I took out an old story from one of my writing groups. We had to use the last man on Earth prompt. I added some things and took away some things from my original version, and created a little something different. Hope you enjoy!
It was the last night for the last man on Earth, and he sat quietly on the edge of his cot, contemplating the world and his existence in it. Morning came too quickly, and was abruptly interrupted by a sharp knock at the door in front of him. The sound firmly forced the knowledge of his demise to slowly seep into his thoughts, as he viewed the stark white padded room around him. Sighing deeply, he told himself it would be over shortly, there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
“Mr. Williams, it’s time.” The feminine voice, with her soft words filtered through the voice box from the other side of the door in a peculiar fashion, tantalizing but exacting all at the same time, without care or compassion.
Slowly he stood up, he eyes watering for some unknown reason. It wasn’t feelings or anything like emotion, he told himself. At least that’s what he said to convince his conscience. He walked methodically to the suit hanging on the hook by the door and donned the environmental garb. This simple motion had been done so many times in the past three months. He looked at the second skin like an old friend, the only thing that allowed him access to an outside world he was no longer welcome in. Zipped into the contraption like a piece of unwanted garbage, he waited before answering, savoring the last bit of fresh air before placing his helmet on and snapping the oxygen lines together.
“Are you ready?” The woman’s voice questioned as the locks turned, releasing the six-inch steel door from its frame.
Breathing erratically, he mumbled his acknowledgement to the two females who greeted him. Dressed in white uniforms, they led the man down a long corridor, his machine pumping his life to him. Stripped of any recognizable emblems, the dull gray walls blinded him, as he shuffled behind his guards to the end of the hallway.
Pausing briefly, before pushing on the door hardware, the blond-headed woman on his left smiled slightly. “It will be over before you know it. She said it wouldn’t be a long trial.”
Stepping over the threshold as she held the door open, the man stood quietly for a moment, drinking in his newfound fame. His presence, spotlighted in the piercing lights of cameras from the local news, caused a stir within the audience, as the females whispered and pointed at him. He raised an arm to shield his eyes, as he glanced around the courtroom, his stare finally resting on the matronly Judge.
“This way Mr. Williams.” The blond guard motioned towards the benches situated before the judge. Mr. Williams regarded her with mixed emotions. Any other time, he would be the first to flirt, but now, male egos had no place anymore.
He stumbled again, awkwardly making his way to the seat beside his attorney. Careful to pull his oxygen lines from around his body, he stood until the Judge smacked the gravel, signaling for the courtroom to an observed quiet.
The elderly Judge furrowed her brow, her face contorted with misgivings. Her piercing brown eyes squinted slightly as she sized up the lonely man in front of her. “Mr. Williams, you are on trial today, not for what you have done, but for what all men have done to this earth, do you understand?”
Mr. Williams nodded slowly. “Yes ma’am.”
“Because of men striving to constantly control every aspect of life here on earth through war and corruption your kind created the greatest injustice. By seeking to destroy life through man-made disease, your kind only managed to kill off itself. I guess this trial is to determine whether or not we should allow the male part of our species to continue. And you, being the last man on Earth, I ask, can you give me any reason why men should be allowed to continue to exist in light of the fact that this was your disease you spawned Doctor?”
Swallowing hard, Mr. Williams stood. “Men help to procreate our human species. Without us, life would not continue.”
The courtroom burst into laughter. “Mr. Williams,” the Judge smiled, “women can use science to procreate. We’ve mastered many ways to create life, and with all the sperm banks available, we have just what we need. Anything else?”
“Who will you fall in love with?” He stammered his heart caught in his throat.
“Well, you may have a point there, but it still doesn’t disguise the fact of what men do. War and money seems to top the list, and yes, let’s not forget, you abuse the power God gave to you, but putting this world in a constant state of dysfunction, by material things, and the lack of common respect for others, especially those of the female persuasion. How can men overcome that?”
Bowing his head, Mr. Williams realized the Judge was right. From the time history could be written, men seemed to always be at war, murdering and destroying in the name of some pretended injustice, or conquering others just to have their lands and wealth. He was at a loss; he raised his eyes and shook his head. “Your honor, I don’t have an answer for that.”
The courtroom became quiet. “Without any fallible reason then, for this court to sustain your remaining days here on Earth, you will bear the punishment of all those before you…” the Judge began.
“Wait!” The word was spoken loudly from the back of the room. Mr. Williams struggled to turn his helmet to see who had come to aid in his defense.
A small girl of about twelve stepped through the crowd of women, pushing her way forward. “Wait, I have a reason.” She cried, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“And what is that reason, child!” The Judge demanded.
“Without men, we don’t have Daddies, and without Daddies, we don’t have butterfly kisses, someone to buy you milkshakes when days don’t go right, someone to help you ride a bike for the first time, someone to keep the monsters out of the closet and someone to hold you when your mom can’t. Please Ms. Judge, don’t take away Daddies. Kids need Daddies just as much as they need Mommies!”
The Judge leaned back in her seat, contemplating the young girl and her words. The mental pictures of her father, helping her learn to ride her bike slid into focus, and she thought of her times with him. She smiled. “Out of the mouth of babes…” She murmured, her eyes filming with salt water.
“Mr. Williams…in lieu of what has been said in your defense; you have been sentenced, not to death but to life, a life of greater meaning, as a teacher. You must build and teach the next age of men, to find that part of themselves which nurtures and loves, so that our world doesn’t have to be thrown into masculine war and turmoil. You must re-write History as the first Adam of a new age, a new time and new thinking.” Looking at the young child, the Judged added, “and teach others how to be Daddies and fathers who regard their children just as preciously as they should be.”
The court adjourned and Mr. Williams made his way back out towards the hallway, his life-giving suit filled with sweat and the stale breath of a saved dead man. The young girl ran to his side and grasped his gloved hand, her innocent eyes looking towards the enclosed face. “I love you Daddy,” she whispered.
“Love you too baby girl.”