The Last Man On Earth

The last man on earth rides his bicycle through the fog. The only sounds he hears are the chain pulling over the gears and the steady hiss of his own breathing. He is not winded, even though he has been peddling steadily for several hours. After months of bicycling, he is in better shape than he has ever been.

He left his watch on the counter of a diner long ago. What need has he for keeping time? Time is a construct he no longer has any use for. His day begins when he wakes, and it ends when he sleeps. Other than that, he pays it no mind.

He doesn’t remember the name of the town he is in now. He doesn’t even remember seeing a sign on the way in, but that doesn’t surprise him. Names have little importance to him now. From what he sees–small, wooden houses, cars in driveways, green grass growing higher and more unruly as the days roll on–it could be any of the dozens, the hundreds, of towns that he’s ridden through since he became the last. Nothing changes, one place the same as the next.

He hears a distant barking, a dog somewhere in town. This most likely won’t be a problem. He can always use his rifle if he needs to, but generally the dogs he’s encountered have either been friendly or shied away from him. Only a few have been wild to the point of trying to attack him, and those he put down quickly. He was a good shot before, and a better shot after.

He picks a house at random, and rides up the driveway and across the lawn to the front door. He gets off the bike and leans it against the porch railing, before going up and trying the doorknob. It’s locked, so he uses the butt of his rifle to smash the glazing out. He knocks a few stubborn pieces of glass out, then reaches inside the door to find the deadbolt. In a moment, he has the door unlocked.

The house is exactly as he had imagined it would be, exactly as the one before this, and the one before that. Photos on the walls, which he ignores, coats on the hanger by the door, which he also ignores. He walks through the downstairs until he finds the kitchen, and then begins raiding the cabinets for food. Cans of tuna, bags of pasta, soup–the usual selection of items. He takes the pack off his back and fills it with as many items as he can carry.

He has a pan and a pot in the cart he has attached to the rear of his bicycle, and a large selection of matches and lighters for making fire. He’s glad that he hasn’t been forced to learn to spark a fire using sticks of wood. He’s no Boy Scout, not in the slightest.

He doesn’t check refrigerators anymore. The smell is generally so bad as to put him off eating for the rest of the day.

He could raid the grocery stores. They’re just as full of food as they would be if they had just opened for the day, but he prefers to look in the houses. The space inside is more intimate, less unsettling. When he does find it necessary to forage in the supermarkets (never having to break in, the doors always unlocked like they were when the end came for everyone but him, just another day open for business), he gets in and gets out as quickly as he can. The dark and heavy interiors push down on him like a hundred feet of water, and he knows that if he ever encounters a ghost on this empty earth, it will be in the supermarket.

Two years now.

No bodies. No ashes. No sign of what happened.

He thinks that if he isn’t mad already, then he soon will be.

Outside, the dog barks again, and a second dog picks up the call of the first.

He reminds himself to search for more ammo for the rifle. He’s not running low yet, but he’s getting there. Better safe than sorry.

A third dog joins in the chorus, this one closer than the others. It is a low and thick sound, which he thinks belongs to a larger breed than the other two, maybe a mastiff or a rottweiler.

More ammo, he thinks. Definitely more ammo.

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4 Comments

  1. How is it that your always manage to make post-apocalyptic scenarios seem appealing in their starkness?

    Reply
  2. oooh what is coming?

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  April 22, 2012

      I’ll have to figure it out in the next exciting chapter!

      Because there always is another chapter, really.

      Really!

      Reply

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