Author : William Garnett

The day the universe stopped expanding was the same day all the traffic lights failed to turn. But it wasn’t just the traffic lights. Cars didn’t start. Dogs didn’t bark. Radios were silent. Microwaves paused. Automatic drive-thru teller machines didn’t take cards and didn’t dispense any money. Nothing moved. All was at a stand still, and no one noticed because no one could think or remember, or even forget. No one could point it out to anyone else.

Then the universe began to contract. But no one really noticed it, because with the contraction of the universe, everyone’s mind and perception also began to shrink, so that any forward thought process ceased to occur and so people regressed and slid back along the evolutionary scale and grew hair in places where there had been none. They tore down the cities and set them on fire. They tore down each other in ways they had read about but had thought they would never do again because they had evolved to a point where popping brains out of a neighbor’s head was something only beasts did. But they were beasts now and couldn’t think straight or forward anymore. Blood ran thick on the broken sidewalks–on all the failed and burned infrastructure.

Men fought each other over women and killed each other’s young to ensure the advancement of their genes, which was ridiculous, because everything was regressing and going backwards so that the very idea of advancement itself was impossible, and the genes themselves would never survive. But they did it anyway. The blood lust that had never fully left the species reemerged to full strength as bodies were dismembered and emptied of their guts.

The universe continued to shrink, and as it shrank, all life regressed to globs of cells, and then just to cells, and then just to tiny strings of mindless amino acids. Eventually, everything was reduced to molecules, and then atoms, and then quarks, and strings, and then nothing.

The nothing regarded itself and found it paradoxical that it could do such a thing, and as it regarded itself, it found itself lacking and then once again it attempted to make something out of itself.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows