The Long Way Home

I gazed up at the sky, but there were no stars.

City lights drowned them and painted neon in their place. Crowds milled about the plaza without noticing such oddity. ‘

We’re surrounded by a void that cares not for us, huh.’

“Nice night, ain’t it?” Rebecca nudged me with a smile. “Not surprised so many people out after the week of rain.”

I turned to her with a frown. “I would’ve preferred without the large crowd.”

“Of course you would,” she scoffed and put her hands on her hips. “Heaven forbid everyone in the world disappears that you finally are satisfied with being out in public.”

“Don’t say things like that.” I darted my eyes around us. “I just don’t feel comfortable is all.”

“Well, try not to think about it.”

She grabbed my arm and dragged me down the street. The crowds blurred until I only focused on her enthusiasm.

She was bright as the sun.


I think back to that night. The last night with Rebecca.

The last night with…anyone.

I had woken up the next day to a yawning silence. No crackles of the radio or TV. No neighbors yelling at their children to get ready for school. No vehicles honking and rolling past my apartment.

Even my social media showed no updates from anyone since last night.

The rest of that first day is nebulous. I vaguely remember running through the city, looking for any sign of life.

No one.

All that’s left was me.

Alone in a hollow city with no one in sight.

Not even corpses.

At least with corpses, I would know if other humans even existed.

But yet…

None.

As if everyone just decided to leave Earth overnight without grabbing anything.

It’s been like that for…ten years, is it? Time lost all its meaning after the first year without human or animal in sight.

Every night, the starless sky sinks closer to the ground.


I wandered the empty planet. Not to find life but because I needed something to do that wasn’t lying down and accepting fate.

If I kept moving, felt pain, I knew that I’m still alive.

That I still exist, right?

I found myself manning large ships across quiet, calm seas.

I trekked alabaster mountain peaks.

I prayed at every holy site I encountered for a miracle. That I would be awakened from such a horrid dream.

It meant nothing.


As I sit on this beach, the sky is darker than it’s ever been in the years since the world went silent. The sun had set for the last time days ago.

The bonfire does little against the cold that bites into my bone marrow. It serves as a dwindling light to witness the void’s descent.

Exhaustion becomes me and I sink into the sands underneath me.

I close my eyes to the dark sky.

.

.

.

.

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Welcome home.

We’ve been waiting for you.

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