1. Immortal man, middle aged in appearance, jaded in nature.
2. The crumbling burial site of a loved one from millennia ago.
3. Human race has ended by it's own hand. The land is a barren, rocky wasteland in most directions.
4. Wind up music box. The kind with the spinning ballerina on top.
|Ballerina found on Deviant ART - Page was no longer available|
Adam wasn't sure why he was alive. Somehow, when the disease spread rapidly through the population of North America, he had come out the other side of it. But he had come out different, he didn't seem to have aged a day since he got up off that sick bed.
It hadn't been the same for his beloved wife, Nicole. She had not pulled through, falling into a death thrall almost immediately. He had gotten her to a hospital, but they were so overrun that no one could see her before she passed on. He had sat in that hospital for hours, crying with her in his arms.
Finally he had been forced to let them take her away. He had walked away from the hospital dead inside.
Human beings weren't made to be alone with themselves. It did things to a man. He hadn't realized the danger at first. He had stayed in his home as the quarantine had ordered. The blaring horns had stopped days before he eventually ran out of food. Finally, he had been forced to leave to look for food. There had been no one on the street that day.
He remembered stepping into the looted grocery store. Fortunately for him, most of what had been taken was quick foods, easy to make. The beans, the rice, and other grains had still been mostly on the shelves. There had still been electricity that day so he had picked up as much as his freezer would hold. He had only hoped the power would last. He saw some stray dogs and cats, but other than that, the town had been silent.
It took another week before he started checking all the neighboring houses. There had been no answers, he had entered some. Some had food storage he needed, others, the dead were still laying where they had taken ill. Adam didn't take food from those houses. It seemed more inhuman with bodies there.
Eventually, the power began to flicker. He made the rounds to every automotive store to pick up gas cans and had filled as much of them with gasoline as he could before the power went out. Adam brought home a generator. It seemed the smartest move. He vowed if anything ever came back, he would pay it forward. Right now, there was no one to pay and as far as he could tell, no one to care.
That first year had been long. He had taken to staying at the library most days reading. He would bring back audio that he could listen too. Adam craved that human voice. It resounded even over the noisy generator that could run his refrigerator and a couple more devices. When winter had arrived, he had been forced to take turns between heat and cooking/food storage. It was a time of many blankets and coats for the most part. He had to admit, it was beautiful when it snowed. There had been no tracks, no plows; just the muffled stillness of falling snow. It even muted the generator.
Then the gas had started to run out. He realized he could not survive another winter in the north without fuel. He took the last remaining fuel cans and headed south. Adam had made it to Galveston, Texas. The roads were rough with no one to maintain them. Nature was already looking to reclaim the paved world that man had left. He had seen no one.
What had he done to be cursed to live an eternity alone? His only friends were animals but they had been harder to come by as fewer knew what a human was. He was no longer top of the food chain either. Great cats and wolves had made a fevered come back.
Adam had finally made his way to the mountainous regions of Texas. The weather there had suited him. He had taken a huge mansion still in good repair for his home, but it didn't take him long to find that it just reminded him of how alone he was. He had soon after made the move to a small lakeside cabin. Gasoline became a thing of the past fairly quickly so it was here that he stayed. Except for once a year during the spring. He would fill his great pack with stores from his garden and hunting. Then, he would head north back the way he had come. The highways soon disappeared but he knew the way by heart.
He would find Nicole's grave the stone unreadable but marked by 1000 years of gifts. He set a new gift upon the mounds of others, making sure it could sit flat. It was getting harder to find things of value to leave. When he had nothing to give her, he had decided he would not come again. It only deepened the angst of his curse. But as long as he had something, he was driven to return.
Adam had brought a ballerina music box. He remembered Nicole had loved the ballet. It had been in a deep basement, hidden from the ravages of time. He looked all year for just the right gift. A couple times, he had looked as he moved North. He had not wound it for fear it had but one last dance, if it even had that. With trembling hands, he wound the box and gave a huge sigh of relief when metallic music began to trickle from the box.
He sat down like he did every year and talked to Nicole. He would tell her of close calls, funny sights, and even the struggle to find challenge in his daily life. He had read every book he could put a hand on but they were also fewer now. Their time ravaged pages crumbling away. This time, he asked her if she would mind if he just ended his own life and joined her. They had both believed that suicide was a sin. But after a millennia of torture alone with mostly himself, he didn't much care if it sent him to hell. Surely Nicole would understand, he was in his own hell left alone on Earth.
He talked for a couple hours, his voice hoarse from lack of use, then sat silently for a couple more. The town he once knew had been completely reclaimed. At first, he had gone home, picking up momentoes, but soon even his home had fallen to the one thing that was an assured for the rest of the inhabitants of the world, time.
He picked up his pack to head back South. He had enough time to make his last camp before dark. He didn't look back at the mound of thousands of gifts, also ravaged by time. It hurt still to this day that she was not with him.
Yes, man shouldn't be alone with himself. It does things to a man.