Only Human: The Only One Left

Only Human: The Only One Left

A Story by Alexzandria R.

Neil, a high schooler with terminal cancer, watches as everyone in his town slowly disappears. Eventually, he's the last one. But he thinks he knows what he needs to do to save everyone.

The scent of Ava’s hair was intoxicating and it always seemed to find its way into my nose when I held her. I watched her smile and laugh at what our friend Deon had said. With my arms around Ava’s waist, I laughed with her. I loved seeing her laugh. I loved her. Her and her pale skin like snow and her large brown eyes and long dark hair. She was my Ava. My girlfriend of two years. I knew she loved me just as much and I was proud of her for handling our situation so well. Two months ago, I had learned that I had terminal brain cancer. Doctors were treating me but there was only so much they could do. They could only keep me alive for so long. When I gave Ava the news, she was upset but she didn’t leave me and she didn’t mope around about it all day. She made the best of the time she had with me and I loved her for that. I could never have been happier than I was when I was holding her. Now, I wish I could’ve held her more.
“You wanna go get food, Neil?” she asked me, bringing me out of a trance that I hadn’t realized I was in. For a moment, I forgot where I was because I was so zoned out but I remembered after a few moments. I was at lunch at school with my Ava and our friends, the twins, Deon and Diane, the couple Pedro and Vic, and the best friends Riley and Hanna.
“Yeah sure I could go for some food,” I replied. She smiled her wide smile, that showed so many straight white teeth, and took my hand in hers, leading me to the lunch line with her. We went through the line, got our food, and returned to the table. When we sat down to eat, I noticed that Riley was nowhere to be seen.
“Where’d Riley go?” I asked the others. No one had an answer. The twins said they weren’t sure where she had gone and the others claimed they hadn’t even seen her go. I disregarded it and figured maybe she went to the restroom or something. However, she didn’t come back during that lunch period. She didn’t come back at all. That’s where this began. With Riley’s disappearance.
For the next week or so, people, her family mostly, hung posters with pictures of Riley on them and they searched and searched for her for days. Hanna looked completely lost at school without her best friend. Riley was never found. The next weekend, Pedro and Vic disappeared from their houses at the same time. People found this strange because Pedro and Vic both lived on separate sides of town. People in town being strongly homophobic though, told everyone that Pedro and Vic had probably eloped together and gone to another state where their marriage would be legal. After all, they were both legal adults. Seniors in high school. The police told everyone in town that they shouldn’t worry about the disappearance of Pedro and Vic because of this. Told everyone that they were men who could take care of themselves and had made their own decision to skip town. There was no evidence of a kidnapping anyway, so this had to be what had happened. However, I had a gut feeling that it was linked to Riley’s disappearance. I began to worry. Of course I was worried about Riley’s absence already but now Pedro and Vic were gone too?
Two days later, Hanna was gone. Again, people didn’t worry about it much. They all figured she went looking for Riley. They all figured she’d be coming back soon. Everyone thought Riley was dead anyway, they just didn’t have the heart to tell Hanna or the guts to say it out loud. But you could tell everyone was thinking it. The police stopped looking for her. The police in our town had always been quite lazy. Disappearances were never taken seriously, even when a series of high school children went missing over the course of a couple of weeks. However, they did set a curfew for the town so that they could be sure no one gets kidnapped or runs away in the night. People in town weren’t allowed to leave their houses after 6PM. That was supposed to keep us safe?
I called Ava. So far, all of our friends, aside from the twins, had gone missing. I wanted to make sure that she was alright but mostly I wanted to make sure that she was safe. She answered the phone.
“Hey what’s up,” I heard her voice on the other end of the call. She was her usual perky self but I could sense a hint of grief in her voice. I knew that Ava would be the most torn apart by the disappearance of our friends. She was so close to everyone.
“Just making sure you’re ok. I know it’s rough for you with everyone going missing and all. And I wanted to make sure you’re being safe too. I don’t want you to disappear as well.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not going anywhere Neil. I promise.”
“You’re being safe though?”
