He stood over the man, his shadow distorting the light around the body. The man gazed down on the body, where already, marks of strangulation lined the other man’s throat. But this death did not faze the murderer. He was just another poor soul.
The man walked away at a brisk pace, there was no need to hide the body. No one who would care was still alive. Once a good couple of blocks away, the man slowed his pace. He began to stroll, past bombed out, crumpled buildings. Past bodies of those not like himself. Finally, he came to a building that was far worse off than the others, and this was the one he went into.
From the inside, the building was like a hollowed out tree trunk. Most of the floors above his head were long gone, leaving broken tiles spiraling up, hugging the walls above his head. The thirteenth floor, however, was still intact entirely, and so the man climbed up. The old staircase was rickety, but it would hold for as long as they needed it. Into the door labeled thirteen, and below that, a sign that read: Genetically Modified Superhuman Testing. Into a small room.
Three of the walls that surrounded the room were plain gray cinderblock, marked with graffiti from before the end of the world, but the fourth wall was flat and gray. At first glance, that wall looked normal, but upon closer inspection, it was easy to tell that the fourth wall was a flat screen. On the screen, a scientist appeared.
In a cold demeanor, he said, “Finally, it is almost complete. There is one more human. One more standing in the way of perfection, of a perfect world. Kill her. End the human race. The time of the genetically modified humans is upon us! Now go!”
The man said nothing in return. The idea of murder did not make him recoil in shock. He felt nothing for the last life that was to be lost, and nothing for the billions of other people killed in horrible brutal ways. This was why he was created after all. To rid the world of it’s imperfections. Soon. So, so soon, it would be time. Time to reshape the world, like a child remodeling clay.
The murderer walked out of the room. Mind focused on the task at hand. He strolled down another destroyed road. This last human, the last of a dying race, was somewhere in this desolate New York City. It wouldn’t take long to find her. He wouldn’t bother looking in the crumpled buildings that could collapse at any minute. Humans like security. She would be in one of the more stable buildings.
And so, he walked. The city itself, had an overall feel of death. The buildings stood tall but forlorn, almost like they know the war has been lost. But, rising out of the asphalt, stands a building that is still fighting the destruction, with the last of the will of the city depending on it. This was where she would be, and humans weren’t very smart, she would be on one of the higher floors, unknowingly cornering herself. The man went into the building. It looked like it was once an office. The first floor was a lobby, that would have been nice if the wear and tear of the apocalypse hadn’t taken its toll. The floor was a nice cream colored marble tile, that had been chipped, and destroyed over time. In one corner lay a dead fern. A few couches were just in front of the fern, and on the other wall, an old desk. The desk had an ancient looking computer, but nothing else on it. The man walked around to the back of the desk, anything big enough to hide a person would have to be searched thoroughly. The girl was not anywhere on the first floor. This was evident, because after the murderer searched the lobby, it looked like a bomb had gone off—more so than before. So, he went and searched all of the other fifteen floors.
He didn’t find her anywhere, and so, a little defeated—but not too much—he went back to the lobby. He knew that she could only elude her death for so long. As he was exiting the stairwell, he saw the back of a young woman racing away. The man jumped. He began to sprint after her, like a lion tracking his prey. But the thrill of the chase had not clouded this skilled hunter’s mind. He knew he couldn’t leave this building standing. If she had almost gotten away by hiding in there once, then there was the possibility of her finding refuge in there again—and that was not an option. So he pulled out a small grenade from his pocket, pulled the tab, and as he ran out the front door of the building, threw the grenade over his shoulder. The man is already following the girl around a corner and onto another street, when an explosion rocked the very foundation of the city. The girl stumbles, but remains upright, and keeps running, knowing that if she gets caught, death will be imminent. Her pursuer, does not even falter a step, as the explosion destroys the already broken down everything—he evens quickens his pace.
They ran through the city, the girl hooking sharp lefts and rights trying to shake her follower, but she was only human and knew she couldn’t run forever—and unfortunately, her pursuer also knew that. The man, however, was a modified human, built to live in harsh conditions, to sustain long periods of exertion, bred to kill brutally without the slightest feeling of remorse. She was on the losing side and she knew it. Why not just give in? She asked herself. Make it easier on everyone. I could slow down, let him catch me. He could kill me right here on the street, and no one would care. I could probably make my death shorter, and less painful too. But some small part of her resolved to keep going, somehow, she couldn’t accept the idea of making things any easier on the man who was trying to kill her. Her breathing was ragged, her legs like over cooked noodles. She frantically looked around for a place to hide, maybe that could throw him off her trail. But that was if—and only if—he didn’t see where she hid. She wondered how fast he was closing in on her, but she didn’t dare look back for fear of tripping, slowing, or scaring her brain out of working properly. There were too many possibilities to slow her down, that she didn’t want to risk even the slightest head turn. Her eyes darted around. There! A library that was still intact. This would be were she would hide. She hooked a sharp turn, to get to the steps leading to her refuge. But the turn was too sharp. Her old sneakers had almost no traction, and she slipped on the first step, hitting her head and seeing stars. No! She screamed at herself to get up, and she did, but precious seconds had been lost. She added a new burst of speed—as much speed as her swimming thoughts could allow— and ran into the library. She ran through stacks of old musty books, and found a little nook in the corner. She would be cornered if he found her, but the nook was small and nearly invisible. She squeezed herself in, and had to consciously control her breathing, so it wouldn’t give her away.
She heard him enter the library, and her blood ran cold. She heard his footsteps on the dusty linoleum, slow, even, deliberate. Like each footstep was a second on a clock, ticking closer and closer to the death she could not escape, only put off. Her hands were shaking, and drenched in sweat. Her breathing nearly uncontrollable. Her eyes teared up as she had a silent debate with herself. Maybe I should just let him find me. I could see my friends and family again. No one who cares about me is still alive. Actually, no one at all is still alive. I could just join the rest of them. But then she would think of counter points. If you are still hiding, then you don’t want to be killed. If you were fine with death, you wouldn’t have run from that old building in the first place. She told herself. Maybe I could turn myself into the scientists, who created this apocolypse. They might turn me into what he is. I could start a new life as a genetically modified superhuman. But through her entire mental argument, there was one fact she could not deny. She wanted to live. She wanted to feel the breath in her lungs, and the beat of her heart, and she wanted to be a part of this world—no matter how screwed up this world was.
The girl looks up through her stringy auburn hair, and her eyes full of tears. Her heart dropped, and her blood ran cold. She was going to die. Soon. She saw his legs out of her hiding spot with a limited view. She could not see his face. Okay. Get up and face this. You can make the end of your life quick and painless, or long and unbearably painful. Your choice. She told herself. And arguing with herself again she said, I can’t keep running.
She crawled out her her hiding place, and stood up. She stood up tall, making sure she didn’t slouch. She wanted to look tough, not vulnerable, even though that was exactly how she felt—she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing that she was terrified.She took a deep breath.
“Okay. I’m ready. I had a good life. My fate is my own and if this is it, so be it.” Her voice was strong, and she was startled to realize that she meant every word, that she was ready to die. She lowered her head, accepting defeat.
The murderer grabbed her by the neck and lifted her off the ground. She let her body go limp and lifeless. She let him strangle her.
“For what it’s worth,” he said to her. “I think you were worthy of the title ‘Last Human On Earth’.”
This was the last thing she heard as her eyes shut and her life was drained away.