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The Death of Millennia - Writing Prompt Response


Hi there! I've taken to lurking about the subreddit r/WritingPrompts in my spare time (hahahahahahaha) and I thought I'd post whenever I put something up. This first story I did got a pretty good response, and though it's by no means my best work, I enjoyed writing something a bit different than I usually do.

The prompt was the following:

You are immortal, and saw the birth of the human race. Now you sit by their bedside and watch as the last human dies.

Here was my response:

His name is, appropriately, Adam.

I find him after following his trail for weeks. He lies against a massive redwood, skin haggard and yellow, nearly dead already from exposure and disease. He bleeds from a bite wound on his hand - a raccoon, or maybe a wild dog. His white hair falls past his shoulders, clumped and dirty. He doesn't look up when I approach.

"It's you, isn't it?" he says. "I'd heard stories. Didn't believe 'em. But there you are."

I nod, the sign of affirmation for humans. I would miss their gestures, their energy, their idiosyncrasies. The past several millennia had left me quite fond of the Earth-dwellers, despite the egregious flaws that eventually led to their demise. There was a beauty in the individual's quiet existence that I'd not experienced anywhere else in my travels.

Adam coughs, spitting blood at his feet. He doesn't seem afraid of me like others have been - merely accepting. His courage buoys me. I want to comfort him somehow, though nothing I can do will deter his inevitable death. He is too far gone, and the human race is meant to die with him. It's simply the way of things.

He looks at me, then, and I move forward until we are face to face. We watch each other, the immortal and the dying, and I think I see something in his eyes lighten.

"So there's more." He blinks, slowly, then again. This time his eyelids stay closed. "I'm glad."

I cannot speak in a way humans can understand, but I offer the only comfort I can think of. Kneeling down, I press my forehead against the yellowed skin of his scalp. Warmth flows from me to him as he receives millions of years of memories, painted with a brush no man could hold, of Earth and of other worlds, till the beginning of time. He shudders at the sensation, a gagging noise coming from his mouth, and then he is still.

A slow, shaky breath. He opens his eyes one last time.

He is too far gone to speak, but I see the gratitude in his look. Then he lays his head back and breathes out the remnants of human life.

I stay with his body for days, meditating on the life of the Earth I've grown to love. I will leave soon, off to the next world, but it feels appropriate to stay and privately eulogize the human race. None of the others of my kind join me - they spend their time on bigger and better things - and I am glad. There is no one who understood those of Earth better than I did. Even in their death, I remain their ally.

Eventually I leave. I cannot stay forever, after all. Even for immortals time moves on, worlds spin, stars burn. I bury Adam beneath his redwood, as is the way of humans, and leave a wild daisy on the mound as a memorial.

No one will see it, but it feels like the right thing to do.

Then I am gone.


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© 2016 by Natasha Watts

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