Last Man

Last Man

A Story by HarryWilo
"

The last man on Earth, tries to come to terms with his fate.

"

I: Last Man

The man stands over the freshly made grave and rudimentary headstone, in an awkwardly fitted suit. He had tried staying strong, but he can now feel tears approaching. He falls to his knees, as the rain starts again; not concerned with the wet mud.

‘At least no-one will be able to tell I’m crying,’ he thinks, smiling at the absurdity of it. ‘This is ridiculous. Two weeks ago, even all my grandparents were alive.’ He stares, almost mesmerised by the rain hitting the mud around him. “Ridiculous,” he says out loud.

Whenever he thought of death - despite how many times he’d had to deal with it in the last fortnight - it reminded him of an incident years ago, at an ex-girlfriend’s. The family dog had climbed onto the sofa, gently laying his head on his lap. The man had stroked him behind the ears, where most dogs, and especially Sammy, liked it.

He felt the dog's heart on his thigh, going steady it seemed. He was an old dog, riddled with the effects of age, but it was not until fifteen minutes later that he realised he could no longer feel his heartbeat. He hardly knew the dog, but he felt strangely touched that he had spent his last moments with him. To his surprise " and that of his girlfriend and her family - he had cried.

He looks up and laughs through the tears. As he looks down again, he begins to talk out loud. “I was never that social; people, in general, annoyed me. The high concentration of idiots in the world was only made worse by the fact that they were generally the ones with the power. But, this is just, well...this is taking the piss, isn’t it? There must be someone else left; I can’t be the only one!” He sighs. “I can’t be the last human to ever walk the Earth.”

He pauses, not quite able to shake off the feeling that talking to himself out loud, despite his predicament, was still a bit weird.

“I’ve struggled through all this death and confusion, only to be rewarded with an empty world. The last woman on Earth could have saved me; what am I supposed to do without her? Strange as this sounds, her departure felt more upsetting than anyone else’s.”

He continues to cry, letting himself fall forward, his forehead now hitting the mud. A minute or so passes before he feels something licking his face. He straightens back up slowly and strokes the last known dog on Earth.

He smiles slightly, as he turns to look across the English Channel, through the rain and mist. “There could be more survivors, Sammy” he nods, optimistically, as he begins to stand up. “But first; you need your din dins!”

 

II: Last Woman

He sees her from the cottage window.

He had been staring aimlessly out to sea, in a rare moment of peace and acceptance. The small rowing boat had caught his eye, gently rocking to the water’s rhythm. There was definitely a person within it.

Shocked. Excited. Terrified: he runs out the back door and down the narrow track to the beach about half a mile from the cottage, not concerned with his nudity. On the beach, he sees the boat, thankfully getting closer with the tide. All he can see of the person is her long blonde hair and her left hand hanging over the edge, fingernails painted red. She is face down, not moving.

He runs into the cold sea and begins swimming, his frantic strokes creating large unruly waves as he gets closer. Grabbing the side of the boat, he pulls himself up. He shakes her. She does not respond.

He looks towards the beach and pulls the boat to it, reaching it slower than he would have liked. On dry land, he picks her up and lays her on the sand, face up.

Despite the cuts on her face and the state of her clothing, he can see that she is very beautiful. She is not breathing. The man attempts CPR; the kiss of life; pushing down on her chest; 1, 2, 3. He is rewarded only with a mouthful of saltwater. But he continues. He has to.

“Breathe!” through the tears, he shouts, with optimism - “Breathe!” " and with anger.

He eventually stops.

He falls back into a sitting position, his eyes still fixed on the woman. Her head is turned towards him with her slender arm and hand outstretched in his direction; as if asking for the help he cannot give.

“Breathe,” he says quietly, to himself.

 

III: The Beginning

“You’re the last man on Earth and you’re going to kill yourself?”

The man looks up, from where he sits, on the edge of the car park top floor. The speaker is suddenly standing next to him. It is himself.

The man laughs, before turning back to the deserted city. “Are you my conscience?”

“Damn right. And just in the nick of time by the looks of it. “

”Well come on, what’s the point really?”

       “You were asking yourself that question long before any of this apocalypse malarkey. I think you are just using this as an excuse to give up.”

“I am using the extinction of mankind, as an excuse to give up on life?”

”Well...it sounds a bit silly when you say it so sarcastically.”

”By jumping off here, all I would be doing is finishing off what all humans started a long time ago - we have been killing ourselves for centuries.”

”Yeah, yeah; from wars to global warming to nuclear energy, blah blah f’in blah.”

”Why is my conscience a Daily Mail reader?”

”It’s not that you’re wrong, young man. It is that you are right! You are technically leader of the world; who gets this chance? Use it wisely!”

“How can I use it? There is no one to govern.”

”Well, you don’t know that for certain. It is highly likely you’re the last human left on the British Isles, but who knows - maybe it was confined.”

”We all saw the reports before it started - it didn’t even originate here.”

”Why so negative?”

”Have you not been listening?”

”You can start it all again! There might be an extremely attractive, sexually adventurous, liberal-minded female fan of Bob Dylan and Stanley Kubrick, just around the corner!”

“Did that type of woman even exist before all this happened?”

His conscience opens his mouth to reply, but stops, looking up in thought.

”Nothing will work anyway,” the man continues.  “We could only make one more generation before inbreeding started. And I don’t know anything. I can’t fix things or build things or anything; I know nothing that would progress the world and human knowledge.”

”All this is true. But we’re not talking technology or scientific progress. It’s about building a new world. A better world, where future generations are taught to create more than paper, to appreciate every second of their lives, because it is likely it is the only one they will have...and not to throw it away, when things start going against them.”

He looks down at the ground, many metres below.

”How likely is it that people I meet will think the same as me?”

”Oh, very unlikely. But I’d say it was worth a try. It is-”

”-to save the human race, after all.”

The man is alone, looking over at the silent city and cloudless sky above it. After a few seconds, he stands and walks away from the edge.

© 2011 HarryWilo


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Added on July 15, 2011
Last Updated on July 17, 2011
Tags: apocolypse, last man, death, life

Author

HarryWilo
HarryWilo

Nottingham, United Kingdom



Writing