Rapture in Reverse
October 30, 2043
We set sail today from Barcelona. While it won’t be a long journey–we’ve come so far already– I’ve decided to write it all down in hopes of sharing it with what is left of the World. I like to joke that I’m the Darwin of our trip, a joke not everyone seems to find funny, considering what we have all been through in these last few years.
We are on a research vessel, 60 of us. It is called the Bold Adventure. It’s an old-fashioned ship, but it has what we need to get where we are going. The scientists are all gone now, they disappeared on the first day. Don’t get me wrong, there were scientists left, but they were the scientists that put the Bible first in their beliefs.
We do have scientists on board, but the majority of us are missionaries working to bring the final peace to our world. We also have the captain and his crew – all believers – as well as a small orchestra made up of missionaries. It helps us pass the time and we thought it might “soothe the savage beast” as was once said.
It didn’t happen exactly the way we all thought it would happen; the rapture, that is. There was an expectation that the day would come and we would be lifted into the clouds to meet Jesus.
It didn’t happen that way.
We woke up the morning of Ascension Day; May 30th, 2041. It was a Thursday and about 75% percent of the world’s population was just gone. It wasn’t random though. There were church communities entirely intact (missing a few teenagers and the occasional spouse) with other parts of the world being completely empty.
The Middle East, much of India, and Northern Africa saw almost complete disappearances of their people. The United States lost about 60% of its population with cities often dramatically affected and rural areas often untouched.
Jesus didn’t arrive, or if he has, we don’t know how or when. We’ve come to believe that we still must bring the remaining few to him. In the time that has passed, we’ve come to learn that those who are left are specifically of the Christian faith, and deeply devout. There was another population left, they are the indecisive. They haven’t decided on one path, one belief, or another. We’ve come to believe that we must convert them, and only then will Christ come and begin his 1,000-year reign.
When the rapture first happened, communication, the internet, travel, all halted. There just weren’t enough people to manage the systems. However, churches around the world quickly were able to communicate and there has been a new peace among denominations and ideologies. Many of the larger churches had private jets and pilots who were not taken and a system of trade and organization began.
There were still enough people in major industries to bring technology and commerce back online. We got the aviation industry working, although it takes much longer to get from place to place. Because of the population decline, aviation has created a system of short hops. There is no longer an LA flight to Europe, rather all the European flights are out of New York. LA services Asia and Australia and New Zealand.
The air, however, has cleared since the world’s population has declined. There are no longer traffic jams and animals walk the streets in the more deserted areas. There is plenty of oil and the world governments, at least at this moment, are all still willing to share; probably because the oil-rich nations are mostly deserted.
Because those of us who are left are predominately Christian, the Bible has taken a central focus of all governments. We know that these are the End Times, we just have to figure out the final bit. We all lost someone. Some of us lost many. Some lost everyone they knew.
Well, I’m going to go meet the others for dinner. I haven’t even gotten to the reason for our journey. I must have patience.
October 31, 2043
One full day of sailing. Our first stop is to deliver supplies in Tenerife and it should take us another 3 to 4 days, depending on the weather. The Canary Islands, still an extension of Spain, were hit especially hard by the tsunamis. I know, I haven’t explained the tsunamis, but I’m getting there.
Much of the population of the Canary Islands had been Roman Catholic when the rapture came and the islands themselves only lost about 20% of their people. However, then the tsunamis hit and killed possibly another 60% of the population.
It has only been six months and there just aren’t enough people left to really have a good count, or to even find help. Those that survived did so because of their ability to get up Mount Teide. Other islands, such as Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, which are predominately at sea level, are just gone.
The tsunamis hit almost every country on the Atlantic Ocean, to varying degrees. The water levels had already risen so much from climate change, that people had continued to move inward and upward on all the continents. Development had been away from the coasts when the rapture happened, which saved more people than we would have predicted with the tsunamis.
On March 27th of this year, it was Good Friday and we were meditating on the sacrifice that Jesus made to save us from our sins when there was an earthquake. It was felt almost everywhere in the world. Cities fell, no country was left untouched. And then the tsunami’s started. They hit all the counties which lined the Atlantic Ocean; from the Northern parts of Brazil and the Caribbean, the full eastern coast of the United States, Newfoundland, and Quebec to the tip of Greenland, down the European west coast from Ireland to Spain and Portugal, as well as the north-west coast of Africa.
