So, We Lost.
Sometimes, I'm not sure if I made the right decision, building this little underground bunker. Back in the day it seemed like a wise decision, but now, as I sit in this silence, I wonder--would it have been easier to die above ground, three weeks earlier? Because the conclusion has already been written, or so it seems to me, and I highly doubt that there will be any attempt to rescue me, since there is no one left to do it. As I sit in this silence, writing to you, 'you' as in myself--heh, I'm talking to myself, or should that be, I'm writing to myself?--the thought that I'm perhaps the last human left alive on the planet, although quite unlikely, is still frightening.
I remember, years ago, hearing rumors about some distant menace in the galaxy. It sounded like fairy tales, one of those old, old Star Wars dramas. But then the news of colonies losing contact with the rest of humanity, then places like Harvest, Utica, and more, then the alien menace those above called 'Covenant' displayed so prominently on every network. Mandibles on reptilian frames, what, four meters tall? Other nasty things like bogeymen in children's stories, some almost hilariously ugly, yet so dangerous. Kids rushed in to battle on metal ships only to burn to death. I remember, spending some--rather, most--of my money on this bunker. Stocking it with some food and water and establishing communication channels and hoping that it wouldn't come to this. Laughing about it with my friends, yeah, I know, how stupid of me to waste money on this shit!
Then Reach burned and as it burned we here on Earth were panicking because, despite the last line of defense we knew were arrayed up there, that sparked at dusk from reflected sunlight, we were fucked. Then the last line of defense got torched and the purple ships got in orbit, then they started churning up the earth from space, blowing to shit all we knew and probably, although I doubt it, loved. They started from Antartica, and although they, for whatever reason, left much of middle Africa alone, glassed everywhere else. I remember watching a feed of how a city died, I think it was Rio de Janeiro or something, some southern metropolis, how the cameras focused on the horizon, how the blasts roared towards them, and how they fell, burned, melted down into slag.
So the war was lost and as I hurriedly rushed to the bunker, I remember seeing in the horizon a giant cloud of reddish dust, kicked up by firestorms raging behind them as the violet ships above torched and glassed the land. Looked exactly like a sandstorm, except that behind them, I knew that dust and lava would be churning then cooling, creating slick alien landscapes where life had once been. I got underground--closed the hatch--rushed downstairs--heard each airlock engage and shut behind me. Five layers of protection, that at the time, I wasn't sure would be enough. Well, it was enough, but sadly, no protection protects against time--time, in a way, is like that insistent boy prodding his puberty cock against the fabric of your dress. Tell him to fuck off all you want, he isn't going to go away.
Look, I know that I don't know anything about wearing a dress--or having men shove their cocks in my face--but I'm extrapolating from scant evidence the possible scenarios that could hopefully result in the appropriate simile. Let me just assume that I, or 'you,' know how it is to have a penis poking at you. So five layers of protection; the destruction fifty meters above me did not touch the underground bunker, although I felt the earth itself shake and move, and it really was like a worm moving under my feet. But anyways, that's how it went. I survived; now, I'm going to die. And maybe I'll simply fall off this chair and do that. Or maybe I'll go crazy because crazy is but a step away, and I'll stop then, too. But until that time, here we go.
I'm not exactly blase about the prospect of dying alone in some shit-filled hole. I'm terrified. But what am I going to do? I forgot to pack a gun, there are no poisons to be seen, and I don't see anything to cut myself with. As creative as I think I can be, the only options available to me to hasten my eventual demise are rather unappealing. There's the wall, then there's my head. Or there's my teeth, and there's my tongue. Smash against one or bite through the other. But I can't even think about chomping down on my own tongue without thinking in turn of the intense agony that is sure to follow. It scares me, to die, but what scares me even more is to die painfully.
So I'm thinking to myself--how about a good old concussion to shake up or smash that old melon? Run headfirst into the wall. Headstrong! Fuck yeah but shit-fucked because I tried and I'm not desperate enough to succeed in this task. I've tried. I have a scab forming on my forehead and there is an ache developing behind my eyes. It hurts, and I want to cry in pain, but if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it--does that mean, that if I should cry and no one hears it, am I crying? I know you laugh because I can hear myself, but the stupidest questions are often the best ones. They keep my mind off, much like this story. I don't want to die, me. Save me.
It's been a month now. Let me mention to you the commlink channel that was used by some of the other survivors, or those that had been in orbit when the blasts hit. At first, as I huddled in the dim darkness of the bunker, illuminated only by the dull glow of the holo that had gone blank after the cameras above ground were melted down, there flickered life on the screen. More precisely, indications that life still existed around me. It started, with a female voice, fizzy with static yet coming clear through the channel.
--ello help anyone help us injured --
Soon after, the channel began flourishing. That is, people were talking over it, sharing stories, bitching about their conditions, and at the time, perhaps a bit hopeful. They'd survived the Covenant glassing the entire fucking planet; what was a little solitude, or some bad food, going to do?
The problem, was that even bad food wasn't going to last forever. It began with a bit of whining. About hunger. About how it felt to starve. We shut him off because it was frightening, because his account was, for most of us, our own futures. No matter how much food you stock, it doesn't last. Time has the last fucking laugh because it will outlast me. Funny, how profound I think it is, yet you laugh, me, because you know that it isn't--'time outlasts'? Little children know that. There are riddles about it. Goes all the way back into the dim distant ages of humanity. When people had swords and shit, and killed each other for food.
Soon other links crackled with urgency only to fade away. Like candles in the dark running low then flickering out. One by one toppling over because they were probably dying. Although one had sounded like they were being eaten.
I shut them off a week ago. I think I'm alone now.
Now, the question--will anyone read this? I used to edit old-style alphabetic anthologies, you see, and the prime concern of those want-to-be poets and writers was, will anyone read this? Such hope in their eyes as I told them, well, for good or ill, I will, at least. We'll see about the rest of them people. Now get out of here. Then I'd skim through the latest piece of hopefully art but not quite there yet and nod and occasionally send one on to be processed and linked online. The rest I'd send back. Some I'd type down a short comment on whether they should continue or stop because they had no fucking talent and you, you know, why not get a job already? Enlist for the marines.
The darkness is closing about me. It wraps me up and sometimes I don't think I can breathe. There's an air recycler, but is it going wonky? Or maybe it's the stench of the puddle of shit and piss in the corner, although I'm more then used to it. You forgot things, you know. You forgot to make sure there was something inside the bunker to process waste.
I'll whine about the food a bit, you know? It'll keep my mind off things. I'm tired of daydreaming. Used to do that for days. Every once in a while I'd count off another twenty-four hour Terran day, but in between those days, before you began to write, I used to dream about things that were, things that could be, things that I hoped, hoped would happen because, or maybe, things that were in the past that I changed in my mind to suit my tastes, my first time, funny how it's so important for kids. Excited, fumbling, not knowing what to touch first, the contact, then half a minute later, shudder, let it go, it's over, you did it kid!
So. We lost. Dealing with it is the hard part.