Fantasy Science Fiction Thriller

In the hushed murmurs of a sleepy East Texas town, authors gathered, eyes skyward, as the celestial dance between the Devil Comet and a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse promised to grace their corner of the world.

Their expectations included a short duration of four minutes and twenty seconds where darkness enveloped them, followed by a day brimming with the exchange of captivating stories among their kindred tribe.

A feeling of unease engulfed Clyde, sending a cold shiver down his spine, foreshadowing that the day would deviate significantly from their expectations. There was a hidden secret within him, a tale not yet ready to be revealed.

As the sky began to darken, the small town was cloaked in an unsettling silence, casting an eerie atmosphere over the land. With the vanishing shadows, the once warm day took on a cooler and more refreshing atmosphere.

With their special glasses, the eager crowd anxiously watched as the sky grew darker, oblivious to the fact that they were being observed by others.

Against the backdrop of the twilight, the alien visitors moved silently, their presence hidden in plain sight. Their mission was not to marvel at the sun’s corona but to quietly track and mark the oblivious humans below.

With swift and precise movements, they gently positioned beacons at the feet of every sky watcher, resembling delicate flowers that held a mysterious purpose known only to them.

The humans stood, utterly unaware of the impending invasion, their attention captivated by the mesmerizing otherworldly spectacle of the seemingly innocuous eclipse.

The estates’ rhythmic heartbeat was soon overpowered by an all-encompassing hum that seemed to emanate from the sky, leaving the birds momentarily silent as if nature itself stood still.

The umbra’s embrace was total, and the solar wind’s rays danced like ethereal spirits across the sky, casting a spell over the gathered crowd.

But the awe of the spectacle twisted into confusion, then horror, as the host witnessed his guests being swept away. They vanished into a vortex of luminescent specks, swirling like a swarm of lightning bugs caught in a devil’s waltz, leaving behind the echo of his country estate, once filled with life, now silent under the cosmic ballet.

Three minutes into the eclipse, the last of the guests vanished.


Months before the event, Clyde was tinkering with his satellite dish when he suddenly picked up an eerie, otherworldly signal from beyond Jupiter. Surprised and delighted, the signal stood out among the other bursts of interstellar radio signals with its intensity.

However, this particular one seemed to repeat in a never-ending cycle. Decoding the signal was a lengthy process that spanned several months. He tirelessly applied numerous algorithms, experimenting daily, until one fateful day, he let AI take a shot at it.

The signal revealed itself as a cautionary message and a beckoning call to those clever enough to unravel its meaning. Humanity found itself on the brink of a looming precipice. The Xylars, with their advanced technology, traveled through time to protect endangered species from extinction.

Rushing across the galaxy, their focus was on humankind, with their radar locked onto a world in trouble.

Once Clyde understood the language, he crafted a return message to the overlords using his ham radio equipment. He knew the types of individuals who truly embodied humanity. They were not the ones from DC or the vapid narcissists who lived in gated communities and dared to tell those who struggled to pay for food how to live their lives.

Like moths irresistibly drawn to a flame, the Xylars had perceived the destiny of this little blue rock from another galaxy. The bright flashes they witnessed were blindingly intense, far brighter than anything their sun could produce.

As the director of a league of writers, Clyde knew each of them by their words. He insisted that they come to his home in the country to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event, and he had a plan.

They came from the best of the group, unaware that this day would be their last day on planet Earth.

The morning of the event went about as you might expect. Clyde’s secret twisted his stomach into knots. If he told them what he was planning, would they come? Could they keep the secret, or would they spoil mankind’s last chance to survive the apocalyptic pursuits of the greedy, insane power brokers who thought of themselves as gods?

In a few brief hours, many, if not all, of his friends would vanish.

They arrived on cue, bringing food, drinks, and materials to craft their stories.

The promise of the Xylars was as straightforward as it was enticing.

After ensuring the planet’s safety, they promised to carefully transport the humans back to their world. They emphasized their commitment to preserving the gene pool by prohibiting individuals with a penchant for weapon creation from tainting it. Those who possessed the art of skillful communication and could craft documents that would guide future generations were in high demand.

As the moon gradually moved away from obstructing the sun, the devil comet, which was revealed to be a spaceship, vanished into the vivid indigo sky.

When the birds sang again, their melodies echoed through an empty estate.

Clyde conducted an inspection of his home and observed the automobiles owned by his guests sitting in the driveway. Upon entering the house, he discovered that his guests had left the food and drinks untouched. The computers and other writing tools were patiently waiting, their screens glowing softly in the dimly lit room.

