The global warming had melted some of the polar ice caps. Sea level had risen ten meters so far, and if the ice caps continued to melt, a peak of eighty meters was what the scientist had predicted. At just ten meters change in sea level, 25% of the United States population was flooded out of their homes.
Some said the melting of the ice caps was caused by the holes in the ozone layer, which were the result in a rise of green house gases caused by emissions from burning fossil fuel. Others said it was just the normal cycle of the Earth. They quoted facts about the seal level being 125 meters below the 2001 level, at the hight of the glacial maximum 20,000 years ago. The religious faithful said it was the end times, but failed to explain god's promise to Noah, not to destroy Earth with a flood again.
The rise of the sea level was a slow process. There were freak storms caused by the climate changes, which did lots of damage, but the water rose slowly. If nothing else, humans are adaptive. This situation was no different. Long before the waters rose, they started building cities of interconnected barges. The shapes and patterns were different for each city, and made it easy to differentiate from the air.
The first one set to sea back in 2010. It was called the Freedom Ship, and was a straight line that was a mile long, 725 feet wide and 340 feet above sea level. The capacity was 50,000 full time residents and 20,000 visitors, which was crewed by 15,000. Its weight was a svelte 2.7 million tons. It was complete with a University, a hospital, and the world's largest shopping mall at that time.
The current crop of "flities" (floating + cities) stretched for many miles and had complex patterns that could hold millions. Many had to be retrained in different jobs, because the needs of a floating city are different from those cities still above sea level. The coastlines of all the continents changed yearly, and all maps were digital to accomodate the ever changing data. Computer monitors were as thick as a sheet of paper from the 20th century, and could be rolled up like paper as well. So everything was in digital format for the most part.
The day started as most of them did, very uneventful. Somewhere around ten in the morning, people started vanishing. Cars, void of drivers careened into guard rails and other cars. An airplace missing a pilot started to nose dive until the co-pilot gained control of the plane. I was one of those people who vanished. I knew what had happened. It was the Rapture.
It was the promise of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, in which true Christians will be "taken" or "caught up" from Earth to Heaven to be with Jesus Christ. As I looked around and only saw two or three dozen people, I was both amazed and dismayed. Out of a flity of nearly two million, was this the number of true Christians? As I viewed the others rising, there was no gender. There was no flaw in our forms which looked alike, but somehow I still saw each spirit as an individual.
Suddenly three of the spirits started to rise faster than the others. Then a group of four spirits rose below them but above us. Were they holier than us? Did they hold a higher place in Heaven? Did they live more pure lives than those at the bottom? Would there be a class or ranking system? Soon I would know the answers to these and many other questions.