From This Day to the Ending of the Earth
By Jeff Baker
I was thirteen years old when the world ended.
My dad had told me I was staying home from school, and he and Mom packed the camper and we headed to our cabin in the mountains just outside the city. At the last minute, we strapped my bicycle on the back of the trailer. The second day Dad told us we were extending our vacation and not to go too far from the cabin. I didn’t mind a few days away from school.
The next morning, I rode my bike down the dirt mountain road to where I could see the city. I always liked looking at the glass buildings in the sunlight, especially the orange light of the morning. I stood there, balancing on my bike with one foot on the ground, imagining it was a motorcycle. I absently brushed at the mosquitos in front of my face. Then I realized that what I was seeing was planes and drones in the distance attacking the city. I stood there staring and then I rode my bike back up the road and…
Joel looked up from the screen.
“Granddad, why did you go to all the trouble of writing this down? That’s a lot of work! You could have used a memory scan, and we could play it anytime we wanted to see it.”
“Because that wouldn’t tell you how I felt or what I did or thought,” Granddad said. “The memory scan would only have shown what I saw and heard. Like a movie camera. That’s what makes print and books so much better than a memory scan. Besides, I wrote it all down years ago and I probably have forgotten some of the things by now. If I had the memory scan, it wouldn’t have shown everything I’d written down.”
“Is that why you have all the books downstairs?” Joel asked.
“Yup. That’s why.” Granddad said.
“Can we go get one and read one?”
“Sure. Why not!” Granddad said.
The two of them wandered downstairs to the books that held the beginning of the world.
NOTE: Title from William Shakespeare.