Astronomical enthusiast, Walter Higgins, stood with his son, Jason, on the back deck of their Southern California home one evening peering through his Celestron Power Seeker Telescope. The sound of the waves crashing against the pier had a calming affect on Walter. During the day, the beach was crowded with thousands of people, but at night, it was peaceful. That was the time that he and his family sat outside taking in the cool air and stared at the billions of stars that lit up the night sky.
On one particular night, Jason asked his father a puzzling question…
“Daddy does the moon grow each day like people do?” his son asked.
“No son, the moon stays the same size. Why do you ask?”
“Because the moon looks bigger than it did yesterday,” Jason stated assuredly.
Assuming that his son was confused by the zoom feature on the telescope, he simply shrugged it off.
The following day, however, Jason insisted that the moon was growing. This time, Walter peered through the telescope and did some calculations in his notepad before he realized something was horribly wrong. He immediately took out his phone and contacted NASA. Less than an hour later, they returned his call and confirmed his findings. It appeared that the moon had moved closer to the Earth’s atmosphere.
By the next day, Walter noticed the moon had moved closer yet again. It was now causing changes on Earth as well. The tides had grown larger and more frequent. The skies were filled with birds who could sense a coming danger.
Walter decided to rent a hotel further inland, so he booked a room for him and his family at the Best Western Plus in Lincoln, Nebraska and they left that evening. There wasn’t much to do in Lincoln outside of a few museums and parks, but if his instincts were correct, they did not want to be anywhere near the coast.
The following morning, they checked into their hotel and as they unpacked, Walter turned on the news. The anchorman spoke of violent storms popping up suddenly across North America. The meteorologist had no explanation for the widespread electrical storms, tornadoes, and large waves across the coastal regions. Walter’s wife peered out the hotel window and grasped tightly to her husband’s hand. Following her gaze, he looked to the sky. The sun was completely blocked out by the enormous black clouds that now hovered angrily over the city.
The first crack of thunder made Jason jump. It sounded as if a wrecking ball had crashed through the wall of their room. Multiple streaks of lightning lit up the sky as they danced around in every direction. Soon after, large droplets of rain began to fall from the clouds, splattering forcefully against the window. Walter closed the curtains and searched for something on the television for them to watch. He found the classic Disney movie, Mary Poppins playing on one of the stations and turned up the volume to drown out some of the noise from the storm.
They all had difficulty sleeping that night, so they spent most of the night reading stories and watching television. Walter gazed out through the curtains at one point and noticed that many trees had blown over, the streets were flooding, and the rain had now changed to hail around the size of a grape.
The reporter on the news was on location at Mt. St. Helens in Washington State where the volcano had begun to erupt. He said that there were reports across the globe of other volcanoes erupting as well. Video of demonstrations around the world showed large gatherings of people from all religious backgrounds praying to their gods for forgiveness during what appeared to be the end of days.
Coastal areas had been told to evacuate inland due to an increase in tidal waves reaching up to five-hundred feet in height. Many of the cities along the coast where Walter and his family lived were now flooded.
Walter thought that he should try to get to a grocery store before they closed because of the weather, so he bundled up and ran out to his car. The hail had done substantial damage to the windshield and left several large divots along the hood, roof, and trunk, but at least the engine started.
When he arrived at the Super Saver, the parking lot was full of cars parked haphazardly. People were running from the store to their vehicles with shopping carts filled to the top. After parking, he hurried to the entrance and spotted the words, “END OF THE WORLD SALE” spray painted in large letters across the front windows. The letter, “O” was missing from the word, “OF” because the window had been broken through.
Inside, the store was in complete havoc. No employees were present anywhere, so people just ran up-and-down the aisles loading up whatever they could carry. The meat department was completely emptied out, as were the toilet paper, paper towel, and cereal. Walter went to the canned goods knowing that they would outlast most everything else. There wasn’t much left to choose from, but he gathered up all that he could and headed to the juice aisle where he loaded up on apple juice. He then scooped up a dozen jars of peanut butter and the few bags of bread that remained on the shelf. As he was heading toward the exit, he grabbed a first aid kit, some matches, candles, and some rubbing alcohol.
As he exited the store, he looked to the sky and saw another storm approaching, so he threw the groceries loosely into his trunk and raced back to the hotel. When he got back, he asked his wife and son to grab boxes, bags, or anything they could carry groceries in and follow him to the car. His wife emptied the suitcase onto the bed and brought it along.
Just as they loaded the last item into the containers, a bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, splitting it in half. They rushed back inside to the safety of their hotel room and unloaded the supplies while Walter told them about his adventure at the grocery store.
On day five since Jason discovered that the moon was “growing,” the weather conditions had become devastating. Tsunamis emptied the oceans of water with waves reaching up to 30,000 feet that crashed down upon all the coastal States and Provinces worldwide. The deserts of the world were now underwater, as was two-thirds of the population.
Sea creatures known to be bottom dwellers in the deepest depths of the ocean were being found on the streets of cities two hours from the coast. Earthquakes were also being reported worldwide, some with crevices large enough to swallow up entire towns.
Many television and radio stations had gone off the air so the employees could be with their loved ones in what appeared to be their final days. A local reporter from KLKN in Lincoln, decided to stay on the air. He had a report from NASA explaining that the moon was on a direct collision course with the Earth, and as it drew closer, the Earth had been spinning quicker along its axis, causing temperatures to drop drastically. Many countries had already been affected by a deep freeze. It was expected to begin in North America within the next twenty-four hours as well.
Walter had already noticed a drop in temperature as frost began to appear on the windowpanes. He asked his wife to sort out all the clothes because they would soon need to start dressing in extra layers. Later that evening, the temperature had dropped to well below freezing. The window was completely iced over, and the heater in the room had stopped working when the electricity failed. They each dressed in every piece of clothing they had packed and huddled together for warmth.
It was difficult to tell how many hours had passed, or if it was a new day. All they knew, was that they had to make the best of what time they had left, so Walter’s wife grabbed one of the story books and read aloud by candlelight. It was “The Sword in the Stone,” a story by T.H. White, about King Arthur. It was Jason’s favorite story, and Walter could see Jason envisioning every scene as the story progressed.
As they neared the end of the story, the room began to shake violently. Walter figured that it was an earthquake and ordered everyone to take shelter under the door frame. The rumbling continued for several minutes until the roof above them began to collapse. The end had come.