Last Ones (Eschatology Narrative) This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 13, 2010
By , South Bend, IN
We float on our backs, looking up at the sky.

Boat is bed.

Winds are covers.

Sea is floor.

We close our eyes, and we can replace these with real beds, real blankets, real wood under our feet.

But we cannot imagine our families.

They have been gone too long.

There are four of us. Violet is tall, thin, and dark. She hasn't spoken once. I only know her name because Ryss told me. Ryss is quick. She used to run everywhere, but since we have been on a boat so long, she has lost her vitality. There is nowhere to run in the middle of endless water. Nolwenn is redheaded and pale. She has grown paler during our voyage, but she is always cheerful. I am the oldest.

We are a pack of strangers thrown together, like mismatched pieces from different games tossed together into a box.

The sun throws shards of lights on the waves. The horizon remains as smooth as glass. Nothing rises above the circle of ocean around us. We have been waiting for so long to see something, anything. But there is nothing.

I am so tired of looking at the sea. I am tired of looking at the sides of the boat. I am tired of looking at Violet's silent mouth, at Ryss's twitching hands. I am even tired of Nolwenn's pretty smile. Everything is the same, day after day, week after week.

The waves rock us ever so gently, like a mother rocking her child.

I get up and turn around in a slow circle. I do this methodically every day, searching for some sign of solid ground. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Ryss's eyes flick upward towards the movement, and then back down when she realizes it's just me. She drifts back into her dreams, and I slide back into mine.

The next day, I wake up. Stand shakily. Nothing. Back down. Nolwenn wishes for some water in a thin voice. I tell her to go back to sleep.

Days and days are the same, bleeding together like paints with too much water. Then, we are all jerked out of our feverish unconsciousness with a sudden noise.

"Land." The only word I've caught coming out of Violet's lips. She's standing up, staring out over the ocean. We ignore the burning of our dry throats and shout questions as fast as we can.


"Is it close? Where is it?"

"Are we there? Are there any people? Where, Violet?"

Soon we all see it. A coastal city. I can see the shapes of skyscrapers. I can't see any people, but we are far away. It will take us a long time to reach it. I frown.

"We won't get there for another half-hour at least." I say. Wind forces my hair in my mouth, and I spit it out.

We are all standing up now. We fix our eyes on the distant bluish hump, as if it will vanish if it is not kept under constant supervision. Eventually, though, Ryss grows tired and sits down again.

"We'll get there when we get there, I suppose." She says quietly. Violet soon follows. I wait one more minute, and then sink down onto the wood floor. We are silent. Our thoughts are loud in our heads, but we don't want to talk.

Nolwenn is the last one up. Her crimson hair dances wildly. Her hands grip the side of boat with such force that her knuckles turn white. She is still standing in the same position when we reach the shore.

The boat makes a scraping noise as it slides across the rocks. Our excitement renewed, we leap up and jump over the sides into the shallow water. Ryss lets out a small "Oh" at the cold, but she splashes along with the rest of us. When we get to the sand, we run faster then we ever have before. We're swaying from too much time on the boat, but we won't stop.

Our feet hit concrete. The city spreads out before, a jungle of cracked sidewalks and decrepit buildings. There is no sound.

"Hello!" Ryss calls. "Is anyone here? Helloooooo!" When she doesn't get any answer, she looks at me and shrugs. We delve further into the city, and still we can't find anything. Not one person, not even a dog or cat.

We run for almost an hour, pausing as little as possible. We are calling out all the while. We run and run and run. Finally, I stop. "There's no one here."

Ryss skids to a halt. "There's got to be!"

Nolwenn stops running too. "What's going on?"

Violet comes up behind me. She, as usual, says nothing.

Ryss spins around, searching. She sees a large house and runs up to it. Nolwenn reaches up for my hand, and then calls out to Ryss, "What are you doing?"

Ryss doesn't answer. She thumps up the concrete steps, and then throws open the cracked wooden door with a bang. She disappears inside. Nolwenn looks questioningly up at me, expecting me to do something about it. I don't do anything. Why should I?

Ryss dashes back out. "There's no one in there!" she shouts. She runs across the street and into another house. Nolwenn tugs on my fingers, commanding me to act. I ignore her. Violet sits down on a park bench by the sidewalk.

Ryss doesn't come out of the second house for almost ten minutes. "What were you doing in there?" Nolwenn screeches when she finally reappears.

"Just checking to see if the water was running, and if there was any food." Ryss mutters. She scampers towards yet another house.

"Was there any food?" Nolwenn asks. "Was there water?"

"No." says Ryss. She vanishes through the doorway.

I glance at Violet. She hasn't moved. Ryss runs back out of the house. "Nothing in there either!" she calls out, not stopping.

Nolwenn lets go of my hand. She starts nervously playing with the hem of her dirty shirt. "What will we do without food or water?"

"I don't know." I reply.

Nolwenn looks up at me, panicked.

Ryss is still running in and out of houses. There is no food, no water; there are no people.

We are completely alone.

Suddenly, I realize where I am and what is going to happen. The weight crushes me. I am Atlas, and the truth is the sky. I cannot hold it up any longer. So I start walking down the splintered sidewalk. Nolwenn hurries after me. "Where are you going?" she says.

"I don't know." I say. I walk faster. Nolwenn has to jog to keep up. "We have do something." she declares. "What're we going to do?'

"I don't know." I repeat. I don't know. I don't know.

"There's nothing we can do!" Violet yells unexpectedly. Nolwenn jumps, startled at the sound. She looks back over her shoulder at Violet, who's still on the park bench. I speed up even more. Nolwenn follows after me as fast as she can. "Where are you going?!" she tries once more, her voice cracking desperately.

I don't know. I don't know. I hear a door slam, then another. Ryss is still going at it.

Nolwenn finally stops chasing me. She opens her mouth to say something, then closes it.

I'm really going fast now, getting farther and farther away.

"Stop!" Nolwenn orders. "Stop running!" I don't know if she's talking to me or Ryss. Maybe both. Neither of us stops. I tear down the street, past trees and telephone poles and buildings where people used to laugh and cry every day. The sun glares down on the world.

Empty, empty world.

I try to make my legs pump even faster.

Slam. Slam. "Nothing!" Ryss shouts. "Nothing! Nothing!"

Violet says nothing.

Nolwenn sits down and starts to sob.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

tacobell15 said...
Nov. 18, 2010 at 8:57 am
This story is so descriptive and beautiful! I love it! It really has a good message too. 
tacobell15 replied...
Nov. 18, 2010 at 8:58 am
Can you please check out my story? It's black and white (prob the one previous to yours actually) Thx!! And again- Luv ur story!
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