“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
A young child, Wen, is playing outside a isolated cabin when a man approaches her. She is drawn to him with his friendly smile and his way of talking and yet after a bit of time she becomes afraid. Three other people bearing homemade weapons approach all dressed alike and Wen runs to the safety of her home with her two dads. The group demands entry relating a story that is both frightening and unnerving. Their tale is that the world is ending if certain conditions are not met. When the events turn grisly and things in the world seem to point to the happenings these people have predicted, the story takes a gruesome turn and people will die.
This is certainly not my normal read but I was taken with the book’s explanation and the story while terrifying, kept me interested as it came to its conclusion. Reflections of the Book of Revelations flashed through the story and the question of who would survive, who would be sacrificed, to save the world is the common thread. Is one life worth that of thousands of others? Are some lives more elite than others?
Thank you to Paul Trembly who offered me a look at his vision of the end of the world. It was dire and dreadful and yet alluring as the characters tried to comes to terms with what they were experiencing and seeing.
He is the author of the short story collection In the Mean Time. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous “year’s best” anthologies. He is the co-editor of four anthologies including Creatures: Thirty Years of Monster Stories (with John Langan). Paul is on the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, has a master’s degree in Mathematics, and has no uvula. You can find him online at http://www.paultremblay.net.