Last Man On Earth

Last Man On Earth

A Story by Alexzandria R.

A man goes to sleep after a hard day at work only to wake up and find that everyone--everyone, their pets, their possessions, even their cars--are gone.

It was a Wednesday. I had just finished my shift at the Sheetz station down the road. I remember I had the night shift and that night had been a long one. So many customers, many of them asking too many questions, the answers to which were obvious and often in plain sight. Drinks are in the back, the milkshake machine works like this: read the directions on the sticker, yes we sell snacks, and no we do not sell actual sheets. People can be clueless.
That shift was stressful and by the time I got home, I was ready to just sleep forever. I took my usual sleeping meds, which were strong and allowed me to sleep through just about anything, and crawled into bed, still wearing my Sheetz uniform. I slept through the night without even turning over in my bed. When I woke, it became apparent to me that I had slept through a lot more.
My alarm went off at 5AM. I would need to be at work by 5:30. Boss man was a real stickler for punctuality. I dragged myself out of my bed reluctantly and with a stiff neck before leaving the room and getting ready to go to work. Preparing myself to deal with more customers. The worst ones usually came at night though.
I walked from the bedroom to the kitchen, shuffling my feet, still half asleep. Half asleep may not even be the word for it. It was more like two thirds or four fifths asleep. I was more asleep than awake. I shuffled toward the large window in the kitchen which took up most of the wall. The apartment was microscopic but this one window helped ease the feeling of claustrophobia.
I looked down from the kitchen window at the ground below and the roads. The snow looked as if it were maybe a foot high now. There were tracks in the snow from the other tenants’ kids stomping around in it. There were a few snow angels and a short, poorly built snowman with patches of yellow that looked like fading bruises. When people say “don’t eat the yellow snow”, that also means “don’t play in the yellow snow”, but I guess some people didn’t get that.
After looking out the window for a while, I prepared my breakfast of cinnamon Chex cereal with milk and ate slowly and sleepily. After that, took a shower, which was meant to wake me up a bit but failed to do so. I put on my uniform, brushed my teeth, and combed my hair. Still, I was more ready to hibernate than to go to work.
Sometime during my daily routine I spent too long doing something. It could have been my shower or my breakfast or something like that but whatever it had been that had made me take so long, it caused me to leave my small apartment at 5:45. Boss would definitely be angry. Though it was only my second time being late he may have fired me the second I walked through the glass door. That is, if he would have been there. If anyone had been there.
I left the apartment knowing that that would most likely be the day I lose my not-so-well-paid job at Sheetz. Well-paid or not though, it was all I had. How would I pay rent if I lose my job? What about my car insurance? Groceries? If I lost that job, I was basically homeless. Not like I could keep my apartment for much longer after getting fired. I already had three months of overdue rent to pay. My landlady was growing impatient and I was already right on the edge of getting evicted. I got into my car as fast as I could. The seat was freezing against the seat of my pants and the air was just as cold against my face. I attempted to start my vehicle only to find that the cold was going to prevent that for that day. Everything inside the car was frozen.
I stepped out of my car, my shoes filling with snow as I did so. Sheetz was just down the road and I didn’t need to drive (though that would have been much more comfortable and make me far less prone to hypothermia) so I walked to my job, feeling the snow in my shoes and trying to take it like a man. As I walked, I saw that the roads were icy and covered with snow. There wasn’t a single tire track to be seen. The snow plows hadn’t been out here yet? No one had put salt on the roads or anything like that? I doubted that even the boss was at work yet in these conditions.
As I walked, I looked around, taking in my surroundings. Though there wasn’t a single tire track on the road, there wasn’t a car to be found in any of the driveways aside from mine. Where had everyone gone? Peoples’ cars had to be frozen up like mine in this temperature. Even if they weren’t, there was no way they were going to drive on the roads. The pavement was covered in a blanket of snow about an inch or two thick with a sheet of ice underneath.
As creepy as it may sound, I attempted to look into some of the windows of the houses as I walked past. There wasn’t a single person inside any of the houses nor was there any type of furniture. I didn’t see a couch or a table or even some curtains. Where was everybody?
I arrived at work to find that there was no one there. The door wasn’t locked but the lights were off and no one was inside. I looked around at other buildings. The Shop ‘n’ Save across the street. The parking lot was empty. Houses at the other end of the alley? Unoccupied and unfurnished with no vehicles. Not even the pets were left behind. The dogs and the cats and the fish and the birds all gone with their owners.
I thought about going back home to see if I could get my car to start so I could check out the other towns but even if I could have, there was no way I was driving on those roads. I continued walking toward the next town, taking in the emptiness and loneliness of the world at that moment and trying to keep my mind off the freezing air biting at my skin like angry fleas.
I entered town after town, finding no one. No people, no vehicles, no animals. Just the buildings, the parking lots, the icy snowy roads, the drive ways. The only proof that people had ever been there was those buildings and parking lots and roads and driveways. It all reminded me that the place had once been populated.
As I wandered from town to town, something happened that made my stomach drop but gave me hope. I saw someone. As they got closer, I saw that it was a woman and as she got closer...I recognized her. Lorna. Lorna Rosaline Morelli. Lorna with her blonde hair and green eyes and gorgeous smile and pale skin that looked like that of an infant.
In the past, I’d tried time and time again to take her on a date sometime. To take her to dinner or maybe to a movie or maybe just to the park or something to hang out. Each time, my request was shot down by the same response response that wounded me every time. “Not if you were the last man on earth,” she’d say. But as of that Thursday in January, that disorienting confusing terrifying eleventh day of January, it occurred to me that I was the last man on earth. No more being “out of her league”. No more theoretical “league”. No more human race. We were alone. All that was left of humanity. Modern-day Adam and Eve. I grew hopeful for the first time that day. Thought maybe we would repopulate if we really were the only two here. With that thought, I saw her disappear. Where had she gone? Had she simply disappeared like everyone else or had she been a hallucination? Regardless of the answer to that question, she was gone. That’s all that mattered. I felt all that hope leave me. I was the only person there and I thought it highly implausible that someday I’d adapt to reproduce like an amoeba. There was no hope. With my death, the human race would be extinct.

© 2016 Alexzandria R.

Author's Note

Alexzandria R.
I know I overuse commas so please ignore that. Review based on the overall plot. I encourage constructive criticism but please don't be rude. :)

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