The Happy Habitat

Every person has their own definition of paradise. For some, paradise is a utopian society where all people are fed and cared for. For others, it's a relaxing evening with a partner who truly loves them.

Ultimately, every person is different, and that's part of the beauty of of humanity!

No matter what you want, we've got you covered here at Happy Habitat! Your dreams, realized!

The attractive announcer with a well-fitting suit and toothy grin disappeared from behind a flickering monitor as the commercial ended. Ordinarily, the station would then transition into a feature presentation, but instead, the channel cut out into static. In fact, this commercial was the only televised content since the start of this year. It played behind glass windows of storefronts that had yet to fully power down.

I watched it periodically throughout the past few months while driving from city to city, each one identical to the last: an archaic relic of simpler times. Sprouts of grass peeked through pavement, asphalt had crumbled into gravel, and dilapidated houses were slowly reclaimed by nature. Animals of all different kinds began cautiously wandering empty streets, wondering where their predators had gone.

In fact, the world was better than it had ever been before! The sky was a deep blue without smog, forests were thriving metropolises of wildlife, and rivers were so clean that babbling brooks sounded like song!

As I closed the door to my truck, I watched a raven fly past me to a tree a few bodylengths behind where I parked. The foliage was just starting to yellow for the autumnal season and I found myself wondering if I could dismantle a nearby house for firewood.

I grimaced slightly as my eyes drifted to a seemingly harmless cloud in the direction I had come from. It was the capital. The Happy Habitat, where all people went to live in their own virtual heavens. It was an efficient complex, considering it housed over a billion residents. Several other capitals existed throughout the world, one for each continent.

They were tall, foreboding structures. Testaments to human greed. In an endless struggle to satisfy their own desires, nearly every human chose to trade their own lives for a glimpse into paradise, and Happy Habitat was more than willing to facilitate that trade... For a small catch. In order to interface with the Happy Habitat network, a surgery would need to be performed, essentially leaving the customer in a vegetative state for as long as they lived in Paradise.

So long as I have lived, I have never seen a single person leave.

I didn't mind too much, though. Happy Habitat claimed to provide paradise for all, and it did live up to it's promise. For someone like me, a world without anyone else truly was paradise.

Prompt: Everyone always suspected the end of the world would come in a rage of nuclear fire. But when the totally submersible Virtual Reality, “Happy Habitat” gave it’s users ultimate perfection around the clock, people stopped returning to Earth. The world grew silent. Everyone was hooked in.

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