He stood alone, the last person remaining. They entrusted him with the mission to seek out like-minded individuals worldwide, and the Xylars set off on their journey.

Much like Noah, the Xylars began taking aboard different species of creatures. At the same time, Clyde went on his task to proselytize the writers of the world.

The words formed an invitation that only the cleverest could decipher, all while the rotund local sheriff stole time away from the confectioners from the town square to investigate the missing person’s claim.

Explaining that they vanished during the eclipse didn’t satisfy the local police. Guilty until proven innocent was the new mantra of the DOJ, FBI, and other law enforcement folks.

Even the CIA became involved when they heard similar stories from different countries.

Clyde sat in the local jail, attempting to digest bologna and eggs. At the same time, even the criminals in the other cells thought he was guilty.

How could one man do away with so many in four minutes and twenty seconds with zero trace of blood on his hands? Could he have accomplished his task more subtly, perhaps with a pencil? The written word is much more lethal than the sharpest weapon, but is that how it happened?

Pictures of the event went viral as the most prominent mystery in this part of the country unfolded into one of the most prolific missing persons cases ever published.

They allowed Clyde a tablet and pencil to write the story as they dragged the lake for bodies. Much like Paul writing his letters in prison, Clyde felt as if a prophecy was unfolding.

They employed cadaver dogs to find bones from existing cold cases. They walked for miles, finding even more missing persons from crimes of passion from years past. Nothing explained the missing writers. It was almost as if they were never there.

Months went by with no proof that he did anything wrong. When the author’s family members also disappeared, a judge who understood the rule of law was innocent until proven guilty ordered them to release him.

Even the CIA agreed as they were tracking other missing persons who only had one thing in common, they were all authors.

Clyde returned to his home. He cautiously passed through the yellow and black striped tape, immediately hit by the pungent smell of moldy cheese and stale crackers.

Oddly enough, someone had consumed all the special eclipse donuts that arrived that fateful day, as well as the cupcakes and brownies the team had made for the special event. Much like the writers, the sweet treats were gone.

The missing persons story continued to make headlines, causing tensions between the nuclear powers. As more cases littered the tabloids, world leaders accused the other world leaders of having the secret weapon of all weapons.

Companies that make money off wars have created newer, faster, and more deadly weapons of mass destruction. Instructing the tabloids to continue the fear-mongering raised the stock prices of those companies.

The news of various events led people to believe that Jesus was coming back, causing them to flock to the newsstands and purchase newspapers like never before.

Every country wanted to acquire the latest hypersonic super-duper weapon, just as it craved the newest smartphone.

In anticipation of the release of the latest and greatest Grandmother of All Bombs, they organized a fire sale with discounted prices on last year’s models. TV advertisements glorified the latest weapons, featuring women in provocative clothing to entice those seeking greater destructive power.

The newest weapons, sourced from different manufacturers, had been purchased by each country, showcasing their commitment to military advancement. They proudly bragged about their possessions’ size, superiority, and deadliness, each trying to outdo the others for respect. Their egos were on the line, and they knew it.

While their country’s citizens suffered from malnourishment, the Xylars observed the wasteful allocation of resources toward developing more efficient methods of warfare.

Almost unnoticed, writers, livestock, and endangered animals were taken captive during the buildup to the perfect doomsday scenario.

At the same time, deadly viruses created by mankind ravaged the very foundations of society. There was nothing kind about them, nor was it man’s shining moment on the hill. Evil was casting its shadow on the land, not unlike the shadow from the moon on Earth.

Tension peaked when the most immature world leader questioned the purpose of having such costly new weapons if they were only going to gather dust. Ignored by the other nuclear powers, his desperate need to affirm his god-like status overshadowed his grip on reality.

In an attempt to compensate for his lack of bedroom skills, he constantly sought opportunities to showcase his masculinity by brandishing larger weapons, revealing the raw reality to the world.

Like a dog marking its territory, a foolish dictator seeking attention invading his neighbors and killing tens of thousands set him front and center on the world stage.

Not to be outdone, more minor, more sinister actors killed hundreds in tortuous ways to call attention to their foolish grievances.

“Look at me!” they cried, voices drowned out by the thunderous roar of missiles launching from their bases.

Little did they know, the rockets launched unknowingly fueled the profits of weapons manufacturers, pushing global tensions dangerously closer to Armageddon.

