The white is creeping closer. During the night it crossed the highway and the Bickford place, suffocating everything it touched.
Even the steel barricades couldn’t hold it back. They say it’s climbing right over them, slowly reaching tendrils over the walls like ghostwhite ivy.
It’s only a matter of time before it’s on our land. At our doorstep.
The white death crawls over any obstacle in titanic waves. It scales walls and fences, reaching ever higher like part of the Earth itself.
No one knows if you can survive being swallowed. If anything can survive, or how long, if ever, we’ll have to wait to find out.
They say it’s just a cessation. You don’t really die; you’re just kind of shut down. Frozen in time like an Arctic fossil.
One day, when the white is gone, some people think you can be started up again like an old battery.
Either way it’s a nice thought. That they’re not all lost, that they can be brought back.
The creeping white paralyzes, it engulfs and smothers; some say it burns to the touch. Slowly, like some ocean bottom dweller it makes its way across the landscape. Man and his machines are powerless.
Workers are digging boundary trenches and filling them with hydrochloric acid but no one really thinks they’ll work. Already whole crews have been nearly swallowed, needing rescue. Giant trucks were left behind to burial, the men barely able to escape, and the white just went around the trench anyway.
The white does not stop. Its inexorable march leaves perfection in its wake. Unblemished landscapes devoid of form, their surfaces glisten and undulate. Absolutely nothing disturbs the serenity of its passing. Even the sky takes on a mirrored lightness, the very air shrouding fog.
For as far as the eye can see, green, blue and brown are almost gone; even the towering grey glass towers go black inside the highest floors before they’re engulfed. The white claims each structure level by level, flowing up stairwells and elevator shafts in endless expansion.
They tried water, fire, tnt, non nuclear weapons, electricity, microwave cannons… the only thing left were the nukes. Last night off the coast of Japan they bombed it with a nuclear warhead.
It didn’t stop it but it slowed it down. It seemed to have a paralyzing effect at and near the blast site, they said.
No one knows how the white started, only that it must be stopped. Its merciless and relentless expansion threatens the very Earth itself.
Each country is being asked to hit it with all of its nuclear arsenal simultaneously. We might throw the planet into nuclear winter but projections state the Earth will eventually come out of it and life will likely form again in a few billion or less years. If the white covers the planet it might never recover.
There are hundreds of millions doomed, either from the white, the nukes or the crush of people running for their lives.
If we’re lucky, if we’re really good and lucky, the nukes will kill it and the fallout will be bad but at least it won’t be a mass extinction event. Out of the millions worldwide that might survive, assuming the nukes actually stop the white, probably at best tens of thousands might live to reproduce by scavenging the globe for supplies.
We’re all just gonna stay put, we decided. No sense in killing yourself or anyone else to survive in a world you can’t even live in. Hold up as long as we can, until either the white or the radiation get us. Or the other people.
I hope it’s true what they say about the white. That it’s just like being put on pause.
Then you can be unpaused again someday.
That’s a real nice thought.