Chapter One - The End of the Old World
The steel and glass of the city was mainly below Makar when the first message came in.
He finished climbing the ladder he had grasped for some time now and after a moments rest, pulled out his smartphone from his pocket. A glow came from its screen as he pushed the power button. Seconds later, a message slid on the screen. It was from a contact of his, marked as Rooftop Girl. It asked a simple question. "You still coming tonight?"
Rooftop Girl. That was the only name he knew her as. Ever since they met randomly on a rooftop about a year ago, they had started to meet once every month or so, on a rooftop decided in advance, and speak until the break of dawn, when they would watch the sunrise together, in silence. Then they would part ways as the sun was rising on the ground, which would always happen a short while after they reached the ground. The giant scale of the buildings they climbed to meet always gave them a few minutes between the sunrise they could see at those heights and the one that occurred on ground level.
One of them would then poke the other at some point the next month, to inquire about the next meeting. He knew how it went very well and preferred it that way. To talk to her only once a month, not really knowing who she was in reality rather than to have her in his life or out of it. That way, they could both vent about stuff that could be damaging to their reputation without risking anything.
Unlocking his phone, he thumbed through the menus, preparing to reply to her when a second message came in. The second message was from a number he had never seen.
"If you could destroy this world and restart life on a new one, would you do it?"
That was the message sent from the strange number. Thumbing back to his other message, he sent a fuzzy message to the Rooftop Girl, stating he was already on his way. His mind was elsewhere. As he resumed his climb of the rooftop, jumping from one fan cage to the next, he nearly missed one of his jumps. Something was bothering him and he didn’t know what.
No, he knew what was wrong; he was thinking about the question he had just received.
A few minutes later and with some dozen of meters more under him to reach the ground, he finally settled on a ledge, legs hanging over the pitch black void of the drop below him. Climbing up here was quite the challenge on a new moon night. The light did not quick reach all the way up here, making for a very dark setting. And shining a light meant for most of the trip "Hey! I’m here, call the police on me!" So it had to be done on natural light and infrared light, which he could only see through the small screen of his phone’s camera, making it not very useful for long range vision.
His destination reached, he pulled his phone back from his pocket and thumbed back to the message from the stranger. After a few moments of hesitation, he typed "I would." After a moment of hesitation, he finally pressed the Send button on his screen. A few minutes later, his phone chimed again in his pocket, a message entering.
"10 minutes left. 54%"
Waiting for a message from his friend, Makar gazed at the city below him. What would happen if this world was replaced? Would anyone miss it? The few people going through the streets at such a late hour maybe would. They knew the joys of night life after all. But what about those living zombie’s lives? Sleeping at night, waking up in the morning, going to work until sunset, laying in front of a TV for the rest of the evening, then going back to bed. Would they even realize it if it really happened in so little time as 10 minutes? By the time he was up to that thought, his phone rang again.
"5 minutes left. 77%"
What was that percentage meaning? A ratio of some sort? Percentage of participation? Percentage of "Yes"? Makar was wondering when a light shone a few layers below from him. From his point of view, he could see the shape of a head, draped in long hair he knew to be brown, blocking part of the light emitted by the phone screen. As the light disappeared, a message entered his phone. As he got up and started moving toward that person, he checked his messages, knowing very well what the message was. "Meet me at the Spike."
Going down the final ladder to the level where he had seen her and where the Spike, a giant antenna that shot into the sky like a giant stalagmite, sat at the edge of the building, he though about the time that would have passed between the last update of the strange number. About 5 minutes must had passed, which meant he should receive a message soon.
As his foot found the ground, a tingle found it’s way to his neck, a strange feeling making its way through his whole body in a wave, as if hit by an imperceptible shock wave. A few seconds later, the wave he felt showed it’s visible signs. Far away, in the direction of his friend, the skyline lit up in an eerie blue light, a glowing globe of energy following shortly after. As it crept toward them, Makar joined her as she touched him for the first time since she wept in his arms five months ago, slipping her fingers in his, as the globe englobled everything in it’s passage. As the ball of plasma reached near them, his conscience slipped before contact, the energy overloading his senses.