Last Man Standing

Every day started the same way: when he woke up, he picked up his knife, pressed it against his wrist, and considered ending it once and for all. There was no one left to miss him. His mother had passed away weeks, or was it months, ago. His only friend and lover had died in a falling accident before that. And the rest of the two families quit the earth long ago. As far as he knew, he was the last human being alive. And every morning he wondered what was the point.

Humanity’s end had been a long time coming. There was no apocalypse. Slowly declining birth rates, rampant epidemics, and mass starvation events had slowly eroded the population. Several attempts were made to colonize other planets, but those had all apparently ended in failure. When there were but a few thousand people left, they gathered in the last city to make the best of the end.

By the time he was born, there were only a few dozen still alive. He had heard all the stories, as well as anyone could remember. One after another, by age or illness or accident, they all died. He was the last.

Or so he had been told. There had been rumors that some humans had not come to the last city. His mother had dismissed them as wishful thinking. And even if there had been such people, they would have died off long ago.

Now he had no one. And he woke up every morning determined to end the loneliness. But if there really were other humans somewhere, somehow, he didn’t have to be alone. But the world was large. Who knows what he might find out there? The knife would be easier.

Yet, once again, he could not bring himself to drive the blade into his flesh. He sheathed it instead. He could find the maps they had in the library. Study them. Maybe the rumors would prove to be true after all. He had nothing to lose and nothing else to do. The knife would always be there tomorrow.

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