She had to stay awake.

Carol felt her eyes drooping and bolted to her feet, swaying and immediately dizzy. Her fast and heavy heartbeat told her that she could not have any more caffeine. Her hair was still wet from her most recent frigid shower. She began to jog on the spot, hoping to keep herself awake, just a little while longer.

Outside her bedroom it was a bright and sunny day. Families walked past, laughing and smiling in the spring breeze. A car drove by, playing music she remembered from her teenage years. The colour of the car was familiar.

The same family walked past again, the opposite way. They little girl was giggling, riding her father’s shoulders. Her hair was the same colour as Carol’s.

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The world is going to end today and most people are ready.

The announcement was made almost a year ago. News anchors who could not keep an even tone reported that the asteroid was on a direct course and would hit the planet. The impact would not be survivable. The world went mad within days.

There was not as much madcap crime as some would think. Some people definitely gave into baser urges, enjoying the immunity to long-term consequences, but this was culled by the lack of consequences for revenge.

The madness was much quieter. For the most part, apathy became the norm. To an onlooker, the population largely followed the same schedule they always had. Public transport still shepherded many to and from work. Most businesses stayed open and whatever hours a person could spend deep in work were a relief from the pressure of their own thoughts.

Churches flourished, including countless new ones, hastily built and manned. Any pre-existing doomsday cult that had posited a date around the projected arrival of the asteroid found sudden popularity. It was estimated that around 20 percent of the world’s population joined one of these, meaning that at least one fifth of the world eagerly awaited the asteroid’s arrival.

When the day finally arrived, most people stayed inside. It was better to drink, to listen to music, to sleep, to talk, to do anything other than wait.

Those who had eagerly awaited judgement day stood outside, watching as the asteroid became visible to the naked eye. They waited eagerly for hours as it approached. They continued staring as it did not quite match the projected angle. Unblinking, tear streaming, they saw the asteroid miss completely.

Around the world, one fifth of the population come to the unanimous and simultaneous decision, unknown to the terrified majority: the end of the world is today, and we are willing to put in the work.