The sun was gone, hidden behind the moon. It was expected and talked about for days beforehand, so nothing to get excited about, right? One would expect so, but...
In the old ranch-style blue and white house on Apple Street Jim and Nancy, their son Jacob, and daughter Suzy, were prepared with the proper eye wear to watch the eclipse.
Over on Walnut Street in the new boxy two-story Pete and Jon where prepared for a bit more. They had candles, flashlights, extra water and canned goods.
Meanwhile, at the brown and white house of the Risar's, on Blueberry Avenue, Duke and Daisy, yes, that's their names, for real, were planning on spending the eclipse in bed making love.
Jacob and Suzy were excited, this would be their first full eclipse of the sun and they would be watching it with their proper protective eyewear. Mom and Dad made sure they understood the danger of not using the correct protection, and the kids even made their own. It was a day of fun and excitement for the whole family.
"Jon, I heard that there's something strange about this eclipse," said Pete, worry filled his voice.
"What?" asked Jon, distracted by the timer on the stove ringing to tell him it was time to take out their dinner.
"The eclipse. Didn't you hear anything about it? On the radio they're talking about some weird situation with the planets, the moon, the earth, and all that stuff. They said it won't be normal."
Taking some meat out of the oven, Jon asked, "What? It's just an eclipse, Pete. What's the big deal?"
Pete turned on the radio to his favorite station and the man on the radio was talking about the eclipse, "Listen to this, Jon. It's important."
"Dukey, baby, what are you doing?" asked Daisy. She was in the bedroom, straightening up the disheveled sheets and blankets.
"I'm getting a few things ready for the eclipse," Duke said from the hallway closet.
He came into the bedroom with a handful of candles and the scent diffuser.
Daisy giggled at the sight of him and all the different candles and the diffuser, each a different aroma, "Sweetheart, you can't have all those burning at the same time."
"Why not? They're all scented and it will be more romantic, don't you think?"
"Baby, yes, they're all scented, but they all have different scents. Look, this one is lavender, this one is cinnamon, this one is eucalyptus, and this is rosemary. Oh, and this one is jasmine, I like this one. You can't light them all at the same time because it won't smell good, let alone romantic."
"Hmm, well, what about this thing? Is it better than the candles?" He asked about the diffuser.
"It would be if it actually worked. Sweetie, just light the jasmine candle, and I'll get the tapers from the kitchen so we don't use the lights. That will be romantic."
"Okay, I'll put these away." Duke returned his armloads to the closet.
The tapers were lit, the room smelled of rosemary, it was perfect.
The kids are anxiously waiting for the moon to block the sun, standing on the patio with their homemade eclipse-viewing glasses at the ready.
"Look! The moon is moving over the sun! It's happening!" shouted Jacob. Suzy pulled her glasses down from the top of her head and put them over her eyes, but Jacob waited.
"Jacob!" Nancy yelled to her son, "Put your protective glasses on, now!" Jacob pulled the homemade shades down over his eyes.
"Mom! It's too soon! I can't see anything, it's blurry and dark," Jacob called back to his Mom.
"Just put them on and leave them on while you watch the eclipse," she said through the kitchen window.
The kids stared at the coming eclipse, completely mesmerized by the occasion.
"Pete," Jon said, "That's just a conspiracy theory, you don't believe it do you?"
Jon opened the pantry and saw the stuff Pete had bought at the store in the afternoon. The pantry was full of extra everything, especially canned good, batteries, a couple extra flashlights, many candles and matches. And at least 5 gallons of bottled water.
"Wow! Pete! Seriously? You really do believe that stuff, don't you?"
"Hey, it's a good idea to be prepared for anything, right? Besides, if it is just a conspiracy theory, then we're stocked up for the next natural disaster, whatever it might be," said Pete. He took out some candles and placed them throughout the house, and set a flashlight in each of the most used rooms.
The sun was completely hidden behind the moon, it was dark, and the children were thrilled. People all over the western US watched and waited, animals were nervous, anxious, and uncertain. One minute, 2 minutes, darkness. Three minutes, four minutes, dogs running around, barking, cats nervously hiding, birds quiet in the trees. Six minutes, 7 minutes.
"The moon hasn't moved, not a bit!"
"It should be moving away from the sun again by now!"
"What's happening? Why isn't the moon moving past the sun?"
"Were the conspiracy theories right?"
Eight minutes, 9 minutes, the total eclipse is still in totality.
"It should have been finished by now! What's happening?"
"Almost 11 minutes and it's still eclipsed, what's going on?"
People were now scared. The many calls to the emergency system had flooded it to the point of collapse.
All over the world, it was like time had stood still, like the world stopped moving, the moon had stopped moving. Those in the path of the eclipse totality were in darkness, others were in various levels of darkness, and the rest in daylight or nighttime darkness.
Half-an-hour. An hour. Two hours. Three hours. No change.
Pete and Jon had plenty of flashlights, batteries, and candles; lots of canned food and bottled water, thanks to Pete buying so many and filling the pantry. The conspiracy theories were right after all.
Jacob and Suzie stopped having fun long ago, now they were scared and huddled with their parents in the living room, watching the news on TV.
Duke and Daisy had gotten busy in their bedroom just minutes before totality, started making love and timed it so they would climax during totality, and that went perfectly according to plan. They didn't notice the length of time the total darkness continued, they were too busy with their second, then third session in quick order. It wasn't until Duke was completely worn out by Daisy that he got up and looked outside, then looked at the clock.
"Daisy, how long should a total eclipse last?" he asked.
"I think they're pretty short, sweetie, five minutes? I'm not sure," she said.
"I think it's been a lot longer than that," said Duke. He turned on the TV to the news.
The talking heads on the news were completely at a loss for words for what was happening in the sky. Scientists all over the world had no idea what could have caused it, or what might be done about it, or how long it might last. Nobody knew anything. And everybody everywhere were scared.
Five hours. 8 hours. All the rest of the day and the night. The totality continued. It was driving people all over the world to do crazy things, from breaking into the businesses in the dark parts of the world to a huge increase in suicides. The darkness gave those with nefarious intentions just what they wanted and needed. It gave the rest of the human race the greatest fear they had ever experienced.
Two days have passed and the totality has continued. The moon seemed to stall right when it was between the earth and the sun. But not just that the moon stalled and no longer orbiting the earth, it had to be combined with the earth coming to a complete standstill as well. No rotation. No orbiting the sun.
Four days, a week, a month. Was this the new normal? Life was starting to change on earth. In the darklands, as people started to call the nighttime side of the world and the small section under the totality, all living plant life had started dying. The people living in those darklands were moving to areas in lightlands. But there wasn't enough space for all of them. Not only that, most could not afford to move away, anyway. Governments started helping people move to the lightlands, but the countries in the darklands were becoming devastated.
Two months, three months, no change, except life on earth has changed incredibly. The world population had dropped by some thirty percent. Numerous countries had become nothing more than a name on the map. Many cities in the totality had become ghost cities. All over the world the cities in the lightlands had become overpopulated. There was no way for the governments to handle the sudden shift of the human population, and the governments were starting to fail, to crumble under the stress.
Was this the end of the world as we knew it?