Saturday, December 31, 2011

The First Day: A Story of 2012

I wrote the following short story after what I can only describe as a vivid dream state experience I had in 2002 (a significant part of my own spiritual awakening). You can tell this short story was written around 2002 due to the assumption there would be major terrorist attacks in the years that followed 2001, plus the lack of references to modern social networking tools.

This was at a time when my writing voice was only just beginning to re-emerge, after many years of slumber, but the dream state experience was so powerful, I felt the need to bring the fear and confusion that it surfaced to resolution through my writing. I also was acquainted with many skeptics at the time in the engineering/scientific community, something you can see reflected in the story.

I attempted to publish the story around 2006 (and that is the version given here), but I was a novice short story writer, and it was rejected. In fact, I recently came across one of the rejection letters from "Asimov Science Fiction Magazine". Even so, I did receive encouraging feedback from at least one editor (not at Asimov) on what really was my first attempt as an adult at any sort of fiction.

I thought it was oddly coincidental that the 2012 movie included a relationship between co-workers in India and the U.S., even though quite different in nature. The relationship in my own story was actually based on my supervising an engineer in India around the time frame when I wrote it.


The First Day
Copyright © 2002-2012, Susan Larison Danz. All Rights Reserved.

On the last day, I awakened to what seemed like a normal sunny morning. But it wasn't a normal day at all. It was the last day. The last day. Although we had known this day would come, the reality of the moment was almost impossible to comprehend. In fact, I was astonished I had slept at all.

On the news last night I'd heard millions were planning to revel until dawn. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow...” and so it went. I wasn't much into reveling, being a more contemplative and reserved individual myself. In fact, I was relieved things hadn't gotten too far out of hand. I had earlier entertained notions that society would break down in the streets below right before my eyes. But it seems that in the end, the human race was turning out to be more dignified than anyone would have dreamed.

And then of course the news had said millions more would be spending the evening in church, and no doubt the churches would see even the most recalcitrant of souls today. As for me, I had no plans to be among them. Despite a solid Catholic upbringing, I had abandoned that path long ago. We would collectively discover “all that is” or “all that isn't” soon enough, no church required.

For some masochistic reason, I decided to turn on the news once again. I had always been addicted to the news, not really sure why. After the first major terrorist attacks in 2001, I must have watched the news for days. And the sporadic attacks over the years since hadn't helped my addiction any. But the ultimate reality of 2012 had finally stopped even the terrorists in their tracks. No doubt they were reveling in their own way today, delighted that their God was going to do their work for them. Even the governments they loathed had failed in all attempts to circumvent what had now become our inevitable fate.

As I turned on the television, my curiosity was met with “This is the emergency broadcast network. Please stay in your homes...” It didn't look like there would be much news on today, which was quite a disappointment to me.

I walked out on my balcony and gazed up at the sky, but everything looked perfectly normal. On the other side of the world, I would suspect the sight was quite something to behold. But I would see it again soon enough, for a final few hours. After that, nobody really knew what was going to happen. Theories had been popping up like wildflowers, many of them not really new, just repackaged for a curious populace.

Perhaps the most fascinating theory suggested we were all about to be burned alive as a super-heated atmosphere rapidly incinerated the planet. Proponents of that theory pointed to a layer of ash in the worldwide fossil record dating back to about the time the dinosaurs disappeared.

An oceanic event was no longer predicted, but mesmerized by the various movies over the years depicting such a scenario, I actually had a secret fascination regarding the prospect of getting a final glimpse at a monolithic tidal wave breaking over the city.

And then of course there was the prospect that perhaps I feared the most, the notion that this really wasn't the last day, but just the first of a slow, horrific demise, somewhat similar to a nuclear winter. As amazingly stoic as society had proven to be to date, I knew it wouldn't be able to preserve itself in that eventuality. And of course plenty of newly converted survivalists were hunkered down, prepared for exactly that possibility. As if prolonging the agony was really a fate to be desired.

I turned on my computer in hopes that I might actually be able to get on-line. It was hooked up to my satellite phone, so I figured I had a chance at a connection. Sure enough, it looked like I still had internet access. I tried jumping to my favorite news sites, but as usual in these final days, they were basically inaccessible due to the millions of others with the same idea. I tried to check email, but not surprisingly, the server was down.

Communication was indeed a challenge these days. Phones based on land lines or cell towers were virtually unusable as well due to the heavy traffic. And not too many people had satellite phones, which I was fortunate enough to have as part of my work. Besides logging in, there really was no one I needed to call today. An only child, I had lost my parents years ago. And as for relationships and friends, it seems I was mostly a loner these days, except for a few acquaintances at work.

My closest friend had chosen an easier path some weeks ago, a fate shared by many in the past year. But as for me, I was curious enough to stick around for the final show. Hopefully, I would not live to regret that decision. Of course, nobody was going to live to regret much of anything much longer.

My reverie was broken by the sudden alarm of the computer. A co-worker in India wanted to chat with me via our work conference link, although nobody was working today. This would no doubt be interesting...


