Flash Fic Challenge – A Suicide of Glass
Another flash fic challenge, another short. This one is a bit of a downer, I freely admit that.
A Suicide of Glass
When the rains first came, no one could quite believe it.
The clouds got a lot of attention, as they were a rich, brilliant blue, more intense than the sky, and there was a lot of speculation as to what they could have meant. If they were pollution, part of a study on the drought, cloud seeding, stuff of that nature. The truly crazy settled on aliens or some kind of government experiment, but you couldn’t go down those rabbit holes for long. The crazy seemed contagious, like a virus made of a corrupt idea, damaged DNA just replicating itself over and over again.
There wasn’t time to do a proper study, not before it started to rain. From inside, it looked extraordinary beautiful, like abnormally long drops of water cascading to earth, but you could hear the difference. The drops hit the roof like a rain of pebbles, tiny explosions against the windows, sometimes leaving tiny cracks.
The rain wasn’t water. The rain was glass.
At first there was an attempt to make sense of it. A secret nuclear weapons test was the first thought, but that would have been noticed by some satellite, some spy, even by some seismograph. There was no way this was something that was just snuck under the radar.
So what was left? Pollution somehow caused this. Mad science, God’s or Mother Nature’s retribution, that damn government again (whichever one you happened to be living under, as the rain of glass was global.) My favorite theory was aliens.
But the rain didn’t stop. Also, the rain was poisonous. Not to animals, although they died if they ate it, just like if they ate any other kind of glass. It was just poisonous to humans on contact. So the dying began, and it didn’t stop.
From my window on the twentieth floor, I could watch the population dwindle, from genuine bumper to bumper traffic at the beginning of the week, to a few random cars near the end. Cable networks continued on automated settings, although watching “reality” shows from before the rains seemed surreal somehow. Some local networks eventually stopped entirely, becoming nothing but static. The internet continued, but as weird as it is to say, I began missing chat rooms full of trolls and perverts, because there weren’t enough people left to chat, eventually. Twitter was a ghost town, with a few people randomly sending out bursts, asking if anyone was still alive out there. The responses grew fewer by the day.
It turned out the one good time to be agoraphobic was now. I had food stored up – I bought in bulk, whenever I could get up the courage/medicate myself sufficiently to go out – so I was able to watch safely from my perch as the world died around me. Eventually the water stopped working, but by then I was working through my wine collection, so I didn’t care much. I thought about letting my cat outside when I ran out of food, because animals were doing okay. When someone thought to open up the zoo, I saw zebras walking down the street, looking as lost as a zebra in downtown Seattle could.
The glass rain wasn’t sharp. I knew this because I saw bewildered birds land and perch, including hawks and eagles, which had moved solidly into urban areas to pick off mice, rats, rabbits, and other small animals, which were becoming more plentiful by the day. No bird ever appeared to be bleeding or hurt from the glass, although they weren’t fond of it pelting them.
I like to think it’s nature taking its ultimate revenge on the most parasitic species to ever cover the earth, or aliens who plan to colonize after we’re gone, but part of me knows that this was probably human caused. Somehow, we did it to ourselves, because we are our own greatest enemy. A fitting epitaph for the human race.
T.S Eliot was only half right. Yes, the world ends with a whimper, not a bang. But it also ends with the sound of breaking glass.