Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The 103rd Day of the Last Man on Earth

By Annie Fiore

As I begin to stir from a deep sleep, and before I open my eyes I pray that this time I will wake up and find that what I believed to be my life in a world without another human being is in fact a dream.  Sadly, as the many times before, the hopefulness dissipates when I open my eyes and I realize, again, that it is not a dream and I, Adam Charles Winston, am still alone in my shelter. I turn to the wall where I mark off the days.  Today is the 103rd day of my existence as the last man on earth.

The first day I awoke in my shelter from an unsettling night’s sleep, I couldn’t believe that I was still alive after the meteorite hit earth.  Afraid of what might be outside the door to my shelter I stayed in the confines of the 8x8 room, waiting and wondering what I would find when I finally got up enough nerve to venture out into what was left of the world.

After staying safely in my shelter for ten days, I decide it is time to find out what is happening outside.  Standing in front of the door that separates me from the unknown I feel my heart pounding in my chest as I reach for the latch to slide it open.  Apprehension grips my insides as I take hold of the door handle and pull the door open a crack … and then close it quickly.  Beads of perspiration form on my forehead and trickle down to my eyebrows.  I wipe them away with the back of my hand and take hold of the door handle again, this time pulling the door open all the way.  I am stunned to see the day of light, but have to shade my eyes as the sunlight is much too bright for eyes that spent ten days in a room with only the light from a battery operated lantern. 

My steps forward into the day were unsure as I looked at my surroundings and was overtaken by sadness for there was not a tree standing in what was a lush forest.  What remained of my ranch house was a pile of charcoal ashes dotted with some unidentifiable pieces of metal.  I fell to my knees and cried under a sky of blue with white clouds.

The days that followed were spent in search of life, any kind of life, an animal, an insect, something that was still breathing.  In my search, I found that devastation covered every acre of land that I walked on.  All evidence of life seemed to have disappeared. There was no sign of plant life of any kind.  What remained in some areas were the twisted skeletons of buildings, trucks and cars,  reduced to rubble. On one of my ventures I headed South on the Thruway. When I reached Newburgh, I continued on Route 303 to the airport.  There on the tarmac stood the brittle, frail outlines of aircraft sitting quietly on the tarmac of what once was the Stewart Airport. After that discovery, I decided to search no more and headed back to Saugerties.

On my trek back to my shelter I thought of how could this have happened? Is it possible that no one took the warnings of this mishap seriously?  Could it be that no one other than myself prepared for what was labeled the December Doomsday?  True, the media made jokes about what would happen if the meteor hit came to pass.  Experts around the world concurred that the earth was safe from the meteorite’s path. No one appeared to be concerned. Was this the reason the event wasn’t taken seriously?  Am I the only person who thought it was possible?

I remember when I made up my mind that I was going to be prepared.  I dug and blasted deep into the cliff behind my house.  My neighbors said that I was crazy.  They made fun of me.  I was the talk of our small town of Saugerties and probably beyond.  I blasted day and night and worked on building the door to my safe haven as the date of the expected Doomsday approached. Building my fortress deep into the side of the cliff gave me the confidence that I had a chance of surviving.  There was room enough for a sleeping bag, my bicycle, spare tires, first aid kit, and toolbox. I stored food, water, batteries and books, enough for 6 months. I moved my two laptop computers into the shelter with extra battery packs and a couple of journals. I was prepared for the worst case scenario. Today I wonder if I was crazy for saving myself.  At this point I have saved myself for nothing …for no one.

Tonight on the evening of my 103rd day as the last man on earth I sit down to eat my dinner when I hear a noise that sounds like a knock on the door.  I stop, put down my folk and hold my breath while I listen for the sound.  Again, there is the noise and it is a knock.  I jump up from my seat and rush to the door and open it.  Standing in front of me is a young woman.  I stare at her taking in her beauty.  Her long golden brown hair, her brown eyes, her flawless complexion and lips the color of the petals of a pink rose.  She smiles at me and says, “Hello, my name is Eve.”

copyright 2014 by Annie Fiore Nicoletti

 Annie Fiore-Nicoletti grew up in The Bronx.   She and her husband relocated to Saugerties in 1998.   She is retired from more than twenty-five years working in an administrative capacity in the health care sector.   Annie had a great imagination all of her life.  She started storytelling for her two granddaughters who she refers to as The Sunshine Girls.  It was Tanna and Teah who prompted her to put one of their favorite stories on paper.  Since then she has written several children’s short stories and is working on her first novel. Annie enjoys writing for pleasure and hopes to some day be published.  She is also the founder of the Saugerties Writer’s Club.

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