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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

The Day After the Rapture

Judith Clare is the pen name for writer/homeopath/environmental activist and chicken herder Judy Schriebman, a name troubled by misspellings and not reflective enough of her Irish Catholic heritage. To have her first story published here is a reward beyond measure.

Well, it didn't quite happen the way they thought it would. I mean, there were no bodies of the faithful wafting up to heaven in a golden light. No, it was much more subtle. Here and there, one by one, or sometimes in threes, the bodies were taken down, actually; to be laid into the ground; dead for no good reason. There was plenty of speculation about why this was so. But after a while we just mourned for a brief time and tried to soldier on.
Which was hard. It seemed to be true that only the good were dying, whether they were young or old. The liars, thieves, murderers, and soulless, dead eyed predators were thriving. Doing well. Living high. Bragging about their latest acquisition. The fourteenth home. The new yacht. The killing in the stock market, which kept rising while it seemed like the rest of the world was collapsing under our feet. Elephants, tigers, salamanders, and frogs all gone, just to name a few of those we had names for, versus all of those we had yet to meet, and that were now no longer with us.
Eventually, we all felt stupid for trying, those of us who were trying; trying to save something; trying to hang on for a better future. What was the point? I mean, really? Why not give in and go for it all like everyone else was doing? And some did. Joined the pillaging of the planet.
Most of us couldn't. Maybe the fault was in our DNA. Or in the stars, that we are underlings.
I had forgotten that a Day to the Eternal was probably more like a couple of centuries, or even a millennium. Those few of us who were left, who were still trying to fight for a better world, looked up to the skies openmouthed. As the others were all taken up, by the millions, like a parade of human balloons, and gently exploded.
It's not often you get front row seats to the Apocalypse. What we will inherit will be better.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Author Comments

This story was born in the year 2020, where the word "Apocalypse" was on everyone's lips from raging fires, disastrous floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and a planetary pandemic amidst increasing world tensions. Not to mention Climate Change. The story came in a summer flash, as both a cautionary warning, more than a touch of wishful thinking and a hope for a new beginning in 2021. I believe we are now having that, but not quite in the way envisioned here.

- Judith Clare
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