Naresh: Chris, what's happening there?

Chris: Nothing interesting to report. So far, it's like a normal day, which I must say is amazing! You would think there would have been absolute chaos in the streets, something like that old “Star Trek” festival episode, but nothing like that has materialized yet.

Naresh: You should have seen the sky out here a couple of hours ago. It reminded me of that scene in “Close Encounters” where the drunk man talks about the sun coming out at night.


Naresh and I loved chatting about sci fi trivia. Of course, it wasn't a UFO Naresh had seen. I chuckled about all the wildly hopeful theories people had entertained in recent months. One group was intent on the hope of being rescued by intervening saviors from an alien parental race. That's one outcome I too would have found fascinating, but not so surprisingly, intervening spaceships had yet to appear. Alien beings may well exist, but like my favorite old “Star Trek” series, perhaps they had rules about intervening with the primitives, even in the most extreme of circumstances.

Yet another alarm sounded on the computer. An old friend and co-worker in England wanted to join our conversation.


Lauren: I'm on to something. I just know it. It's key, key. How do I begin to explain it.

Chris: I sure hope you're not going to start with that broken record regarding the Mayan predictions because you know how I feel about that. Yes, 2012 was the end of their calendar, that's old news now.

Lauren: Chris, I'm telling you. Did you even read any of that stuff I gave you on the Mayans? You have it all wrong. It's not supposed to be the end, but the beginning.

Naresh: It sounds like a bunch of superstition to me. And I can tell you, I've had my fill of that out here. It's bad enough on a good day in India. You can only imagine what it's like tonight.

Lauren: Please listen to me, guys. It's really, really important, and I promise you, this has nothing to do with superstition or religion. This is key, key, but I'm not sure how to get you in on it.

Chris: In on what?

Lauren: Did you ever read anything by Richard Bach? Maybe that would give you a clue.

Chris: You know I don't like that metaphysical nonsense, trying to masquerade as science fiction.

Naresh: Well, it may not be traditional science fiction, but I kind of liked “Illusions” myself.

Chris: I read it a long time ago, but I could never figure out what people saw in it.

Lauren: Would you please just listen. This is absolutely key. And so very simple. All you need to do is believe.

Chris: Believe what?

Lauren: Just believe it's going to be ok, no matter how far-fetched that may seem. That's all. It's the key.

Chris: Right, and that's really going to help? Just how the hell do you expect anyone to “believe”, on today of all days?

Lauren: I knew this was probably a waste of time. It's actually a lot easier convincing my religious friends who already believe in prayer. But prayer isn't the only answer, it's the belief itself that's key.

Naresh: I understand what you're getting at Lauren, but it just seems a bit too late. Too much fear is on the loose now, and that makes it tough for people to believe anything.

Lauren: Well, my hope is that it won't take a lot of people. For all I know, maybe it will just take one, one person with a belief strong and pure enough to exercise mind over

Connection terminated.


So much for chatting with the outside world. I knew I was being somewhat intolerant of Lauren, but I simply wasn't in the mood for such a wildly optimistic approach to life, especially today. We had known each other for years, but we had never been quite on the same page. I hadn't really read the article on the Mayans she had given me; I'd seen enough of that in the news. But since there was nothing else better to do, I decided to take another look at it.


Mayan Misconceptions?

Much has been said about the ancient Mayan calendar ending in 2012 and their remarkable ability to predict astronomical events. But with the catastrophic approach of asteroid Nemesis, very little has been said about Mayan beliefs in precessional ages, according to renowned Mayan scholar Dr. David Sherwood.

According to Dr. Sherwood, "the Mayans did not believe 2012 was to be the final end to humanity. In fact, their true beliefs were incredibly hopeful. They believed the events of 2012 were to signal the coming of a new precessional age based on their astronomical calendar. In this new age, the Mayans expected a dramatic shift in the consciousness of the planet, as humanity became what they called 'beings of light'."

Dr. Sherwood and an ever-increasing group of followers believe there is no reason to despair as the asteroid approaches. They believe instead that humanity is on the verge of an evolutionary quantum leap, and the asteroid will somehow become immaterial to this reality.

"We don't know yet just how the Mayans envisioned the earth surviving an asteroid this massive. But we have hope that we'll find a way. We must remember that not only did the Mayans foresee the asteroid. They apparently saw much, much more for 2012. So we must find a way to trust that all of their predictions will indeed become true."


This was indeed a hopeful article, but now that the last day was upon us, the article itself seemed immaterial to the reality at hand. In some ways, I was happy that hope was still alive for Lauren even today. Although I had never understood Lauren, I would have wished nothing less.

I decided to wander out to my balcony again just to sit and try to relax for a while. Reflecting back on my own life seemed somewhat meaningless today, although of course there were things I wish I had pursued before the reality of 2012 became so painfully apparent. It seemed somewhat self-absorbing to be focusing only on my own life right now. Rather it seemed more appropriate to reflect on the whole of humanity and what dreams the human race itself would never live to realize. Perhaps some future race would spring up from the ashes and scrutinize the artifacts we would leave behind. Visions of the shattered Statue of Liberty in “Planet of the Apes” came to mind, although in the end it seems the human race was not the master of its own demise, as so many had expected would be our fate.

