I guess I’ve always just been lucky that way. I was the smallest, skinniest kid in each class and the bullies always seemed to want to befriend me. I disliked participating in compulsory team sports in secondary school and was always chosen to captain the teams I played on. I dropped out of school and the world ended. Literally.
So now here I am, the only person I know who is alive, alone in paradise. The lack of running water and smell were the hardest to deal with in the beginning. Until I realised that rivers were running water and that corpses eventually return to the earth without odour. Fruit is plentiful. I experiment with different vegetables and legumes to varying degrees of success. I’m too lazy to hunt meat. It’s time consuming and a waste of energy.
I drove to the library in town last week. There is, obviously, no internet or any other telecoms. That all went on the day the world ended. I didn’t even miss the social networks. I’d never signed up to any of them. So I went to the library to collect books from which I can learn practical skills. One is about automobile mechanics; last month I drove a car to town and it broke down on the way back. There were plenty more replacements to choose from once I’d returned to town, but I was reminded of my vulnerability. One day I want to drive inland and see what happened there. I don’t know how badly some of those towns got wiped out, so if my car has problems along the way, I need to fix it myself.
I lie in my hammock reading my book when she arrives. I am less surprised by her than I had anticipated. The way she walks and talks reminds me of my mother’s old friends. I invite her to have tea on my porch.
“At this point we are just over one hundred survivors,” she informs me as the tea brews on the table between us. “Plus you, hahahaha.”
I don’t laugh.
“We have already discussed how we will re-create society and government the way it was. Such wonderful news, isn’t it.” she says.
“Mmmmmmph,” I say.
“You don’t seem too happy to hear that, young man.”
“No, I am. It’s just that I like to be on my own. I like my life the way it is right now. But it’s cool to know there are others.”
“Aren’t you lonely? Scared?”
“Oh loooooooooord,” she throws her hands up as I pour the tea. “I used to get so lonely. And afraid! It’s my age, you know. Then I found I wasn’t the only one still alive.”
“Sugar?” I ask.
“I don’t have milk. Yet.”
“Aaaaaah, hahahaha. Yes, running fridges are in shorter supply than stationary cows. Haha.”
She takes a sip of tea. Her eyes are surprised for less than a second before her body hits the floor.
“Haha,” I say.
Written for: The Parking Lot Confessional