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2077

By Arun J


2077 seems so far away now. People say time flies as it moves forward. I dare to disagree. The last twenty five years have been the longest since the dawn of insanity. Twenty five gruelling, unceremonious, exhausting, pointless years. All the while pondering on my unenviable destiny… To die in a way like no other, of old age, of desperation, and of humanly dires. I could understand why you would think the contrary, you live in a world much different to mine. Well, much different since the big flash…

It was just another morning, another afternoon, and what looked to be another night for us prideful humans. One which would see us survive in the planet for another testimonial year. A day that was supposed to fill the night sky with fireworks and blinding colours. Instead what we saw was white. The white flash… It lasted a whole twenty five minutes. When people all over the globe shot their eyes upwards in awe, curiosity, and fear. “What was it?” The lingering question shunned the festivities of the new year, of 2077. The next day brought us an answer. A man from Alaska suddenly vanished as he was eating dinner with his family. The evening news ran the video on repeat a hundred times over. Little did they know… they were about to hit a cursed gemstone. The next day it was two. One from Germany, the other from India. The next day four, the next, eight, then sixteen, then thirty two… And an entire month later, I dreaded in wait, hoping I would get to spend more time with my family before I vanished. I held my daughter’s arm in bed, kissed my son to sleep every night, loved my wife till she stopped crying. Every day, I prayed that my call would come one day later. Every day… Every day. Until my daughter vanished from my hands, my son, taken from my lips, and my wife’s tears dried into the air. Every day I wondered, why isn’t it my time yet. Everyday I prayed to go… Every day. Until it stopped.

I wandered and I searched, I ran and I fell, I cried and I cried, so loud that my blood coughed up. No one answered.

“WHY?” I bawled and groaned. “WHY?”

No one answered.

I was the only one left.

It is now the day of reckoning again, and I must go home. What if they’re waiting for me? I asked myself stupidly. My legs moved. Through the leftovers of this dreaded planet that we humans left.

Mother nature had taken over. Her reign had begun just as it had ended. The once grey skyscrapers, now an Egyptian artifact covered in green moss. The once bright lamp-posts, rusted, broken, and disintegrated beyond recognition. The once crowded cities of Newyork, Los Angeles, California, all left in a silent melancholy. My yearly walk begins one month before the promised day. My yearly walk back home, from wherever the corner of earth I am stuck at. I traverse to the place I once called mine own. To wait for the sensations my heart forgot. To wait for them to come back. To wait for the day… It will take me too.

Beside me was my only companion. Man’s best friend. The offspring of my former companion. Loyal, loving, and the only resemblance of a family I claim. Unlike his wildered and now free associates, Jeremy did not seem to enjoy the flavours of rash hunting, restless barking, and groveling cruelty. No… He stayed by my side through thick and thin, taking care of me as I do him, not letting me die, not letting me flee. He would snuggle within my furs every night, and every day over, as we wandered the craven streets of Alabama.

Our walks are as uneventful as the days long forgotten, but the sights that remain are nothing like those you find in common. Hundreds, thousands, if not millions of moving metallic hunks in static. Through the highways now green and blue laid the graveyard of robotic inventions. Our walks continued through their splintered and tattered roofs in succession. Till we see more of them, and more buried under. The cities are another sight to bewitness. Forgetting the colours they once bathed in common, now bent to mother Nature’s hellish desires. As she plowed and broke through the rough concrete once thought impenetrable. Leaving carcasses of once brawn delights. Her playfulness knew no bounds through these tepid walls. The cities, once called the suburban jungle, now reclaimed by the holy ruler of them all. A jungle it was, now rich of life, of trees, of soil that laid far beneath the toxic wastes. A home it was to the hundreds of dogs, cats, birds, and other things you may have never witnessed in life. The countryside was an entirely different story. They did not exist anymore. Impossible to distinguish from the vast green forests, the walk through the countryside explored the relics of what once remained. Between the great trees, shrubs, and vast pastures there laid homes forgotten, covered in moss and vines, housing the sleep of the wilderness now. The last remaining relics of humanity.

Our walks through the greenery was one where even Eden would find his long lost soul. The air has never been cleaner, the rivers have never flowed with such joy, the animals have never been freer, happier, or livelier. The first few years they shied away, expecting the return of their cruel rulers, the mighty humans. Till they didn’t. I was the only one left. And years later, they forgot I was human too. I was just another one of them, another animal in the grand wild, another one of Nature’s children. The mother reclaims all. Every single day we traverse I understand how terrible we actually were. How we disrupted the course of nature, how we tamed the beasts who weren’t supposed to be, how we built arrogant structures we called impenetrable, how we polluted, diluted, and executed the planet at vast. Every day I am reminded of our crimes to this beautiful world, and every day it made sense why we were the ones who vanished. All I couldn’t fathom was why I was made to suffer alone. I am just as bad as them, I am just as selfish, as cruel, and as arrogant as my companions. Why was I left alone to witness Mother Nature’s revenge on us? What crime did I do that triumphed over them all? What possessed her to extract such monumental cruelty against a mere human like me?




