We spent so long living in the shadow of the end times that we failed to notice the light growing dim. By the time darkness had descended it was too late to fight against it.
We were all experts of the apocalypse, or so we thought. We had spent decades conjuring visions of the future on the silver screen: countless hours of zombies stalking the living; road warriors driving lost highways; aliens obliterating every major city; monsters emerging from the sea. We mythologized our extinction, reveled in the myriad forms of our own destruction, telling cautionary tales yet returning to our hum-drum lives no wiser than before.
There was no single event, no point in time one could reference, no great singular scourge of humanity. Ours was a sevenfold collapse, a dying breath decades in the making. Not the immense terror of Revelations, rather an entropy that tugged at the loose threads of reality. Our disordered lives unravelled, societies came apart at the seams, our world ripped along worn creases.
It was the taste of cracked lips when water became more precious than gold. You could hear it in the wheezing cough of every vehicle, thirsting for petrol or diesel. You could measure it at the height of summer, and in the deep chill of winter. Even the light changed, a ruddy hue bleeding through every pane of glass. And as the world changed, so did the people. Tolerance, already long out of fashion, was now a gaudy affectation belonging to the past. Distrust was the new currency, the more you had the longer you lived. And greater than all these things, guilt. A profound sorrow lingered, that we had done so little to prevent our predicament, paid lip service to the gods of renewal, damned the graces that sustained us.
Those not mad with grief could agree on one thing: we did not need zombies, had no use for aliens. The greatest monsters at the end of the world were ourselves.