If you're looking for a new way to begin an apocalyptic story give "The Hum" a try. I wonder if maybe the government has implanted tiny devices in our heads to create the hum and drive people to do unspeakable things. You know, a mind control project gone wrong. Just joking, of course! Our government would never do something like that, would they?
For some reason that link up there isn't working any more. You can try this one as it has most of the same information.