It was a Saturday evening. The roads were full of busy people. Vendors crowded the streets, trying to sell and buy merchandise. There were places to be and things to do. It took a while for people to notice the change. Clocks everywhere began acting up. Anything displaying time had suddenly changed. Whether it be a watch or a smartphone, the numbers inexplicably warped themselves without human intervention. Even technology that had been previously shut down or disconnected turned itself on and followed the new trend. They all turned to the number 12, and then eleven days, twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds.
The time remaining ticked down second by second. Some sort of countdown had started. It didn’t take long for people to realize that what was happening wasn’t a simple problem with their own watches or phones. Other people had it. People started to take notice and awaited an answer. It was soon realized by everybody that the television and radios were affected as well. The screens also displayed the time, and the radios blared static.
In a world that ran on technology, these events unnerved many people, even if what was happening didn't appear to be harmful. While many were disturbed by the display in front of them, they put it off as a minor inconvenience. After all, the problem probably wouldn't last long and wouldn't hurt them too badly. It was just a strange occurrence that would soon be addressed. As people tried to carry on with their day, things began to get worse.
Electricity and machinery began shutting down. Cars and motorcycles stopped working without cause. There was a cutoff of communication. The news ceased to exist. Newspapers could no longer be delivered. Questions quickly arose as to what was happening. Theories spread like wildfire, suggesting many things. Some were concerned a massive hack was responsible. Others had assumed this was a prank or some sort of publicity stunt. There was even word of aliens tampering with Earth. Nobody knew what to believe. Just a day in and people began panicking. The night was plunged into total darkness. Not a single light lit any neighborhood street or home. Come early morning the timer still counted down. Nothing had changed from the previous day. The sense of fear and isolation had grown substantially. Could this be something more?
Those who wanted answers marched the streets. Some piled into churches, searching for a more religious reason. With the breakdown of machinery came obvious problems. The refrigerators and freezers had stopped working. Water systems failed and ovens and microwaves could no longer be used. And although everyone was concerned, people began to turn against one another. Tension rose as more and more people became frightened. Nobody knew what the countdown was for, and what would happen if it hit zero. Crime rose everywhere and the police could do little to stop it. Without cars or communication, the cops were limited in recourses, and they cared more about their family than upholding the law. They were all concerned with the timer. What consequences would there be when it ran out of time?
It was when they realized nobody was coming to save them that all hell broke loose. Shops were torn apart and looted. Those deprived of their needs the most assaulted others and stole whatever they could. In the short span of two days people had already begun to act like animals. The streets were no longer safe. It was no longer safe to travel anymore. The nights became even worse than before. Screams echoed through neighborhoods. Homes were broken into and cars were busted open. What was happening was inhuman. Places that had once been safe were now home to acts of violence and crime. Those who were once good men and women of society had become so focused on survival that in a few days of deprivation they had changed completely. The clock continued its steady pace toward zero. The time remaining dwindled closer and closer towards an unknown fate. Every second that passed was a second closer to something, but that was all anybody knew. Stores and churches previously full of hopeful people were vandalized and empty. Those lucky enough to live close to their loved ones stayed with them.
As time progressed gangs ran the streets. Men brutally murdered each other. They thought the world was ending. It seemed almost everybody believed this to be true. Self-proclaimed messiahs preached the end of days. Some wanted to be saved by the grace of a god. The world at this point had become post-apocalyptic. There was no maintenance at all. Bodies lay covering sidewalks. Some starved to death or died of dehydration. The odor that came with it was unbearable. Many took their own lives to escape what might happen soon. Law enforcement was now gone. Nobody cared to be sneaky about committing crimes. Cries for help became common. People were no longer people. Humans became ruthless animals concerned only with their own well-being. People shouted for help and mercy. Neighbors turned on each other when they could no longer support themselves with what they had.
The screams begging for help became louder and louder. They were desperate shrieks of those clinging to what they had left. Their loved ones were malnourished. The common necessities of everyday life, taken for granted, became scarce. People were weak, dying. Their eyes and souls became weaker as hope escaped them. A hope that once sparked us with life and faith drained until none remained. Many people grew sick. Mothers screamed for their children. They screamed for someone to help their kids. No one came. No one saved them. Some people even abandoned those who they loved.
The final day arrived. The silence was almost as terrible as the cries that used to frequently fill the air. The dead became the decayed. The clock counted down the hours. Those still alive prepared for the worst. No-one dared to do anything at all but watch the clock. The streets were empty of any signs of life. The screams stopped. The earth was void of noise. No more groans of pain and suffering; the only remaining feeling was that of dread. A huge shadow of sadness loomed over the earth with an unknown threat awaiting. All the time of waiting and fear would come to an end soon.
The last hour had started. The countdown was nearly over. The world had lost its mind because of a timer. Everybody sat, watching the clock. What would happen at the end? Would the damnation of the evil start? The hearts of those waiting sunk as the endless theories of terrible fates were all that they could think about.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Minutes that seemed to go by too quickly.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Those who were afraid of what lay ahead had destroyed themselves out of terror. Hope was lost. The world was hellish and animalistic. A shell of what was. There was nothing. And all for what? Why?
Nobody knew why.
Written by Icydice