by Cat Voleur
A piece of flash fiction from the perspective of the apocalypse's last survivor.
The plants were the first to go – they just withered away after the last of the bombs went off. The animals died out soon after. Humanity went on for a little while, but they struggled. The undead carried on after the humans had dropped off, I guess because it takes the dead longer to starve on average. When the last few hundred people to succumb to either the virus or the radiation finally did reanimate, there stopped being any source of food for even the zombies. When they stopped feeding they eventually stopped moving, and then they stopped doing anything at all. They left me all by myself.
It would be nice to think that there’s a place out there somewhere that’s been unaffected by all of this, that the nuclear fall-out left even one small patch of the Earth untouched. I’m inclined to believe otherwise, however. I’ve been nearly everywhere that there is to go and as far as I’ve seen – there’s nothing. It’s been so long since I’ve seen any traces of other life. It really is just me.
I don’t know how I’ve managed to make it this long when no one else did. I didn’t do anything differently. I salvaged what I could, ate what I could, scraped by as best I could – but so did everybody else as far as I can tell. Maybe I’m just wired differently. Who knows? I certainly don’t and there isn’t anyone else left for me to ask. The only thing I am sure of is that for as long as I’ve been going, I won’t be able to go much longer. I’ve been doing nothing but surviving for so long now and I’ve grown so incredibly tired.
I finally allow myself to collapse, landing hard on the rough ground. I barely feel my collision because I feel so numb; numb and tired and cold and hungry. It’s a sad existence. It’s an even sadder thing, what we’ve done. The human race created a monster, and instead of destroying it, or better yet, fixing it, they chose to go for the nukes. They thought that the path of least resistance was just to end it all and as a result the entire planet got destroyed.
Humans and zombies worked together to bring down civilization whether they meant to or not. Who’d have ever thought that the apocalypse would end up being man-made? The sad thing about it was that we were all the same. Some of us were infected, some of us weren’t, but we all came from the same place and when it came down to it we wanted all the same things. We should have been working together – that seems so simple from here in the aftermath. If we’d cooperated, we could have had a cure. We could have restored life instead of choosing to end it. Now we have nothing at all, and there is no ‘we’ anymore. It will just be me, and that will be how it remains until that time when I too stop existing.
I wonder what will become of this place when I go. Nothing, I expect. I’m just the last remaining ghost of something that once was, and I fear that when I finally give in and fade away there will just be a whole eternity of nothing. There will be no one left to remember us, or to weep over what we’ve done. I don’t want to go. I’m terrified to die after all this time, but what else can I do? There’s no food, no hope and no salvation. At least not existing can’t be worse than this. Maybe when I pass it will put an end to the expansive loneliness that grows ever fiercer inside me.
I relax my body and close my eyes, letting the darkness take my vision. I don’t remember the last time I slept and I was starting to think that I never would again. I know that if I rest now, I won’t ever be getting back up but the longer I stay down the better it feels. I just hope that whatever waits for me on the other side is kinder than this place has been. My last thought is a strange one. People feared the world would run out of humans, but no one stopped to fear what it would be like in this final moment when I let the darkness take me and the world runs out of zombies.
Featured in "Horror/Scary Newsletter (July 13, 2016)"
Published in The Siren's Call eZine Issue 27
Winner of the 2016 PDG Awards: