Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world.

-Revelations 13:11-14 (NLT)

We saw it coming.

We tried to stop it.

We failed…

There have been portents and signs about the end of days throughout Earth’s history, but divination is difficult for humans; to us, immediacy means in the next few seconds; to beings whom live forever, it might mean in 3,000 years. When you ask a human to hurry up and wait, he gets angry. In the face of 100 years, it usually means his death. And so humanity ignored the warnings. Humanity forgot the warnings. We laughed at the warnings.

So, there we were, humanity, on our little planet, and everything was fine. Well, we didn’t realize that then. We thought everything was fucked up. But in retrospect, we had it really good. Then, the world ended.

Or rather, it was supposed to end. We couldn’t even do that right, as it turns out.

Twenty years ago, things — a friend of mine used the term “eldritch horrors of cosmic malevolence,” which seems about right — called the Iconnu, or sometimes the Unbidden, but most of the time The Great Old Ones attempted to consume our reality, reshaping it for some unknowable purpose. This attempt, called the Intrusion, should have
spelled the end of the world, with humanity dying a swift, horrific death, and six billion souls
consumed by these Unbidden fucks who didn’t even fully recognize their existence. Yeah, that’s right. The Iconnu weren’t even really aware of us. As I see it, we’re as unknowable to them as they are to us. We were just too insignificant for them to notice.

Yet the Intrusion wasn’t the end of the world. You see, in the end, I guess the bible wasn’t as filled with bullshit as I, or a lot of other people, thought. Turns out, there really is some sort of malevolent(ish) being protecting humanity from beings from other worlds. Isn’t that about a bitch? We’re always praying to this sky daddy, and it turns out, the reason he(it?) isn’t answering prayers isn’t because he doesn’t care, nah, it’s because he’s doing the best he can to turn away these Iconnu fuckers. As my friend said, “God maintains the fundamental principals of reality.” In other words, he kept the Iconnu from bringing about the apocalypse.

Initially.

Turns out our sky daddy isn’t some all powerful being after all. Just mostly powerful. So despite God’s resistance, the Iconnu established a sort of foothold in the world — specifically in the middle of North America. The site of their intrusion into our reality yawns wide in the Great Plains of the United States. It’s a goddamned seething sphere of nightmarish unreality. The poor people there were consumed in a conflagration greater than any the world had ever seen. No atom bomb. No explosion. Nothing. Just suddenly Middle America was . . . well, we don’t have words that really describe it. It’s just gone.

What’re we doing. Freaking the fuck out, that’s right. It didn’t help that while this Intrusion Point comes into being, the world was ravaged by a war in Asia, and three virus outbreaks were just kicking our ass, oh, and then there was mother nature being a bitch, ripping California and Japan right off the map with Earthquakes and Volcanoes, drowning coastal towns with hurricanes, burning up the last of our clean air with massive fires in the Amazon…a shit storm to say the least.

Then this Dude shows up. Says he’s got the answers. Goes by the name David. He starts gathering people, showing them the way…and people start saying he’s Jesus, come again! And hell, why not? He’s removing sickness, healing the injured, making whole dead crops grow again…and he’s saying “No, no, I’m just a man, given the way and the light by god…” He quickly whipped up a bunch of people into a frenzy, and he begins leading the only real functional government for, like, 7 years.

Whoops! Remember the Bible? Stupid us, we didn’t listen to the wackos. The Bible and the Quran mention a sort of Antichrist dude showing up and causing shit to go down. Well, 10 years after the first intrusion, The Rapture happened.

No shit.

People just fucking…vanished! The only consistency was that the kids mostly vanished (I mean, some kids are assholes). I mean, some people, no question. The really good people ascended into the sky. Their bodies just rose up into the sky, and then they just…vanished. The really bad people just sort of self-immolated; they burned up with a scream of pain and poof! Gone.

Course, that was when it got really crazy. The earth and heavens opened up, and Celestials and Fiends flooded the world. The first Intrusion Point erupted with creatures beyond conventional imagination; we call them Aberrations. And don’t even get me started on death. It would seem that whatever let the beings out is not letting anyone back in. This is great for those fucking creatures that treat our planet like a (literally!) god-damned chessboard, because they have ways of coming back, but us squishy humans? Undeath is what awaits us. Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts…you name it, we’re coming back as it. Oh, and none of that hippy bippy bullshit here, those guys want you dead. Kind of. It’s complicated. Good news, as it is, turns out we can use magic again, if you’ve the head for that kind of shit. Doesn’t matter though. Celestials, Fiends, Aberrations…most of em’ are immune to the magical crap.

Where does that leave us?

Well, some people had The Premonition. They saw it all coming. All of it. They took steps. Of course, most of them? Poof! Gone during the rapture. Those of us who’ve gathered survive. We have to survive. Of course, surviving doesn’t mean shit when you see ghosts of dead friends, wishing to go to the next world. We’ve one a pretty damn good job surviving; the celestials and fiends mainly fight each other. We’ve only got to be careful of Aberrations and Undead. Which, you know, is a constant problem.

We have to stop this. We have to somehow open the gates the Afterlife, so that when we die, we won’t be eternal souls damned to exist on Earth.

- Wei Hawkins, Chicago Station #7, 2101

Left Behind: Your guide to the Rapture.

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