“Eh, I guess. I’m staying in after six. That’s all I can really do.”
“True…so how are you handling this? The disappearances?”
“I’m sure they’ll be found eventually. It’s strange that everyone who sits at our lunch table disappeared though. It’s like someone is targeting us or something. I’m starting to get worried that maybe the twins or next…or maybe even you.” The idea chilled me. Ava thought that someone was intentionally taking everyone who sits with us at lunch and she was scared that I could be next? I’d never thought of it that way before. I didn’t want to think of it that way.
“Yeah I hope not. I hope no one else disappears. Just…stay safe ok? I can’t lose you. Not now. Not when I need you most.”
“I know. Like I said, I promise I’m not going anywhere. I love you. I’ll die before I let them take me and we’re definitely not eloping anytime soon like they think Pedro and Vic did, right? It’ll be ok Neil, I promise. I’ll talk to you later ok? I have a ton of homework that I still haven’t finished.”
“Sure…Later Ava.”
“Later.” With that, she hung up first.
The next morning, Ava’s mother was reported missing. She had followed the curfew and she hadn’t run away (where would a middle aged housewife run to?). Someone had to have taken her. What really alarmed me was that someone would have had to enter Ava’s house to take her mother. The fact that it could’ve been Ava who disappeared was nauseating.
After that day, there was another person reported missing in our town every other day, sometimes every day. Sometimes two or ten disappearances reported a day. The police had their hands full now and it really wasn’t helping that a lot of the police were disappearing as well. By the end of the month, we were left with a single officer, who then shot himself in the night, painting a wall with his brains, because he was so overwhelmed with his work and the realization of how awful the world really is. He couldn’t stand to be here any longer. I assumed cops and people in other towns were disappearing as well because no one came to help. Either they were disappearing or they were too afraid to come. It became anarchy in our town and still people were rapidly going missing.
One night, both of my parents disappeared without a trace. I was past grief. I’d seen eighty percent of the town disappear already. It was no surprise to me that my parents were gone as well. In fact, I had been expecting it. After they disappeared, I went to live with Ava and her dad. Her father was reluctant to do so, but he took me in. He let me sleep downstairs on the couch, far, far, far, away from his daughter’s bed. It didn’t matter whether or not he wanted me there though. He went missing the next morning anyway.
After that, it was just me, Ava, the twins, a few teachers, a few shopkeepers, and just miscellaneous people. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to the disappearances. Whoever was taking them, was just taking anyone they could find. Within a week from the day Ava’s dad disappeared, there was no one left in town but me, the twins, and Ava. I remember that last night with her. The four of us were gathered at her house, all of us huddled up in the living room watching each other intently for fear that someone would disappear into the air. There was a storm going on outside. I could hear the thunder and every once in a while, the house was illuminated by lightning coming through the windows. Around 2AM, the power went out. Just our luck right?
Ava immediately took her phone out of her pocket and used the light from the screen to see. The twins were gone. She sighed and looked at me, her eyes clearly saying “and then there were two”. I reached down to my pocket to retrieve my phone as well but it wasn’t there. I turned around and felt around on the floor for it, figuring that I must have fallen out of my pocket. Finally, I found my phone on the floor under the couch. I turned it on and used the light to see. To see my Ava. The last person in town besides myself. I was too late. I directed the light to where she had been sitting. There was nothing left of her but her phone sitting on the floor, still unlocked, the screen glowing with the wallpaper of me and her together at the park.
It felt like weeks had passed before the realization hit me that I was the only one left. In reality it was only a few moments but it felt like so long. The fact that I was the last one meant that I was certainly next. No doubt about it. I turned off Ava’s phone and waited there in the dark for them to take me.
I woke to the sun streaming through the window and hitting me in the face. It took me a moment to realize where I was. Still on the floor of Ava’s living room. I’d fallen asleep there. I began searching for Ava before I remembered what had happened the night before. Ava was gone. Ava was gone and she wasn’t coming back. Then a thought occurred to me. What if I could get her back? Could I get her back? Could I save her?
