This story was my submission for the apoc contest for Surreal Grotesque.
I won 2nd place, and am including a link to the issue, and a link to the podcast where my story is read aloud. The editor comments that my piece is Rod Serling-esque, almost like an episode of the Twilight Zone. This made my day.
The last man on Earth sat in a room, there was a knock at the door. He put down the stale lemonade he’d been drinking and got up. He swayed in place for a few moments, trying to decide what to do. He knew he was all alone on the island, knew there had been no people in the area for months. How could there be someone knocking on his door?
Jim had been in a bunker when the bombs had fallen, eating popcorn and watching a porn movie. His left hand had been all buttery from the salty treat, and his right had a firm grasp on his dick. He didn’t even feel the bombs drop, refused to listen to the screams and pounding at the door only moments before. He was enjoying his tiny world under the ground, safe from all things, and doing what he loved the best, eating and jacking off.
Five months later he’d run out of food and had emerged from the bunker to go in search of more supplies. After he’d filled two backpacks with food and had come back to seal back into the bunker, he’d noticed the door was closed and a wagon had been overturned out in front of the little room in the ground.
He’d turned around and lit out for the territories, never looking back. All he wanted in this end-world, all he’d ever wanted, was to be left alone. He had walked south, and eventually found a big land bound lake with several large islands scattered in the waters. He had liberated a boat from a dock, and rowed out to one of the biggest, thinking he’d camp out and live in a tent. He had discovered a cabin and had moved in.
There was no electricity, but he still had dirty magazines, and corn he popped over fires at night hidden in an enclosure he’d built out of trees. He was happy, all alone on his own island, eating popcorn and jerky while looking at naked women and pulling his pud. Then the knocking had come at his door.
He opened the door, and he thought he’d seen something flitting around the corner. He’d slammed the door and ran into the room he’d made his bedroom and hid in the closet. He was waiting for the door to open again and then he’d hear footsteps thudding across the floor, searching for him. The shaking didn’t stop for a good hour, and even then, he hadn’t been able to come out of the closet for a few hours after that.
Finally, he’d forced himself to get up and come out, it was his island and he’d be damned if anything was going to make him hide in terror. He’d gathered a snack and his walking stick and set out to look for the person who had knocked on his door. After an hour’s worth of tromping, he was back at his kitchen table.
Having found nobody, he wondered if he’d even truly heard the noise at all. After some thought, he decided it had been in his head, and he went back to lying on the couch and reading his yank mags. He was getting into a new photo set when the knocking came again, louder this time. He dropped the magazine and jumped off the couch, running for the door.
He pulled the door open with authority and found still nobody. He shut the door, and resolved that the next morning he’d go to the mainland and find a gun for protection. To get through the night with peace of mind, he stuck a chair under the doorknob and went to sleep.
After acquiring his gun, he returned to the island and waited for more knocking. It waited a few days, but there was another booming knock on the door. He wrenched it open, and finding still no one, he set out to hunt for his tormentor.
On this walk, he saw people, and for every person he saw he fired at them. But every time he rushed up to where he had seen them fall, there was nothing there. All he ever found was leaves and tree branches, and no footprints or signs of people.
He began to hear voices whispering through the windows at all hours of the day and night. His journeys outside were less and less, he was becoming a shut-in hermit. After a few weeks of not going outside, he started to notice things inside were moved. His magazines were in a different order and there was less popcorn for him to eat.
He determined that he would set a trap to catch his personal ghost. He went back to the mainland and ‘shopped’ for some rat poison. That night he put the poison in his popcorn, and then went to bed, leaving the bowl on the table.
The next morning there were no sounds coming from the cabin. No one had been close enough to hear the groans that had littered the night air. There was no one to come and find the bloated body with foam drooling down its chin. Jim lay in the kitchen with poisoned popcorn in his belly and rotted away to nothing and then there were no men left on Earth.