No single snowflake believes itself capable nor responsible
for the inherently destructive nature of an avalanche.
- From The Collected Sayings Of The Night
Edited by Morbis Cannto 2337 A.R.
It had always been thought that the end of the human race would arrive as a single cataclysmic, earth-shattering event. A global moment that, like the dinosaurs before, would allow only a brief flash of reflection before a giant cloud of dust and fire swept away all life into the vast expanse of time. The end result of this single day of horror was that the human race would be all but forgotten, and the universe would return back to its peaceful and altogether quiet slumber; making everything as it was meant to be in the first place.
The closest that humans ever came to being entirely removed from the universe wasn’t nearly so dramatic. The end, or nearly the end as it were, came about simply due to the failing of the human species in a billion little ways that caused the inevitable, yet completely unexpected, collapse. It was just one too many crooked politicians, one too many thoughtless efforts of those trying to control others who did not believe as they did, and one too many acts of selfishness that, when combined, hollowed out the collective soul of mankind; making it so that when the time came, all it took was a small tremor and the human race collapsed in upon itself like an empty eggshell.
It began in the seemingly most unlikely of places: Coffeyville, Kansas. A window cleaner fell from his 17th story perch, landing on the decorative cement below. His remains splattered like a broken water balloon across the front of the building he had spent a career trying to keep clean and tidy.
Additional employees were just arriving to work at the time. Still holding their morning coffee and pastries, they stood in complete shock while witnessing the horrific event. Being distraught by the experience, the managers and directors within the building let their employees take the day off; inadvertently initiating the proverbial butterfly's wings that would unleash its destructive powers across the globe.
Because this single day of work did not take place at the insignificant company, an insignificant production quota was not met, and an insignificant shortage was introduced into the world like an air bubble into a gas tank; all while the upset workers consoled one another. The hiccup in the engine caused other companies to fall short on their production quotas, and suddenly, additional insignificant shortages began to join together like an unnoticed swelling of the tide. The entire human race had grown so tightly connected and dependent upon one another that as the myriad of insignificant problems grew and evolved, it began to be painfully exposed, one day at a time, just how helpless the masters of this world were to stop its decline.
Governments puffed out their chests and began to "get involved" in hopes of stopping the collapse. In reality, the government officials really only thought about how they could turn this latest crisis into a “teachable” moment that they could profit from it, either financially or politically. But because governments were just as dependent upon the corporations as the corporations were dependent upon the governments, the bubble continued to grow and grow until one morning in the latter half of August the machine simply died.
After centuries of being solely dependent upon the ‘machine’ (governments, corporations, religions, and those that were generally considered to be more important than the rest) running the day-to-day operations of the human race, no one was prepared for what became known in the history books as "The Long Dark Night".