The year was 2012, early on in the 21st century. "The Apocalypse IS Here!" newspaper headlines shouted, as cities burned and charred corpses lined the streets. Those who stayed were dead; of those who fled, most died.

That was five years ago.

I was born in 2000, a year of great technological advances that seemed to signal a century of them. Sure, the economy was down, and the world was as much in conflict as ever, but as far as middle-class Americans were concerned life was about as normal as it got.

My childhood was normal. I grew up on a familiar suburban street, surrounded by friends who went to the local public school with me. There was nothing to be afraid of, except perhaps the dark and the occasional spider.

In school I was always interested in history, and so of course I learned about the Martian invasion of the 19th century. Everyone knew about it, but it was ancient history. Earth diseases had driven them away, and they hadn't shown themselves in more than two hundred years. We were safe in the comfort that that particular danger had been permanently averted.

Not to say that governments didn't take precautions against another invasion from space; but with time, their concern seemed to fade. With the founding of NASA there was a slight increase in protection in our atmosphere, but that, too, faded. There were more pressing concerns, like the World Wars and, later, the conflict in the Middle East. No longer were drills for the Black Gas required in school or homes, and making bunkers had gone out of fashion long ago. The only people who still prepared for a terror that took place two centuries ago were the same eccentrics touting the existence of the Loch Ness monster. Nobody paid them any mind; no reason to, not when the event was so far back in time, and seemed to unlikely to happen again.

Years passed, as quickly as ever, and soon I was twelve years old. The year was 2012, and every other kid in my sixth grade class was abuzz with conspiracy theories concerning the end of the world. They joked about it often, theorizing about whether it would be vampires or zombies that would bring about the sunset of mankind.

I was also interested in a possible apocalypse, but more seriously than any of my peers. I studied the great tragedies of history, anything that I thought had a possibility of occurring again. Reading through book after book, through first hand accounts and historical documents, I compiled all of the information I could on every possibility. I kept all of this information in a small book, one I never let out of my sight. I hardly had any friends; people thought I was strange, and my parents declared my obsession as unhealthy. They were about to make me see a shrink when the events of December, 2012 proved all of them wrong…