We didn’t realise till too late. The rise in doctor’s visits was probably the first sign, more complaints of tiredness put down to rat-race stress. The rises in early onset dementia, in early menopause, noticed but unexplained. McPherson’s article on the epidemiology of progeroid syndromes was missed outside a small circle of academics. The tabloids only got the story when their own staff succumbed. World governments had already sequestered scientists to find cause and cure but they too succumbed before much headway was made. No time for panic to set in as the problem spiralled exponentially out of control. Children born on Monday were adult by Saturday and dead in the week. Reproduction all but ceased, the fabric of society as our grandfathers had known disintegrated in the increasingly frantic scramble to eat and procreate. My child will be born today. I won’t hear its cry, humanity’s final word.