Written by: Ashlyn Erickson
"The Last Wanderer"
It has been about 8 years since humans and cyborgs fought on Earth. No one on Earth saw this way coming. Life was relatively peaceful, if you were among the wealthy. The cyborgs were after land, and Earth was thriving as a planet of abundance, the land of plenty. Cyborgs are selfish, they live to please themselves and don’t care who stands in their way, they will just destroy them anyways. Once the cyborgs got rid of all human beings, they declared Earth as their own. They finally had what they wanted. But the cyborgs didn’t understand how the Earth ran, it’s wealth stemmed from the hard work of the civilians who inhabited it. Without them, the Earth could not function the way Cyborgs expected it would. Quickly, Earth began to deteriorate, plants dying, buildings collapsing, and they couldn’t stop it. A class system grew quickly, Cyborgs divided into a system of immense wealth, or great poverty. Those among the poor were those who did not agree with the government, which is corrupt and power hungry. Well, there’s the back story. My name is Lee, and I’m one of the last humans to survive the war of 2047, and here’s my story.
The Cyborgs attacked my city when I was 10 years olds. I lost everything and everyone that was important to me. I’ve been running for years, and I have no idea where I am going. It has been a long, lonely road for me. I try to document what goes on in my life on a blog. I know no one can read it, but it’s mostly just for me. If I need to let off some steam, or talk about… you know… feelings and stuff, I go to my blog.
I’ve been walking through the desert for days with nothing but some cans of food and my oxygen tank. The desert has become toxic, so any human that would still be alive needs a tank. If I don’t get out of this desert before my tank runs out, I’m a dead man. But what’s wrong with dying? I have no one to live for, no one to miss me or remember me when I’m dead. I haven’t found one human left of this Earth, and I’ll probably die before I do.
After writing on my blog about my petty life or death speech, I kept walking as on does. But to my amazement, as I walked over the hill of orange, hot sand, I saw the most incredible thing. It wasn’t another 50 miles of dry, dusty land, it was an abandoned city. Not any abandoned city, this was a city untouched by Cyborgs.
“Absolutely amazing.” I said, gasping for words in complete aw.
I walked closer to the abandoned city, untouched by any unearthly life form. The structures stand tall, the columns dusty and rigid. I quickly drew what I saw, I’m prone to drawing what I think is too beautiful to forget. It reminded me of the city I once lived in long ago. I walked along the barren streets for a while, when I heard footsteps. I turned around quickly, my helmet creates a lack of peripheral vision. But the footsteps were gone. I walked slowly, the pavement loose underneath my feet. All of a sudden, I hear the footsteps sprinting towards me. I try to turn around, but who ever it is has already body checked me to the ground. I look up, expecting to see a Cyborg ready to arrest me. But when I looked up, I was stunned. Right there, standing in front of me, a human being. I could tell she was shocked too, as she stood there staring just as I was.
“Human?” I added.
“Oh my god” she said starring down at me. We sat in silence for what seemed for a long time, until she spoke quickly.
“I’m sorry, let me help you up” she offered her hand.
“Thank you” I grabbed her hand, the first human hand I’ve touched in years. It was covered by a glove, but still, she’s no Cyborg. I made a mental note to draw her in my sketchbook.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Lee, what’s yours?”
“Do you live here, Ella?”
“Yes, have been for a while now. This is the only place they haven’t found yet, but I’m running out of oxygen. I’d say I’ve got a couple weeks worth left.”
“Well, I guess you’re stuck with me for the rest of your life” I smiled.
“I guess I am”, she smiled as she turned and walked to the nearest building.
Only two weeks had gone by with Ella coming into my life, but it seemed as if I’d known her for an eternity. Maybe it was just the severe lack of socialization, maybe it was just my brain trying to survive on what little oxygen I had left. All I knew was that I loved Ella.
And that terrified me.
The easiest part of being the only person left on earth is that you only have to care for yourself. I know that sounds selfish but who else can you care for on an empty planet? That is why I was terrified. My love for Ella gave me a new purpose. No longer was I surviving for myself. I was surviving for Ella. This new sense of love and protection hit me like a tidal wave, knocking me down to my knees. But I have to stand. I have to walk through the crashing waves threatening to swipe my feet out from underneath me with every hit. This love can’t distract me from what is important. Staying alive.
No. That is not important. Wait, isn’t it? Living for years alone and I had come to the conclusion that dying was a completely viable option, but now I question myself. Why? Why is staying alive so important?
To be with her.
Love is stupid.
Ella and I took camp within the city we discovered weeks ago. Both our oxygen supplies were low. Ella guessed that we only had a week left. We packed up our supplies, ready to continue forward to try to find a place free from the desert toxins. As we started the journey along the main road, I felt rumbling beneath my feet. I stopped in my tracks, grabbing Ella’s arm so we could stop and listen. The rumbling grew louder and I turned to see what I prayed it would not be. Cyborgs. Rows upon rows marching closer and closer to Ella and I. By instinct I grabbed Ella’s hand and began to run. She pulled me back, standing her ground. I was confused, why wasn’t she running?
“Ella, we need to go.”
“Why?” she asked blatantly.
“You are a lot of things, but you are not blind. Cyborgs, thousands of them. Lets MOVE.”
I turned to run again, yet she still held me back.
“Lee. We can run but what if we don’t get out of the desert? They will find us in the end. They always have.”
“But we can get out of this desert. We have outlived billions, Ella.”
“And what more will a couple weeks prove? That we are stubborn and can’t accept our fate? Our tanks are going to run out in the end. The cyborgs will find us in the end.”
Tears came to Ella’s eyes as her weak knees crumbled under the pressure. I caught her, gliding her down with me.
“I am tired..” she whispered. I held her helmet closer to mine, looking at her face that I never got to touch.
“So am I.” I replied.
By now we both knew what was going to happen next. She slowly placed her hands on either side of my helmet, as did I with hers. We both unlocked the latches and removed them from our suits. I threw hers off to the side, then taking off my gloves. I stroked my hand through her hair and to her cheek, taking in the sensation I hadn’t felt in years. I wiped her tears with both hands, framing her face with my palms. I could taste the condensed air in my mouth, every breath felt like rocks were packing up within my lungs, but it didn’t bother me. All I was thinking about was how perfect this moment was. She touched my face with hands, gliding me closer to her lips. Our lips crashed together, much like a tidal wave crashing into me, but I no longer wanted to stand up and push through it. Instead, it would glide me along its course. I was but mere debris within the almighty powerful current.