On June 21, 2069, the power went out all over the world. It stayed off for exactly 24 hours and when it came back on, all the electronic devices on the planet were controlled by a man who called himself ‘The True One’.
He berated people across the globe for their wicked ways and said we were being offered a final chance to repent. If we chose to ignore it, the world would end. “I will give you one month to ponder your fate. There will be no electricity during this time as penance for your sins!” he cried.
Despite global efforts, the electricity couldn’t be restored. It stayed off everywhere until ‘The True One’ reappeared on July 21st. “You don’t believe,” he sighed. “And so, it begins.”
“At the dawn of each new year for the next decade, the creator will take away something humanity takes for granted,” he declared. “Take my ability to control the world’s power supply as a sign I speak the truth! This is your last chance. The fate of humanity rests in your hands. Repent while you still can!”
“I will not use vague words that can be interpreted in many ways as did the prophets of old!” he asserted. “If the last one comes to pass, life on this planet will cease to exist!”
He really didn’t leave us wondering what would be taken away. He provided the following list of predictions during his speech:
2070 – Hair
2071 – Music
2072 – Speech
2073 – Writing
2074 – Transportation
2075 – Clothing
2076 – Medicine
2077 – Money
2078 – Shelter
2079 – Water
No one really believed it. Most people thought he was a brilliant hacker who had managed to take going viral to the next level, despite the lack of an explanation for his ability to control electricity around the world.
Speculation abounded and both doomsday fanatics and nay-sayers popped out of the woodwork to grab their fifteen minutes of fame, but no one could find ‘The True One’. There were no interviews with him, he didn’t post anything on social media, and no trace of him could be found online. After the doomsday speech, he simply disappeared.
On January 1, 2070 everyone in the world lost their hair. Not just the hair on our heads; all human body hair vanished. Every eyelash, eyebrow, mustache, beard, ear, arm, leg, pubic, and nose hair was gone. All wigs disappeared too. If someone tried to make one, it simply turned to dust when they finished it.
The shock wave across the planet was immediate.
Scientists hypothesized a chemical agent or pathogen had been released in the air or water. Religious leaders debated whether it really was divine intervention and jumped at the chance to convert people. News outlets across the globe tried to find ‘The True One’ to no avail.
Within months, existing hat companies doubled in size and new ones popped up in every country. Berets, turbans and kepis were all the rage. Cowboy hat, ushanka, fedora and fez sales sky-rocketed and head tattoos became a worldwide phenomenon.
Hair care and shaving product companies went out of business in droves as hair salons quickly became a thing of the past. Scalp care products sprang up left and right. A wide variety of essential oils, moisturizers, specialty sunblock and cosmetic scalp products began to fill store shelves. Certain religions had to address hair-related beliefs.
Beauty paradigms shifted; bald really is considered beautiful now.
By the following New Year’s Eve, people across the globe waited anxiously to see if the next prediction would come true.
On New Year’s Day 2071, music disappeared.
Musical instruments would make no sound at all and people could no longer sing, hum, or whistle.
All albums, CDs and downloaded music files were inaudible. There were no songs playing on any music app or radio station. There was no more background music in elevators. If you watched any movie, television show or commercial, there was absolutely no music.
Bands, along with ballet, opera, symphony, and musical theater companies, disappeared almost immediately. There were no more concerts. No more choirs in churches. Every music app, radio station, and record company on Earth went belly up. Musicians, dancers, singers, instrument makers, and music teachers had to find new careers. Cities like Nashville, Tennessee became ghost towns as the entire music industry imploded.
Other things were impacted too. Church bells, phones and doorbells stopped ringing. Every car horn, timer, and alarm on the planet quit working. And maybe worst of all, birds everywhere were silenced.
The following New Year’s Eve, the whole world held its breath. It couldn’t possibly happen again. Could it?
The next day speech ceased to exist.
Humans could no longer make any sound at all. It wasn’t just that we couldn’t speak. No sound accompanied a laugh, sneeze or cough. The only upside may have been that snoring was vanquished.
The demand for sign language classes soared and written communication became of the utmost importance. At restaurants, banks, workplaces and in homes everywhere, people needed to write down what they wanted, what they were trying to explain or what they wanted to know.
All television programs and online videos required subtitles. The resurgence of magazines and newspapers was immediate.
There has been growing global hysteria as each new prediction comes true. I guess it’s only human that the nagging fear the world really will end in just a few short years never really goes away; I know it’s with me every day.
There are so many religions, companies, and individuals cashing in on the changes and so many others who’ve lost everything.
When you look at the rest of the list of predictions, it’s terrifying.
Honestly, I don’t know why I’m taking the time to write down what’s happened over the last few years. Maybe I just want to write and write and write because I can.
Today is December 31st, 2072 and tomorrow writing may very well disappear. All forms of the written word are likely to disappear forever.
We’ve already lost the ability to speak and if there is no writing, how will we be able to communicate?
I guess I just can’t imagine a world without books. No more Shakespeare, Kipling, Tolkien, Hemingway, Tolstoy, Frost, Angelou, King, Rowling and on and on and on; it would be a tragedy. The internet will only have pictures – no words. No more greeting cards, words of sympathy or love notes. No more texting or emailing. No school books or instruction manuals. No words on medicine bottles, menus, bills, or street signs.
These may well be the last words I’ll ever be able to write. In less than two minutes it will be midnight, ushering in New Year’s Day 2073.
Will ‘The True One’ reappear?
Will the world really end in 2079?
I truly hope someone will be able to read this tomorrow.