

I held you in my arms and stroked your face as your body went cold. That’s when I knew the world had ended.

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