I closed my eyes and listened to what seemed to be the much quieter than usual noises of the city. It would be only hours now, yet the city remained amazingly calm. I wondered if this would change once we glimpsed the asteroid again on the horizon. As I allowed my mind to drift, I realized that I was actually feeling rather odd, even somewhat dizzy. Although contemplative, I was never one to truly meditate, yet this was beginning to feel somewhat like what I had heard others report of meditative experiences. How odd to be experiencing this on today of all days.

As I settled deeper into contemplation, I felt my awareness expand out over the city. I felt the fear so very palpable in so many hearts today. And surprisingly, I also sensed a glimmer of hope here and there. Perhaps Lauren wasn't the only one.

“Chris, Chris, can you hear me? Chris? We did it, Chris. It's going to be ok. Can you feel the change?”

I emerged from my reverie with a start. Surely I had now sunk into a state of hallucination since I thought it highly unlikely that I would suddenly be hearing Lauren's voice inside my head. Or else I was simply dreaming. I heard the alarm on the computer once again. It was Lauren.


Lauren: Did you get my message?

Chris: No, I've been off-line sitting on my balcony.

Lauren: No, silly, I mean my other message. I told you it's going to be ok, and I asked if you felt the change. Do you want me to send you another?


“Chris, the Mayans were right. They really were. Surely you can begin to see now.”

Sure enough, as unbelievable as it might seem, I really was hearing Lauren's voice in my head. Either this was a very complex delusion, or something truly remarkable was indeed happening here.


Lauren: How about that one? This is really so cool!!! Or do we go about it the old-fashioned way?


And what was even more remarkable is that somehow I understood where Lauren was coming from. I understood her optimism for the very first time. And although my own point of view remained for the most part intact, I could view the world from her perspective.

And what was more amazing still was that somehow in my heart, I just knew that the asteroid wasn't a threat anymore, as preposterous a notion as that might seem, I just knew...And I didn't even feel the need to turn on the news to confirm it, even more amazing still. Somehow I just knew...


Chris: What's going on, Lauren? I feel so very odd.

Lauren: It's the change, Chris, it's the change. It's the miracle so many people were hoping for, except it's so much more than that. So much more than even I expected.

Chris: What on earth happened?

Lauren: It was our hope and belief. We did it! We pushed the asteroid away, just enough, but we did it, I'm sure of it! Don't you feel it? I know not everyone believed, not by a long shot, and maybe it just took a few. I just can't believe it all happened so fast!

Chris: What I can't believe is that this is suddenly making sense to me. Somehow I'm still myself, but I understand you now. And I sure as hell never understood you before! ;-)

Lauren: That understanding is just the beginning, Chris. If you could only feel what I'm experiencing. I mean...what about the telepathy, Chris? Isn't that amazing? You'll be able to do it too soon, I'll wager. Well, I should go now. So many people to talk to!


After logging off, I sat in a daze for what seemed like hours. I really could feel a change. If I tried, I could begin to reach out to the city surrounding me. I felt the pain of poverty, of living with prejudice, of never being given a chance. This went beyond experiencing the fear of the asteroid, which was dissipating rapidly now as the reality of the miracle was sinking in. Never a metaphysical person by nature, yet I truly did begin to feel a remarkable oneness with the humanity surrounding me. And with that sense of oneness came an understanding that surpassed anything I had ever experienced. I was still an individual, no doubt about that, but now I was so much more than I ever realized I could be. And somehow I just knew this astonishing reality was now true for all of us.

I decided to try an experiment of my own. I settled my mind as much as I could, and I focused my attention on Naresh in India.

“Naresh, Naresh, can you hear me?”

Nothing. No response. I shifted my awareness slightly, almost like trying to change the frequency on a radio, not really knowing how I was doing this at all, and I centered all my focus on the person I knew as Naresh.

“Naresh, am I reaching you? It's Chris. Can you hear me?”

“Chris, I hear you! This is Naresh. Yes, you're getting through! So what do you think of this new reality, my friend? It's really taken hold quickly out here in India.”

“It's astonishing, Naresh, I must admit. It makes one wonder just what's in store for us tomorrow!”

“A new day, my friend, a new day! And a wondrous one at that...”

How could any of us have known when we woke up that morning? Or perhaps I should say that the key was that just enough people did know, just enough to make a difference. The Mayans had indeed been right, as had so many metaphysical and religious thinkers. Not to mention the quantum physicists and evolutionists, as they too had been right. It wasn't to be the last day at all. It was the first. The first day of a new age of humanity.

1 comment:

  1. There were actually multiple resolutions to the crisis I saw, like stepping through timelines in a dream state. One did indeed involve the return of an E.T. parental race to rescue us. Sometimes I think the real resolution would be a combination of several. For example, does an empowered species need to be completely rescued by another? Or simply assisted? ...