Our focus had been on the revitalization of humanity, converting those left behind, and building society back. But having lost so many of the greatest Scientists and not committing to the maintenance of warning systems, many nations were caught by surprise and lost many of their communities to the sea.
It was quickly discovered that the quake had come deep from the Atlantic Ocean, along the mid-Atlantic ridge–the Atlantic Rift specifically around the 35th parallel. We still had access to satellite information and there were airplanes. We soon found that a new island had formed. Well, not an island, exactly. More like a continent, perhaps? And it sat directly along the ridge.
You’d have thought that people would send scientists out immediately to better understand what had happened, but we didn’t have the scientific population anymore. Also, we were all dealing with the catastrophes of the earthquake and the tsunamis while still grieving those we had lost in the rapture.
We waited and helped as much as we could within our own communities, not knowing if more earthquakes would come. Plus, this was a new island, and we assumed that there would be no people or animals, not for years anyway. Not until the governments of our individual countries were strong enough to spare the manpower.
But there were people. And that is why we are headed there now. People, perhaps in need of help. Certainly in need of God.
I’m off for today. Tomorrow, November 1st, is All Saint’s Day, and we will spend it in prayer and music. The day after that, we expect to arrive in Tenerife. I will continue to write when I can.
November 3rd, 2043
On Sunday, the 1st, we spent our day in prayer, honoring the Saints. There was music and devotion.
Yesterday, Monday, we arrived in Tenerife. I have a difficult time describing the desolation there. Once a thriving port city, the buildings have fallen and the people are afraid. Missionaries there were thankful for the supplies we brought.
I wish we could have given them more, but we need enough for our own trip to the new land. They gave a warm welcome. When we left the island at sunset, God showed us the beauty he created.
We expect another 5 to 6 days before we come to the island.
Continent? I’m not really sure how to refer to it.
It’s not small, perhaps the size of Hawaii, if all the islands were connected, but we don’t know the extent. It seems to keep growing, based on satellite images. Every report is different.
The few ships that have gone out, have not come back and there are no places for an airplane to land on the island. There is nothing close enough for a seaplane to refuel. Nothing is close enough for helicopters unless they take off from a ship, but when so many others are in need right now, this has not been a priority.
There have been flights over portions of this new land mass and the reports are unsettling. Images of people walking around in a daze. Even more unsettling is the description of ruins. When this island appeared, it was assumed that it would be volcanic rock, desolate, some new form brought forth from the bottom of the sea. But the buildings, ruins really, that are being seen tell us that it was once on land.
Unless, of course, there was some underwater kingdom that, despite technology, we never saw. The ruins appear almost Greek or Roman in structure, with columns and what have been described as temples, amphitheaters, and coliseums.
There is a growing consensus, that somehow, this is Atlantis.
November 4th, 2043
Is it really even a possibility? Plato talked of Atlantis as an advanced civilization that sank somewhere around 9,600 BC. However, most of us believe in the Young Earth creation theory where God created Earth and man some 10,000 years ago after 6 days of creation. Creatio ex nihilo, creation from nothing.
There is no mention of Atlantis, or anything of that sort, in the Bible. However, some theories have been discussed as Plato’s writings talk of the Athenians going to war with the island of Atlantis after they conquered parts of Italy and Africa. This would place Atlantis 350 to 400 years before the birth of Christ, which makes sense in our understanding of the Earth’s timeframe.
Now, did Atlantis sink before or after the great flood? Was it swallowed when the waters rose? Was there a great earthquake or a volcano that caused it to sink?
Obviously, we don’t have any idea if this is Atlantis and what will greet us when we arrive. What we do know is that there are people there. And if the population dates back to before the time of Christ, then they will not know the word of God. We must share the good word and bring them to the faith. Only then will Jesus come and his reign begin again.
Our aim is truly the development of a Christian Community, one that can grow and thrive.
