Paradisus Solitarios pt 1

Paradisus Solitarios pt 1

A Story by TJ

At first, he thought the kid was a hallucination like all the others. And he kept thinking that. Even after he reached out and touched the kid, felt his warmth, felt his heart flapping along in his chest. Even after he spoke to the boy and the boy spoke back. Even after the kid followed him everywhere he went and ate with him and slept beside him and asked questions of him a thousand questions. Even after all this, the man wondered.

“Are you real?” he’d ask the boy.

“I think so?” the boy would answer. Always a question, though. Always with a question mark.

Then the boy would laugh, and the man would laugh, and neither of them would care if they were real. They were at least together.

“When’s the last time you saw anyone,” the man asked.

“I see you now.”

“No,” said the man, “besides me.”

“I’ve never seen anyone else.”

“What?” the man asked. “Now that can’t be true. What about your momma and your daddy?”


“Someone had to feed you, right?” the man said.

The kid shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. And just like that, he was done talking.




The sun was tucked half below the horizon, setting it ablaze. The clouds were black shadows against an orange, abrasive looking sky. The sky had gotten more colorful over the last few years, and the man found himself again hoping for purple. A purple sunset. That’d be something for the boy to see.

The next day they walked. No destination. No origin. Just walking. Giant vines crawled up the sides of rotting skyscrapers. Fissures in the sidewalk had grown into canyons, and filled with some of the most beautiful gardens that the man had ever seen. Hot and loud with color, they reflected on the never-ending glass of the old skyscrapers and stretch on in three dimensions. They would’ve been called weeds before, now they were just magnificent.

A small herd of horses trotted past them, not even sparing them a glance. A conspiracy of ravens shadowing them in the air.

“You know,” said the man, “before, this side walk would’ve been full of people. Tens of thousands of people rushing past each other going to their jobs. The streets would be full of cars driving people where they need to go.”

“I’ve never seen a car,” the boy said. “I mean, I’ve seen pictures in old magazines and seen them all falling apart on the side of the road, but I’ve never seen one that worked.”

“They were big and loud and dirty, but man we loved ‘em. They were way more than just a way to get around, they were like an extension of you. People loved their cars. They were beautiful.”

“What were people like?” the boy asked.

“Like us. They were just like us.”

“What do you think happened to them?” the boy asked.

“Same thing that happened to me - to us. We were all given our own little world. Everyone is out there. I see them sometimes. Like ghosts. Catch little glimpses of them, see their shadows, through whatever this veil is that keeps us from seeing each other. So we all just wander alone. For so many years…”

“Do you think there’s a way to get to them?” the boy asked.

“Maybe. I don’t know. I’ve given up on looking.”

Then the man looked at the boy. Really looked at him.

“How old are you?” he asked.

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. And just like that, he was done talking.




They spent that afternoon working their way to the top of the tallest building they could find. There were no elevators and some sections of stairs had filled with almost-impenetrable vines, others had caved in altogether; they had to inch along the wall. But they did make it to the roof, and that night the sunset exploded with all the purples and blues and yellows the man had been wishing for.

He pointed the boy to the horizon. “Look,” the man said. “How you like that?”

The boy stared, stunned. “Is it real?”

“Yep. Happens all the time now.”

“That’s so awesome,” the boy said. “I never looked at the sky before.”

“I don’t think I did very much before all this, either. I look a lot now, though. Gotta make sure it’s still up there.”

Soon the sun sunk into the horizon, bleeding over the purples and yellows, until the red finally turned to black and the stars emerged. No clouds.

“I think those are people,” the boy said, pointing.

“There are a lot more of them now that the people are gone,” the man said.

“Yeah,” said the boy. “And I feel like they’re watching me. Even during the day when I can’t even see them. I feel like they’re up there looking at me.”

“Maybe,” the man said. “Maybe someone is up there watching you, but the other people are down here with us. Maybe right beside us.”

“I wish we could see them,” the boy said. “I feel like I miss someone.”


The boy shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. And just like that, he was done talking.