I liked the thought of going all Superman and rescuing everyone in town (especially Ava) but how was I supposed to do that? I was only human and I was next. Any moment, I would disappear and there would be nothing I could do about it. I climbed up on the couch and looked out the window, separating the blinds with my fingers and peeking through the slit at the empty road. It had been only a few hours since I became the last victim but the paranoia was already killing me.
I watched the road, waiting for my captors. Nothing. But then I saw something. Someone. It startled me. I hadn’t seen anyone in the road for a long time. But sure enough there he was. At first I thought it was someone from another town coming to help but I should’ve known better. Everyone was too afraid to come to our town. Fear of being abducted. They were right to be afraid. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I recognized the boy in the road. Deon. One of the twins who’d gone missing the night before. What was he doing in the road? As far as I knew, he’d disappeared and even if he hadn’t, if he kept walking in the road, he’d be missing soon enough. I saw something else out of the corner of my eye. Dianne. His sister was rushing down the road to join him.
I rushed toward the front door to go into the road and join them. I flung the door open and hurried through Ava’s front yard and onto the pavement. Dianne and Deon weren’t startled by my sudden presence. They seemed…different. They had a different aura about them. Not the usual twins/best friends/sibling love vibe they usually gave off. I sensed something evil about them. Sinister. I stopped where I stood and just looked at them. They stared back, growing impatient, waiting for me to say something. I spoke.
“D-Deon…Dianne…where’d you go last night? I was worried. They took Ava last night. I thought I was the only one left. I".” Dianne cut me off. Her voice was different. Lower but still a girl’s voice. She sounded…purely malevolent.
“You are the last one left Neil.” She said promptly. “You’re the last one left. But you’re not coming with the others.” I looked at her for a moment, not processing what she had said.
“Di, what are you talking about? I’m not the last one. You’re here, Deon is here. We’re the last three. And why wouldn’t I be going with the others eventually? It’s not like I’m immune to a kidnapping. Do you know something I don’t? Do you have news? Did the abductor leave town finally? Have cops from another town caught him?” Deon spoke this time.
“Di, come on we need to get going. Master will be angry if we’re late. We already have all of them we just need to get back. Leave him. He’s useless to us. Don’t worry about him. No one would believe a word he says about this even if there were anyone for him to tell.” Dianne listened to her brother without taking her eyes off of me.
“You go, Deon. I’ll be there in a while. If Master notices my absence, try to cover for me.” Deon nodded once and headed down the road in the direction of the school. I could see the building from where I was standing. Why the school? What was at the school? School had been closed a long time ago since there weren’t enough kids to teach or teachers left to teach them. Dianne spoke to me again.
“Neil,” she began, taking a long pause, “I’ve grown to like you. I’ve come to love you like a brother. Not nearly as much as Deon but close. So I’ll tell you what’s going on. But I want you to know that if you think for one second that anyone will believe you, you’re wrong.” I nodded once. “Neil…Deon and me…we’re not like you. We were born to human parents but we weren’t raised by them. They were killed in an accident when we were just babies. Master found us and took us in. And…he’s something else entirely. Something foreign. Not foreign like from another country. He’s foreign to this world. You wouldn’t understand. I never wanted this. I wanted to be normal and be raised by a human family as a human girl…Neil I’m only human,” she began to cry “, but Deon is close to Master and I’m close to Deon. So I stayed. Master…he’s a sort of scientist…a sort of…biologist… for his…people…if you can call them that…they want to understand us humans. He collected what he needed and now we’re leaving. It’s that simple. Don’t follow us ok? Don’t question it and don’t run to anyone about it because no one will believe you. Goodbye Neil.” With that, Dianne wiped a single tear from her pale cheek and headed in the direction of her brother, leaving me standing in the middle of the road, stunned

© 2016 Alexzandria R.

Author's Note

Alexzandria R.
I know I overuse commas. Please ignore that. Review based on the overall plot. I encourage constructive criticism but please don't be rude :)
The story continues in Only Human: Phobia

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Added on July 16, 2016
Last Updated on July 16, 2016