Politicians bribed by those who make the weapons profited by taking sides, convincing the people to send billions of dollars in weapons to fend off the invaders who also spent billions to counter the influx of technology provided by the elite gods of DC. With politicians as the middlemen, it was no wonder they would never write a law limiting their time in office.

Citizens of each country became free-range humans on government tax farms.

Since they were oblivious to their history, they foolishly raised flags for those countries or causes they believed in.

Propaganda heralded by the bought and paid-for media spread lies written by those with the gold. Almost always, emotional triggers kept people distracted as the magicians pulled evil rabbits from their hats.

Actors with zero honor were rewarded handsomely for knowingly preaching falshoods to keep the people distracted. Herding the masses through lies became a worldwide phenomenon.

Those who felt the worst pain were told the reason for their pain was caused by those who knew the history and were actively attempting to right the ship. The morally upright of the planet were suddenly the enemy and on the radar of the Xylars.

The battle between light and darkness juxtaposed the story of the Prince of Darkness and God.

The Xylars could feel the weight of time slipping away, leaving the humans at a disadvantage. Satan was winning.

When the devil comet returned near Earth from behind the sun, more people mysteriously vanished without a trace. Prompt acknowledgment awaited whoever engaged with the Xylars’ emissary in response to his thought-provoking short story.

Unlike any other piece of writing, the short story enthralled its readers as they uncovered its prophetic meaning.

The guests of the Xylars willingly set off on a celestial voyage, exploring the wonders of the universe and venturing into the unknown.

Meanwhile, the rest carelessly conspired their demise, falling prey to the tabloids’ deceit and surrendering their time to the social media puppeteers. Their actions were fueled by a dangerous combination of hate and ignorance.

As a subtle indication of the Xylars’ involvement, they left a fragrant flower behind, replacing the tagging device. No matter how hard they tried, neither the FBI nor Scotland Yard could unravel why a solitary petunia had replaced a human.

The Xylars came from a place rich with fragrant vegetation. They visited humanity in the sixties after witnessing the bright flashes from WWII, setting off a wave of hippies and flower power; they hoped that was enough. It wasn't.

Today’s visit was to rescue the few who could embrace love, not war.

Clyde was aware. He also knew the Xylars’ guest would have their own story based on lived experiences instead of retelling someone else’s story.

As the last day the Earth would be habitable approached, Clyde brewed his coffee. He stepped outside to savor the melodic symphony of birdsong accompanying the sun’s ascent from the murky depths of the horizon. Clyde marveled at the vibrant green grass, towering trees, and a gentle breeze rustling through the leaves. He knew this memory would need to last him as those global elite with their fingers on the big red buttons were entering a pissing contest that would have zero winners.

While the weapon manufacturers counted their profits, they would perish in blinding white flashes, vaporized by the very weapons that they sold to foolish children while adding zeros to their net worth.

Clyde’s previous communication through his ham radio would be the final signal to leave the Earth, which was meant for peace.

He knew petunias decorated the world’s landscape in the exact places where writers had once been. The Xylars left them as a message to the humans, and nobody but Clyde figured it out.

He was delighted to see a new cluster of petunias right before him.

The boiling point was reached when a moronic dictator bragged to his people that the lone survivors would be the first to push the button. Then, much like Jim Jones, he drank the purple Kool-Aid by pushing his red button.

In a final act of disdain towards humanity, the other nations retaliated, bringing an abrupt conclusion to the foolish race. Just minutes remained until the first of many super duper highly radioactive mega-powerful detonations, reminiscent of the Heaven’s Gate cult, would trigger a catastrophic event, rendering Venus more habitable than the Earth.

As missiles from all over the globe launched in perfect synchronicity, Clyde heard that familiar humming sound as the colors of his home world faded.

Images of his fellow writers and those from around the globe came into focus as a small sun from beneath them took its place in the heavens.

While sad that mankind was so stupid, he was glad to see faces he recognized.

“Man, do we have a story to tell you!” They said.

Clyde had his own story to relate to the writers who had already seen parts of the solar system mankind had only dreamt about. His tale was the mother of all stories.

The conclusion of humanity seemed insignificant compared to the preceding chapter, where an immense amount of foolishness erased centuries of progress and the lives of billions who had overcome many challenges.

A society led by egotistical fools would inevitably experience a rapid and devastating collapse. History, which mankind had erased, contained examples meant as lessons for those that followed.