The man saw someone the next morning. He and the boy were descending the stairs, and as he turned on the landing, he saw it. Full bodied, full figured. It was barely more than shadow - he could almost see through it - but it was there. He could smell it, feel its presence in a way he hadn’t felt in years. He could see its face. The features wouldn’t quite mesh together, but the eyes, the nose, the mouth, he could see it all. And then it was gone.

He gasped, grabbed ahold of the boy.

“Did you see that?” he asked.

“Was it a person?” the boy asked.

“Yes,” the man said. He was smiling now. “It was, and he’s still here somewhere. Probably walking right past us.”

“Do you think he saw us?”

“Yeah,” said the man. “I’m pretty sure he did.”

“Why can’t we try to find him?”

“I used to look for them. Spent years looking for… I don’t know. The door. Trying to figure how to get to other people,” the man said. “Gave that up a long time ago, though. Pointless search. Don’t even know what I’m looking for.”

“Maybe we can start looking again.”

“Why? You might not even like people.”

“I like you,” the boy said. “I’m not as scared with you.”

“Scared? There is no one else on the planet but us. What could you be scared of?”

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. And just like that, he was done talking.




“Did you like people? Do you miss them?”

They were a few days outside of whatever city they’d been, on dirt road now - if you could even call it a road. The paved roads were basically gone now, dirt roads were little more than low-grass trails.

“People had their problems,” the man said, “but they were ok. Yeah, I’d say I miss ‘em.”

They didn’t say anything else. They zigged and zagged what little path was walkable. The man could hear water flowing nearby, smell the dew in the air, and soon enough a stream grew out of the distance. It was shallow, nothing they couldn’t walk through, but the hot sun was just reaching its apex and the man thought this a perfect time for a break. The water was so clear that they could see the rocks at the bottom, and count every single trout that flickered past. The man knelt and cupped water in his hands and drank. The boy followed suit… or tried to; he couldn’t quite get the water to stay in his hands long enough to get from the stream to his mouth. He tried, tried, tried again and each time he ended up with nothing but damp hands. He huffed and smacked the water in frustration. The man tried to suppress his laughs, but couldn’t and soon the boy was laughing, too. And he splashed the man with a wallop of water and the man splashed back.

They relaxed for a bit at the edge of the stream, decided they’d give the sun some time to ease up. They found a shady spot and tossed around a small football that the man had in his bag. Then, the man led them on a short search for some edible berries, but they didn’t find any.

“Why do you carry a football with you?” the boy asked once they’d relaxed again underneath a shade-tree.

“Something from a past life,” the man said. “Just like to keep it with me.”

Silence for a few moments, then the boy asked, “Before the people left, did you have a family? Did people love you?”

The man shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. And just like that, he was done talking.

© 2013 TJ

Author's Note

Hope you enjoy.
More coming soon.
If you notice any quotes that should be dashes, let me know. (stupid glitch, lol)
Twitter fiction - @timmystales

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


wow. the whole post apocalyptic thing is well covered - very much like vampires so it can be a hard sell but you've treated it with creativity and originality. Love the dialogue between the two and had empathy for a child who had never seen anyone before. Very nice! great story.

Posted 11 Years Ago

I just loved this read... You have me hook line and sinker in to the story... that quickly! I am not a reader of fiction or stories; I am a poet and a non-fiction junkie, but this is a story I could get lost inside of. Wonderfully written, compelling work.

Posted 11 Years Ago

This was really amazing. As you read it leaves you with more and more questions and by the end you have a bunch of questions and no answers...Amazing.

Writing keeps the dream alive

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Haha that's why I was going for! Stay tuned for part 2 :)
Nice work, looking forward to pt.2

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Thanks for the review, London. Hope all has been well with you.
Nice work, looking forward to pt.2

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


5 Reviews
Added on February 25, 2013
Last Updated on February 27, 2013
Tags: Literary, Post-Apocalypse, Alone, life after people



Virginia Beach, VA

My name is TJ and I'm still just your typical aspiring author :) Follow me on twitter @tj_coles And for some short stories in 140 characters or less follow @timmystales more..

The Last Lie The Last Lie

A Story by TJ

The Last Promise The Last Promise

A Story by TJ

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..