There was no big bang, no large flash, no apocalyptic choir of angels and demons battling for our souls. One minute the World was there and then

Ping

it was gone.

The end of the World took a lot of people by surprise, especially those who had been preparing for it their entire lives. They hadn’t seen it coming and were exceedingly disappointed they missed it. None of the cults, religions, spiritualists and other assorted miscellaneous nut-jobs predicted it and were bitterly annoyed with themselves.

There was one man called Alf who had a vision so vivid of what was about to happen he had to do something it. Alf had woken up one morning with not only a complete and clear image of how the World was going to end, but who was involved, where they worked and their love of novelty garden gnomes. He stalked them for a week in a frantic attempt to prevent the inevitable and issue a dire warning to what was about to happen. Unfortunately, despite many fervent attempts to do something about it, no one paid any attention to him. Sadly he had no real family or friends and everyone avoided him because he looked ‘funny’.

Ah well.

Wheels stopped turning, rivers stopped flowing, hairdressers and tanning salons ceased to be. The sets and casts of reality TV shows vanished in a puff of dramatic smoke whilst engaged in yet another pointless task designed to create contrition. Loud sports cars disappeared up their owners egos. Boy were they missed.

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The person who caused the end of the World spent their last days making a bucket load of cash on chat shows telling the everyone about how they felt to have cause the end of the World. Global audiences took great interest in knowing what brand of shoes they wore and what hair products they used. These are important things to know about your destroyer. In their remaining minutes it all seemed like a waste of time, but hindsight is a wonderful thing when there’s none of it left.

During calmer moments of reflection they remembered the strange bedraggled figure who kept shouting at them from the security gates at work about something-or-other. If they hadn’t had been so distracted ignoring them, maybe the world would never have ended.

Mull on that paradox.

Most of the rest of the World was surprisingly calm about the situation. Or more that, despite lifetimes of Hollywood movies preparing us for the end of the World, when confronted with the cold harsh reality of the situation, no one really knew how to cope with it and simply carried on as normal. Despite all the talk of ‘making the most of the time we have left’ everyone suddenly realised that confronted with complete and utter freedom to do what they liked and get away with it, they didn’t really know what to do. The trains kept running, radio and TV wasn’t static, Accountants accounted, Teachers taught and Lawyers did whatever it is they do.

There was an enormous sense of calm across the World. Conflicts stopped, differences were cast aside and problems were solved. In a way it was a shame that it took the end of the World for people to start being so nice to each other.

Ah well.

The preppers at least had the good sense to make practical preparations for the inevitable apocalypse they had seen coming for decades. Their bunkers were stockpiled full of tinned peaches, tuna and vegetables that they thought would see them through any catastrophic situation.

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All of them gone in a moment.

The devotees of Family Radio, smarting after wrongly predicting the end of the World twice before were reluctant to commit to the new date, despite the overwhelming evidence. Instead they opted to predict ‘The Beginning of the World’. Many pointed out that this made no sense at all but to them it seemed like a great way to rebuild some of their status and standing and they promptly rolled out advertising on radio and billboards that no one paid any attention to.

Ah well.

Mayan apocalypse believers hastily assembled to look for evidence that they had previously miscalculated dates and to look for matches to this new one. This continued to no avail for 4 hours until someone pointed out what a waste of their last days it was and everyone decided to visit Tijuana for a damn good time.

Elvis, Lord Lucan and the real Jack the Ripper were preparing to ride into New York on the back of the Loch Ness monster to tell the world the secrets they had discovered in their prolonged absences. Sadly as they lumbered into Manhattan on route 78 past the statue of Liberty preparing their speeches and powerpoint presentations they saw the news and realised they had waited just that little bit too long.

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They were gone.

The few dozen joggers in Liberty State Park up at such an ungodly hour could not believe their eyes at this sight and were attempting to share the photos they had taken to a variety of Internet services. They struggled to understand why they couldn’t get a signal, turned their phones on-and-off again, held them in awkward positions and noticed that all their apps were also displaying ‘service not available’ notices,

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They were gone, and so were their photos, tweets and updates.

Jesus, who had been planning his second coming to return to Humanity and sue it for defamation of character was on the verge of his filing his legal case and mass marketing campaign. With 20 of the best Lawyers and Marketing gurus that promises of an eternal life could buy poised to swoop on the Human race and hit them with the double whammy that not only was their saviour back, but he was pissed off.

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They were all gone.

This was especially annoying to Jesus and his Father as they had just been on the phone together for the first time in centuries and neither of then had seen it coming either. God had been on one of their usual rants about no one telling them about anything anymore when Jesus recounted the news. God might have even taken their own name in vein.

Ah well.

But lets not dwell on what happened in the past and what has been.

What happened next?