November 9th, 2043
It is like the Garden of Eden! We have not gone ashore, not yet. We want them to grow accustomed to us. We are sitting just offshore, but we can see the land. It is so beautiful. I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to share his word and to see his beauty in Creation.
A bright blue finch landed on the deck this morning and sang the sweetest song. More arrived in shades of blue and green and we fed them bits of bread from our breakfast. I don’t know how they arrived here so quickly, a place that was only just an ocean six months ago.
I don’t question it, can’t question the glory of my creator. Other sea birds are flying close to the ship and they have the most beautiful shape. It makes me think of Noah and the dove of peace. These birds give me hope for our future.
We can see that the land is covered with thick, lush foliage and bright spots of what appear to be flowers. The water here is perfectly clear and we often see dolphins playing around us. The people on shore move about and, through the telescope, they appear to be as innocent as Adam and Eve, without shame or cover. We cannot yet make out their faces. We hope to approach slowly, as to not scare them.
We play our orchestra on the deck of the ship and hope that our music tells them that we are not here to hurt them. After the quiet of the ocean and the simplicity of these people–I think of them almost as a long-lost tribe–I worry that our music is perhaps too brassy and loud. But we are some distance and hope that the sound of the music is lovely and new over the water.
We think that a few of us will take one of the dinghies to shore tomorrow, just to make contact. I pray that this will go smoothly and know that God is watching from above.
November 10th, 2043
Oh, God. Oh God, oh god, oh god. I have to stop. I can’t take his name in vain. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Lord. But, oh dear God, save us. Save us.
What have we done?
We took the little boat. There were eight of us for this first trip.
We saw them wandering on shore and they didn’t pay any attention. It was if we weren’t there. And so we brought the boat up onto the beach. And they just continued to wander.
We watched for a bit and finally got out, stepping through the clear water.
It was beautiful. The sand was black and it was lined with shells, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Slowly, we approached them, but their eyes were empty. Their skin was swollen and greenish and… torn. Their hair was tangled with seaweed.
We thought it was shock, shock of whatever they have gone through. I should have known better. I didn’t know.
One of our group–I don’t even know which of us–reached out to touch a young man’s hand. We didn’t know. We didn’t know!
How could we have known?
Their teeth are so sharp. And they bite.
I was the only one who made it back on the dinghy. But not before… Oh God, oh god, oh god.
I can’t tell anyone. I don’t want to tell anyone.
I got bit.
I told them that I was fine, that the blood was from the others.
But I got bit.
I watched them tear the others apart. Once they realized we were there, they weren’t quiet anymore. Their eyes became focused. Focused on us.
And they are fast, oh god, they are fast.
It bit my leg as I tried to get back in the boat. I didn’t pull my feet in fast enough. I kicked. I kicked it away and it let go.
The others are gone. I saw them tear them, their insides on the black sand. Their guts stretched between them. Once they ate, their eyes became clear.
November 11th, 2043
I cleaned the wound yesterday and wrapped it well. I’ve started taking antibiotics, although I still haven’t told anyone. I don’t feel well.
We are still sitting on the ship and there is debate on what to do next.
They ask why I’m limping and I’ve told them that I twisted my ankle trying to get away. They don’t press me. They are scared and fighting.
There are some who want to return to the beach, but I’ve told them we have to leave.
I think anyone who arrived before us is probably dead now, and that is why they never returned. Why there has been no correspondence.
I’m so tired. Please God, help me.
I don’t know the day. The ship is moving now. Back. I think. I need sleep. Must pray.
So hot hungry.
can’t tell them
have locked the door
when I see them, I crave them I want them.
why god why did you put me here
My brain is clear. God brought one of them to my door. It was a gift. I feasted and I feel strong again. I threw the body overboard so they wouldn’t know.
His thoughts became my thoughts. His memories became mine. I know everything he ever knew.
I am still hungry, but there must be enough of us to reach the mainland.
To share the gift.
To return for the others.
READ PART TWO OF THIS STORY HERE –
l’Empire de la Mort – Week 24 of 52 weeks
Week 4 Prompt – A missionary in a remote village
Include the words; orchestra, finch, aim, development, ex, bold, old-fashioned, gut, brassy, sharp.
