A booming sound drew my eyes to the enormous windows that made up the western wall of the apartment. Two blocks away I saw water explode upward around the wide tower of the Seaview Apartments; the waves were getting bigger.
I glanced at the clock; the waves were down to an hour now and growing larger each time. The scientist they had on the television before the collision was batting a thousand. A potential extinction level event, he had said. A chunk of rock was falling through the solar system and aimed right at good old planet Earth. We’d spent our lives worried about pollution and war but it was a rock that might take us out, just like the dinosaurs. He said it all came down to where it hit, land would pretty much wipe everything out quickly while a mid ocean strike might only take out part of the globe letting those far enough in from coastlines survive – maybe. There was lots of science gobbledygook about kilotons and ripple effects but I wasn’t able to make neither heads nor tails of that. When zero hour came, every television, phone and even the internet died. I don’t know why it affected television here, obviously the thing hit somewhere on the other side of the planet since I was still alive but without the web there was no scientist to explain it.
Ten hours after zero hour the wind had come just like he said and then the first waves began to slam ashore. They were little at first, no more than a dozen feet high and spaced hours apart but they had kept to the brainiac’s schedule and now here they were, four stories tall and an hour apart.
The old man from 7C said we’d probably be safe here. This was an old building and built like a fortress, plus there were two other huge concrete and steel buildings between us and the beach acting like walls. He thought the water would probably just break around those buildings and we’d only have to deal with flooding. We decided to be prudent and moved to a vacant apartment on the 15th floor, right below the penthouse. It would keep us well above any flooding and also gave one heck of a view. I wished we had been able to get to the penthouse but you could only get there by elevator and it needed a key which neither of us had. Shame we had to miss the view from up there.
The old man was napping on the couch; I’d wake him in time for the next wave, it was getting pretty awesome out there.
I busied myself with dragging the other couch in front of the window so we could sit and enjoy the show then I sat down and started reading a book about some guy trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Why couldn’t that have been the way the world ended? Zombies would have been a lot cooler than a meteor. A loud boom snapped my head up from the book. I glanced at the clock, only thirty minutes had passed. A new wave exploded around the Seaview. It was almost as large as the apartment building and I could see the building shake as it hit. Windows exploded on every floor of the Seaview and water geysered from them. This wasn’t right, I could have sworn that scientist said the waves wouldn’t speed up for a while yet.
“Hey 7C,” I said. “Wake up.”
7C sat up rubbing his eyes. I never had bothered to learn the old man’s name but he responded to just his apartment number well enough.
“Whazzuh?” he mumbled.
“The waves are speeding up. You might want to get over here so you don’t miss anything.”
He glanced at the clock as he staggered over to my couch.
“I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen until tomorrow.”
“Dude, do I look like an egg head? I don’t know why but this one was definitely faster.”
He flopped down on the couch. He was a nice enough guy but he had that old man smell, like mothballs and arthritis cream; I shifted as far away as the couch allowed.
“Thirty minutes since the one before,” I said. “You should have seen it. It punched right through the Seaview.”
The water was still pouring from the gutted building but the pressure was not as spectacular as when the wave hit. The first floors of every building we could see were now under water. I was very glad we had decided to move upstairs.
We sat and waited. Every few minutes one of us glanced at the clock but the hands moved like molasses.
“Here it comes,” 7C said.
I glanced at the clock; twenty minutes had passed. I could see the wave coming, it had to be at least six stories tall.
“Are you sure those buildings are going to be enough protection?”
“Dunno,” 7C said. “Guess we’re gonna find out.”
The wave hit.
The Seaview shuddered as water fountained upward, around, and through it. I could have sworn the building shifted sideways. Two blocks to the left a building that had been finished just three months ago toppled into the one behind it. It was like an enormous domino as is smashed into the second building which then toppled in turn. The two buildings cracked and then crumbled into piles of rubble. I hoped nobody was still in them. I looked back at the Seaview and the unnamed building on Atlantic Avenue that stood between us and the ocean. They appeared to be as strong as 7C claimed. The water was now two stories deep around us.
A mere ten minutes after watching the buildings crumble I heard 7C gasp. A new wave was racing toward the coast. It was at least ten stories high. It hit the Seaview and I watched the building lifted by the water like a boat. It rode up the wave and was slammed down on the apartment building behind it. Both building exploded like bombs. The windows in front of us shattered; miraculously neither of us were cut by the flying glass.
“Dear God,” I screamed. “We have to get out of here.”
I turned and shook 7C to drive my point home.
“How? Where are we going to go anyway? There’s too much water in the streets.”
“I don’t know,” I was still shouting. “But we have to get somewhere else. We lost our protection.”
A roaring sound silenced us both. We looked toward the sea and saw a wave as tall as our building racing toward the coast. Behind the wave marched a dozen more waves, each taller than the last. The furthest one I could see must have been a mile high; they would reach us in seconds.
There was nowhere to run. It truly was the end of the world as we knew it. I stood and faced the shattered window to embrace the wave.