The End of Rational Thought

picture from google maps which appears to show people vanishing

Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego, Krakow, Poland | ©
Łukasz Pompa Google Maps

We were scientists, once. Then came the vanishings.

Epidemiologists called it a virus. They claimed some airborne illness afflicted the vanished on a sub-cellular level, causing their cells to spontaneously self-cannibalize. Physicists were split. Some insisted the vanished had slipped into an alternate dimension, while others talked of a warp in the space-time continuum. Psychologists tried to convince everyone it was mass hallucination, and said all we needed was a little therapy.

But me, I was an anthropologist, and I’ve grown to think there is an expiration date on reality. For a time, we worshipped gods of earth and climate, so at their mercy we were. Then we had the gods of laws and kindness—to get along as community grew. Once global, we worshipped science, believing every happening bound by reason.

And what we worship now, I cannot say. I just know I am a scientist no more.

149 words

This little bit of strangeness has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

Pretty strange, I know. Partially inspired by The Leftovers, partially inspired by a fevered dream from  The Cold From Hell. For the past ten days I have been getting my ass kicked by a non-fictional virus. Instead of making me disappear, it just makes me want to. I’m finally beginning to feel human today–food sounds good and I slept through the night without choking on my own snot. It’s good to be alive.



  1. Excellent story. The fever has obviously done you good!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m just glad I’m still here.


  2. Fantastic combination of the unknown and what we perceive as reality. Loved it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent story- love the different explanations – clever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Francine. Thanks for reading!


  4. i looked right through the photo till about halfway into the narrative something told me to look back at it.. Whoa.. This was excellent. Bravo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol, isn’t that a crazy picture?! Thanks for reading and commenting, Violet.


  5. I cannot believe how parallel our stories are. Where I predict the abandonment of Logic, you speak of the end of rational thought. Such a nice exploration of the concept that if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Sorry you have been sick and wish you a happier rest of yourholiday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Andrea, have a happy holiday yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant – I am so glad I read backwards through the links and saved the best for last. The scope of this is great tackling time and professions and science and logic and emotion and then, at the end, devoid of it all, of reason. It’s how most people feel at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, boy, I think you’re right about how people feel at the end, Kelvin. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. As Josh said, the fever did you good. (Still, I’m awfully sorry you have been so sick. I hate being so down and out I’d rather die.) I love where you took this time-lapse photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lish! Man I would not wish this cold on anyone. I’m on Day 12. Ugh!


  8. peterkirsch

    Oh no, KR! I’m sorry a bug got you down, esp. so close to the holidays.
    Still, quite proud of you for finding the motivation and energy to still write us this li’l ditty.

    Here’s hoping for much better health and luck in the New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.