The Romans lived it, their legacy fading amidst rewritten or ignored historical records. If technology hadn’t made history so interchangeable, humans could have increased their chances by immersing themselves in the library, where the books penned by historians lay untouched like ancient relics.

The end of the world was not caused by climate change, the use of fossil fuels, or even flatulent cows but by the hubris of the intellectually deficient, focused on power and greed.

Mental illness in the form of extreme narcissism would be the final straw that killed the camel.

Touring the galaxies allowed the writers to witness much in what seemed like years while the Earth transformed into a new planet.

The matrix of time and space was part of the writers’ toolbox as they clearly understood that time was relative and not linear.

The beings they encountered came from various races, but what struck them the most was the shared absence of power and greed.

With this opportunity, the remaining intellectual giants from humanity could begin a fresh, uncharted chapter.

While exploring the galaxies, billions of years passed on Earth.

Approaching the pale blue dot from the solar system’s edge, those who left it years before didn’t recognize any land mass.

Clyde searched for the right words as the blue dot grew more prominent in the viewscreen.

While opposed to rephrasing the work of those who came before him, Clyde sat down with his pencil and paper. To summarize, the first chapter went something like this.

Chapter One sets the tone for the entire book, portraying a time of intense contrasts, where moments of pure happiness are intertwined with moments of profound sadness. The narrative plays out in two worlds, blurring the line between fact and fiction. It is a time of extremes, where the highest highs collide with the lowest lows.

April 09, 2024 05:25

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Darvico Ulmeli
13:13 Apr 15, 2024

From all the scenarios in which humankind is doomed, your story made me shiver. Don't know if that is good or bad but I liked it. Nice work.


Scott Taylor
18:38 Apr 15, 2024

If you watch the news, it's not a far stretch. We need to get the children away from the nukes and get some adults back in the room.


Darvico Ulmeli
19:51 Apr 15, 2024

That's sad and That's true. Sadly.


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Helen A Smith
10:51 Apr 14, 2024

Hi Scott, This is a powerful portrayal with many relevant ideas. Elements of the biblical rapture where Christians are taken off away from the worst of earthly troubles exist, albeit in a different form. It also highlighted (for me) the fears of writers and other creative people as things escalate to a level beyond anyone’s control or imaginings (except perhaps for the most powerful elite). It’s an uncertain world with monumental changes afoot, the like of which we’ve never seen before. People seek reassurance. The writers are watched over...


Scott Taylor
20:35 Apr 14, 2024

Thank You Helen. I direct a league of writers here in Texas. I did bring them out to where I live in the country where we had the maximum amount of time of totality. The weather worked out in our favor. The challenge for them is to create a story with the eclipse as part of the plot. Mine was going to be a murder mystery where someone was killed during the 4 minutes and 20 seconds. I think King already did something like that, so I had to one-up him. LOL Thanks for reading and commenting.


Helen A Smith
20:40 Apr 14, 2024

That sounds most interesting. I’d loved to have come along, but I live miles away in the Uk. Only a little sun here, lately mostly rain.


Scott Taylor
20:46 Apr 14, 2024

Whereabouts? I recently did my genealogy through the DNA part and months of research. I learned that Winston Churchill is not that distant of a cousin, and I was shocked to learn that though a little more distant, I am related to the Queen. How is that for fodder for a story? :) I am planning a trip to the UK to visit the lake district among other things. -Best


Helen A Smith
20:54 Apr 14, 2024

Wow! DNA is fascinating! That is certainly fodder for a story. I live in Cambridgeshire. The Lake District is lovely - although maybe visit the less well known lakes because Windermere is full on tourism. I also recommend trips to the county of Cornwall if you love the sea.


Scott Taylor
21:16 Apr 14, 2024

I do love the sea.. Have a blessed day!


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Trudy Jas
19:10 Apr 11, 2024

You are such an optimistic person. Really, don't you ever see the negative side of human(non)kind? Though probable, I hope your prophesy is false. So, will you expand this into a novel? Heck, each paragraph is/could be a chapter. It's always a fantastic journey to read your stories. :-)


Scott Taylor
03:49 Apr 12, 2024

Thank you, Trudy; I love what I do and I hope that comes through in each paragraph.


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Kristi Gott
06:25 Apr 10, 2024

I enjoyed this science fiction and social/political commentary very much. It could be a fascinating book, with so many concepts and journeys to weave together. This is great!


Scott Taylor
17:59 Apr 10, 2024

Thanks, Kristi! That means a lot!


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