So, there I was, sitting atop the cliffs overlooking the ocean, feeling the breeze as it ran through my hair, listening to the whispers of laughter and joy dancing in the wind, and reminiscing over the coming of the third millennium. Things were alright in the world. Next week, the second Mars colony will finish transport and the planet’s population will have neared 1 billion! Such astounding numbers! Our first steps into the great expanse of the Universe – and the closer we get – the more excited we are about what we’ll find.
Then – ‘it’ happened.
I don’t know how and I don’t know when; heck, I don’t even remember if there was enough warning to our deep space telemetry monitors to let us know. After all, the speed of light is faster than any communications we have. Of course, what good would it have done to know? What could we have done about it? I don’t think that anyone could have ever imagined such a terrible twist of fate – nor could I contemplate why any of this was happening now? Why, of all times for the course of evolution to be dealt such a devastating blow right after having worked so hard and come so far in such a short period, I will never know?
But – as I said – it won’t matter.
There will be no one left to read our stories; hear our words; witness our triumphs and defeats; or remember us. There is no one out there for us to talk to, share knowledge and science with, or fill our hearts and minds. At one moment of sheer and utter peace, sitting atop the cliffs and hearing the oceans crashing onto the rocks below, I had even wondered if there were any other intelligent beings, somewhere out there in the universe, doing the same, exact thing?
Now I wish – now I wish I had never asked.
As I looked up to the sky, one by one, the twinkling lights that represented billions of stars, planets, galaxies, solar systems, and life forms of every type – vanished. Within seconds – the entire universe, except for our own, pitiful existence – disappeared.
What had happened? Many scientists speculated the Earth had been pulled into some sort of an alternate universe or that a black hole had collapsed and our entire galaxy had been pushed off further from the rest of the universe. But I didn’t give in to such pathetic ideas. I wasn’t so naive as to attempt to explain away what was painfully clear to me now.
This was it. There was no one left. The only real truth I understood was the real reason that we had to look back in time when we gazed up at the stars. For the billions of light years of travel, we foolishly believed that the light would always be there – still traveling toward us, still making us believe it’s real. No one wanted to think that it could ever end; that it, would ever end.
But ended, it did.
Time had run out. Many of the galaxies and clusters we had seen in space were the same ones we had previously seen – that’s why it appeared to us that there were so many black holes and so many other galaxies. If we could have only identified their similarities – if we had looked outside the box – we would have seen it. They were all identical. How stupid, right? They had all been shining in our direction for over a billion years – and now – the light would vanish.
The worst part was realizing what that meant – the Universe – had someone reached its end.
We were alone. We were the last. Out at the butt-end of the universe, furthest from anywhere else – we were all that was left – and had been left – for over a few million years. There was nowhere left to go – nowhere left to explore. All life had been extinguished.
What I didn’t know – was how close our time had come, too.
I had always believed my ancestors to be arrogant and ungrateful. Their conceit had lead them to believe that the Earth was of vital importance to the great creator and that His only son had come down to die for us. I wasn’t upset at them for accepting this lie – after all – it gave them importance and purpose to continue living on. But, if I could talk to them now – how I would apologize. They weren’t conceited, or arrogant, or confused, or anything else! We WERE important – but not for the reasons we had thought.
We were important – because we were the last ones left.
Sitting on this cold ground, hearing the ocean waves break against the surface, I’m reminded of a simpler time in my youth. The gentle, ocean breeze on my face tickles my nose, forcing me to smile. I am breathing deeply, trying to hold back my tears as they stroll down my face, burning my cheeks. I would look up – but I can already see it – out there – on the ocean’s surface. There’s only one thing being reflected – a bright, whitish-blue light. It’s growing steadily larger. It took until the third millennium of peace for it to make its way across the universe and finally to us – but, nevertheless, it had come.
I clenched my fists tightly, feeling the soft, cool grass between my fingers. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back and imagined a day when the night sky was full of stars – billions of brightly shining lights spread throughout the universe.
How I would really miss those sta……..