None of my questions were answered. And Jeremy, my poor companion could only bark and wag at my shattered cries. The hardest ride every year is the travel back home. The first few years, I could use the once forgotten cars, and run them through the lands long begotten. Twenty five more, it isn’t the same again. The strength of my legs are the only source of power to me. No light, no power, no pumps, no humanly inventions were made to last as long. But knowledge triumphed over them all. Through the lessons we once deemed “What good will studying this do me?” came to me at the dawn of survival. To live a life similar to our ancestors, to clothe myself from the leftovers, to bathe in the freshest rivers, to eat from the endless resources of Mother Nature. To hunt, kill, and cook in ways long forgotten. To fall sick, the common cold seemed deadlier than a pandemic. It was a life like no other. Twenty five years it has been… The day of reckoning is upon us now. The day it all began.

As the once lush greenlands of my home came to my eyeshot, I saw thick forests envelope the world I once held dear. With each step I took, my heart raced a beat faster. Tomorrow is the day of reckoning. Twenty five years since the twenty five minute flash. I walked through the trees now overgrown, jumping over the vines that collected under Jeremy’s feet, hearing the loud coos of now free birds. Sighting deers, foals, yaks, and other things far migrants to our land. They all greeted me with pleasure. None seeing the threat I once posed as the mighty human that ruled over them all. I was just another being in the forest. Walking over the mountains with my weak legs, eating off scraps, covering myself in furs from long destroyed shops. They must take pity on me. The last human alive. Not for long, it was the day of reckoning again. It was the day that mattered the most. As my eyes curdled at the sight of my joyous home.

Now covered in a charade of Nature's paints, with broken windows, rusted doors, busted roofs, and nested chimneys, it stood in marvel, where the forest parted to the sun. A single beam of white light spraying at the place I once called home.

“We’re here,” I told Jeremy. His tail wagged uncontrollably.

Cracking the door open with all the strength left in my bony arms I wandered into the home I never forgot. Even Mother Nature understands what it means. She left my heart untouched. The pictures of my children and wife, still nailed to the walls she began to devour. I ran my fingers over their faces and felt warm droplets run down my cheeks. “It’s the day of reckoning,” I told them.

I sat by the table where I could still hear their young laughs, their playful pranks, and their undying love. Where the leftovers of that day had been devoured by beings unknown to me. Where I lost my wife, where the loud pot in her hand came clattering down. I walked over to the room where my boy slept in, where I kissed him to sleep the last time, and never saw him wake again. I walked around the courtyard where my daughter consoled me that “It will all be okay,” while she held my hand for the last time, and vanished before I could embrace her loving cheeks. I sat by the memories again, waiting for the sun to rise all over again. It was the Day of Reckoning.

2077 was twenty five years in the past. Twenty five years since that twenty five minute flash. I hadn’t realized I slept on the green moss. I ran out! To look at the skies, to witness the sight again, to wonder about its consequences, to finally be answered, “Will it give them back? Or will it take me too?”

The skies were empty. There was no light but sunlight. There were no loud noises but the birds. There were no laughs but of God’s, who played me a fool. There was no big flash in the skies, but those that left my eyes. The day of reckoning! The day where it all began. All a folly, all the ruse of my insanic mind. All the lies, all deceit, pain, and misery. Twenty five years of folly and crime.

“WHY? WHY? What crime did I do? What did I do to deserve this treatment? I have been a good man. Faithful to my loved ones, loving to the world at large. I have been good, God. Why must you test me like this?” I fell on my knees as the voices from my throat escaped in vain. “Why must I be the one left alive? I am not better than them, nor was I worse,” I cried long into the green moss beneath my face. “I am a human. Is that my crime? Is it so wrong to be born that? To be given the curse of knowledge, of greed, lust, pride, and envy. Is that what you wanted? To break humanity?” I asked him, the empty lord of the sky. “Why?... Why?... Why am I the only one left?” My chest fell to the ground weighing a ton and more. My eyes bawled out till they were crisp and red, my throat pained, and groaned till I spat blood again. Jeremy sat there utterly helpless. I am the cursed human.

“No more,” said I, and walked back to the place I once called home. “No more. I give up,” I stormed the basements and storages to search for it. “You want a world where humanity doesn't exist? And you dare choose me to forget what it is like? FUCK YOU THEN! I AM HUMAN, I will always be human. I will not fall prey to your unholy tricks. I will not play the fool any longer. I won’t wait in vain any longer. I was born a human into this world. I WILL LEAVE IT AS A HUMAN!” I cried to him through the broken roof of my dining hall. Where, upon the ceiling was a thick rod enough to support my muscle.

“I will leave in a way only humans can. You will not choose the moment I am to die. I will choose it, because that is what it means to be human! To have the power of choice,” My cheeks wettened as I confessed my final words to him out loud. Holding the noose around my neck proudly, in a way that no other can.

“I’m sorry,” I said to Jeremy who stared at my folly, still wagging his tail. And I fell, for the last time.

On the day where it all began, the day of reckoning, my final words were the following. “I… am… Human,”

….

Little did I know, far away in the ice sheets of Alaska, there was another man. Confused and dazed at the dinner table where he held hands with his family. Transported twenty five years into the future, in a house covered with moss and plight. The next day there were two more, the next day four, then eight, then sixteen… And one month after the day of reckoning. What was left of my home came rushing into the hallways they once gathered, hugging, kissing, and loving each other in ways I had long forgotten. My wife, my children, all uncovered. But I was nowhere to be found. The last human alive was taken from his home. All that was left, a noose he hung upon.

By Arun J




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