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Not With a Bang, But a Shiver

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“Dance of Death”- Andrew Bird



"The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.

Not that year.

Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.”

― Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants


The end of the world came, not with a bang and not with a whimper either. No, it came with a slow-creeping cold, the kind that gradually found its way into the cracks of the ground, freezing it solid- the same kind that seeped under your skin and sucked away all traces of warmth leaving a permafrost in the marrow of your bones.

At first no one noticed a thing. Just an unseasonably cold summer followed by a disgustingly frigid winter, one that brought so many flu outbreaks, the death toll had to be counted not in hundreds but hundreds of thousands. After that winter, everyone hoped for a long hot summer and a glorious growing season. It didn’t come, and the warmer than usual winter they hoped for didn’t come either.

They blamed it on La Niña, but they were wrong.

Two years turned into three, and soon there was not enough food. Those that had never had enough to eat went first. Without fat reserves, their malnourished and emaciated bodies, incapable of maintaining homeostasis, just could not cope. There had to be worse ways to go than hypothermia.

When world leaders and scientists could find no solutions and there seemed to be no end in sight, desperate people turned to anarchy. Governments fell and civilization crumbled. As if the cold and barren landscape wasn't enough to deal with, humans who had been blissfully unaware, suddenly discovered that a lot of those beings they thought only existed in legends and fairy tales were very much real and no longer concerned with remaining hidden. Competing for resources had a way of removing the need for secrecy.

Some groups stayed segregated, witches with other magical folk, werewolves with other shape shifters, and so on. Still, groups of human and supernatural alike banded together to form new families, clans, prepared to use their combined skills to make it through the unceasing cold together.  They learned a new way of life, for if you didn't adapt, you didn't survive.

Yeah, the end of the world came... with frostbite and a soul-freezing shiver.