by Jasmine Ang
The only ghosts left are in my head.
I’ve never been one for attempts at profundity. The apocalypse happened. That’s it.
Was it like that for you too?
I don’t know if there’s anyone else out there but here’s me. Screaming into the void.
All right: so, if you’re reading this, obviously you know what happened. I don’t. Where did everyone go?
Life goes on.
I’m getting tired of hearty beef stew. I ran out of chicken noodle.
I could go to a different grocery store but the nearest one’s almost five miles farther out and I wouldn’t be able to get back to my house before night.
Maybe it’s stupid to cling to routine and habit so closely, but I feel like that’s the only thing that will help me get through this.
I haven’t seen any, but I wonder if there are animals still. At the very least there must be fungi and bacteria.
The biggest organism in the world is a fungus. It’s the size of a mountain. Something that big couldn’t just disappear, could it?
What if this is just one big huge prank. Like the Truman show.
What if the rest of the world is just fine and I’m the only one left in this city, for entertainment or something.
An insect trapped in a jar will thrash wildly, potentially causing damage to the delicate membrane of the wings or its antennae.
What makes you plant flowers in the meridians and the parkways?
For large soft bodied insects, applying light pressure to the thorax will result in paralysis, preventing damage to the appendages.
Today I feel like a bug in a jar.
I’ve been breaking into houses lately. At first it was just something to do. There isn’t much left that has any meaning, after all.
I have all the time in the world. And I have all the world left in my time.
No good story ever started with hope.
Knowing that gravity is caused by the attraction of your mass to that of the Earth’s doesn’t make falling hurt any less. Cognizance has never had much to do with existence.
I read once, in a book, that our scapulas are what remain of our wings from when we were cast down from heaven.
Date: July 15, 2021. Location: Long Beach, CA. Time: some time after midday. Temperature: fucking hot.
It was cold today.
The horizon was the exact same color my sister painted her room. Seafoam green.
Today I broke into a house to stay warm. It used to belong to a family of four: two parents and two sons. I stopped looking at people’s stuff a while ago, but I think I’m starting to get back into the habit.
It’s funny, I once had a friend who used to be into this kind of thing. He made me sit through documentaries with crappy CG simulations that envisaged a world after we all disappeared. I never paid all that much attention; the bland voice-overs always put me to sleep. He would get so excited about it, insisting that I see his survival kit, which had everything from flint and steel to MREs in a cooler he kept in his basement. It’s been decades. I’d never wondered what happened to him until now. Some friend I turned out to be.
All that stuff was basically useless.
As far as apocalypses go, mine has been fairly boring.
Today is the tenth month (I think) since the end of the world. I discovered the first of your work a few hours ago.
At first I thought it was random, just some wild flowers that had blown out into the meridian of PCH.
Flowers. Not exactly unexpected in spring.
Thank you for planting those flowers. I don’t know who you are. If I’m honest, I don’t even know if you’re real.
But I’ve never felt less alone.
People are hard to connect to.
My grandfather was an immigrant to this country. A refugee because of his religion, he believed in a God that his country didn’t want and for that he was persecuted.
But this story isn’t about that.
No, it’s about daylight savings. I haven’t figured out whether daylight savings has passed yet or not, but I think it has. The days are getting longer.
When my grandfather first immigrated to this country he didn’t know about daylight savings ending, so he came in at the same time he always did—early. No one else was at the office. He thought the Rapture had happened and he’d been left behind. Sometimes I think about that and, although I’m an atheist, I wonder if that’s what happened. That everyone was taken up to heaven and I was left behind. Why me? Was I really that bad? Or was I simply forgotten?
I’ve been searching for others, others who are still around, like me. I went down Orange and Cherry, checked all the houses there. But there’s no one. All the houses stand empty. There are abandoned cars in the roadways, which makes navigating with my bike difficult.
What makes me different? Why was I left here?
The silence claws along my nerves.
I’ve never really liked other people, but I was used to them. Now, there’s nothing but the night sky, and a silence I still haven’t gotten used to in these fifteen months. I wonder if it’s the same for you.
The first week was oppressive. From then on, life was just like being on the road alone at night, without knowing the destination. The dark closes in, and the road passing under the headlights becomes hypnotic. I spent that first week searching. I may have thought I was searching for anyone still alive, but it felt different from that, like I was looking for something, or someone, I had lost.
I think I was searching for me.
I explored up to Signal Hill. I figured I could use Hilltop Park to see if there was anyone around. There were cars in the way up and down the hill, and biking up that hill is hard enough as it is, so I walked instead.
I stood on the precipice of the lookout point, using the viewfinders of the telescopes to search for any sign of life. Only thing I saw were plants.
Even the usually busy downtown was empty, just full of thousands of cars stopped where they were, and not a sound of a single other person or animal. I couldn’t even hear the sparrows that usually irritated me so.
I’m going to try to find you.
Today the clouds are so thick thy might have been able to be spun. Light bleeds through the thin spots and creeps along the edges
There are vines growing over the sides of the walls of the freeways but the roads are still useable more or less.
My father’s watch broke. And though I could have gotten new batteries, I didn’t have any idea how to replace them.
I’ve abandoned the minutiae of time, the seconds and hours that only reminded me that there is nobody left to wait for. All I have left are day and night. I let the hours chase each other unchecked.
Maybe this is what love feels like.
Jasmine Ang has been published in Ricky’s Back Yard’s LGBT Floidoip issue and will be published in Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal Issue 2.3, and on Daily Science Fiction.