Read Bridgette’s Tale of a missionary and a village.
When I first saw the prompt for this week, I started thinking about a non-traditional missionary and what that would look like. I tend to think of missionaries as being of the Christian or Mormon faith and had to do some research on the differences between the two. What would happen if the remote village was Christian and your missionaries were perhaps Pagan? What festivals would they bring and how would they promote their viewpoints?
I sat with this for a bit and then began to wonder what a remote village would look like in our world today. Does that still exist? Remote villages, yes–but I don’t think there is anywhere in this world that has been untouched by modern civilization. So where could we have a remote village? Space? Could this be more science fiction? And then I thought, well how great if we thought we were bringing wisdom to some alien race only to have them eat us like a snack?
Clearly this lead me to think about zombies. Zombies and brains. I didn’t need any kind of new planet for zombies; zombies will do just fine on earth. So how do we get zombies in a remote area of the world, and what would mislead missionaries to think they need to spread their religion? It had to be something of a surprise. Atlantis rising from the vast depths of the Ocean. But if Atlantis rose, wouldn’t there be scientists researching and studying? Wouldn’t they get there before the missionaries?
This is the train of thought that turned into the rapture but in reverse. What if, instead of all the Christians being taken, all the followers of Christ (no matter the specific sect or branch of Christianity) were the ones that were left? What if they saw it as Revelations, but it didn’t quite go the way they expected. Instead of them being taken, they were the ones left to create heaven on earth, and what if their mission is to convert everyone left, all the in-between people, in order for the time of tranquility to begin?
All the scientists are gone, so when Atlantis rises, the missionaries are driven to bring Christ to the Atlantans. But the Atlantans have been sitting at the bottom of the Ocean, so they make great zombies!
Now, I do understand that there are scientists who are also Christian, but whether they were taken in this “blip” would, I suppose, be where their beliefs lie. Are they paleontologists who believe in evolution and God’s hand in evolution? They would disappear in this story with the other scientists.
I certainly don’t believe in finite boxes, that you are either one or the other, but for the sake of the story, scientists who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible would still be here. (Here’s a link to 34 great scientists who were committed Christians.)
Now, you are probably wondering if I made up the information about how Atlantis might fit into the church. I know we can find anything on the internet, but I actually found a site about Atlantis and how it relates to Genesis in the Bible. If you’re curious, you can find it here and in my links. (Seriously, this is a deep dive link and will suck you in as you contemplate the stories around religious ideology.)
If you liked this story, please share!
Join us next week for our 52-week journey.
5. A teenager whose parents have unwelcome news
Include: comic book, battery, crumbly, apartment, angelic, breach, shooter, soda, engineer, substantiate
I spent a lot of time researching this week. I’ve included most of my links here in case you want to dive as deeply as I did.
Atlantis Research – History Channel
Atlantis Location – Wiki
Religions and % of Believers in the World – 2020
Christianity vs Mormonism – Differences
34 Great Scientists Who Were Committed Christians
Religious States in the United States in Maps
Calendar 12 – Ascension Day 2041
Calendar 12 – Good Friday 2043
Christian Festivals – University of Bolton
Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Atlantic Ocean
Did Atlantis Exist – Answers in Genesis
BBC Religions – Christianity: Creationism and Intelligent Design
My 52-Week Challenge Journey
What is the 52-week short story challenge?
4 Replies to “Rapture in Reverse | A Short Story”
I am intrigued, besides the themes you mentioned which are very interesting, this has the near-future sci fi aspect to it as well. I love how Kim Stanley Robinson’s works give me hope in spite of climate change but I can also appreciate this zombie aspect.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! It’s truly appreciated as I go on this adventure of writing. I really love that you mentioned Kim Stanley Robinson. His writing portrays scientists as the heroes, which seems to be missing in todays world. I hope we can return to that place of respect for scientists. I was intrigued by the idea of a world of no scientists and how society would function. Thank you again and I hope you’ll return to read more!
WOW and Hollywood has tried to convey something like that in the past…..you have a great imagination.
Thank you so very much for stopping by and reading my story! Thank you so much for the compliment.