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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Laramie Boyd
The Last Day
2016 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
C
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Laramie at
ecrboyd@aol.com
        The war to end all wars, literally, was over. Death and destruction was worldwide. For all practical purposes, man had destroyed himself and most living creatures. For none could be found, except in a tiny corner of a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. She woke up where she had fallen. Her vision was blurry, and she kept struggling with her eye lids, opening and closing them time and again trying to gain some clarity.
        She wondered where she was, as she sat up and looked around, where rubble was strewn surrounding her, and filled the horizon as far as her eyes could focus. Her clothing was in shreds, barely recognizable as ladies wear. Her boots, torn out at the toes, seemed to her to belong to someone else's feet. Raggedy worker's gloves hung by threads on her palms and fingers. Slowly, she began to gain a better awareness of where she was, wondering how she might have ended up there, and the answers she suspected would be startling and fearful. She assumed she was alone, as there was no sign of human life in the area, excepting the very faint movements in her stomach and the slight, occasional protrusions accounted for by the limbs of life she bore in her womb. She desperately hoped that what had happened to place her in her present circumstances wouldn't injure her first un-born child, as she wanted it to be well born. She laid back down, exhausted, breathed a heavy sigh, and appeared to pass out.
       Her first thought when she awoke again was that she had to seek out some fresh water and food, knowing that the coming birth could take place any time now, and she needed all her strength, as she was alone, frightened, and inexperienced with bearing a child. Slowly she stood up, pausing at various stages, due to fatigue and disorientation, letting her muscles fill with blood, building up energy along the way. She was lightheaded, almost dizzy to the point of falling down again, but managed to keep mostly upright. After a few moments in this posture she took a step, then another, and another. She realized now that she needed water, badly, and food, as she felt another tug on her skin, and the impression of a foot appeared again against the outside of her stomach. She struggled as she walked, longing for anything that might slacken her thirst and hunger, not knowing there would be very little in the way of edible or drinkable food or liquid that could be easily found, if any. But she began the hunt regardless. Soon, stopping to rest on the bumper of an almost totally demolished auto, she slowly began to sob uncontrollably, not wanting to, but unable to stop.
       Thunder and lightning and a soft falling rain brought her back to the reality of her predicament. She wondered: What happened? How did I get here? I remember heading to a neighbor's home, and that's the last I can recall. Alone as far as she could tell, hungry and thirsty, with child, and no idea where to look for her and her child's basic needs, the pains began. And there would be no one to help her. No hot towels, no clean sheets. No one to check to see if the child was headed in the right direction. No one to cut the cord, or hold the baby if she passed out. No one. Then, as predicted, she passed out.
       The next thing she knew, she was reaching down between her legs and picking up the boy child. He was fidgeting and licking his lips, flailing his arms and legs. She cleaned him up as best she could with her hands and arms and the dirty gloves she wore. He began to cry, filling his lungs with the precious air, and she hoped that was a good sign. She held the boy close, wrapping her arms around him firmly but not too tight as to harm her precious gift. Again she sobbed.
       Then the pains in her abdomen kept coming. Throbbing, intense enough to cause her to stretch out on the ground with her boy atop her. She held on to the squirming child tightly so he wouldn't fall to the ground. She was unable to focus her vision. Everything was twirling around her. She began to vomit and her bowels released under her. She turned silent. Was still. Pressuring herself to focus on what was happening, she lifted the boy from her chest and looked at him straight on. His eyes were shut, he seemed not to be breathing. He was still, his legs dangling and his entire body was limp. She cried out but no one heard her. She screamed again, but no one came. She forgot about her hunger, her thirst. All she could think about was the little man. She had his name all picked out. In her mind she had readied a room for him where she once lived. She thought how he would play with the neighbor children, how he would go to school, what a fine young man he would grow up to be. How he would take care of her in her old age. But now, all of that seemed to be turning into the nightmare of him not being there to live out that dream. She knew it was over. She brought the boy back to her breast, held him close and tight, said goodbye to him feebly, but as best she could, and began to sob uncontrollably. The child died in her arms. But maybe, just maybe, it was for the best.
       Later that night, the mother passed on herself. She had buried her son in a shallow hole in the ground and covered him with what was available nearby. Rags, pieces of cardboard and metal, some grass, which wasn't much but it was all that she had to use. She had said a prayer for him and for herself, not knowing really whether it was heard or acknowledged by some higher power, some kind, forgiving, divine being. It mattered little now.
       The weather shifted, The rain subsided, the sky became bright with the sunlight of day, and a gentle breeze moved across the landscape. And two wild dogs moved out from behind a building, nose to the ground, heading in the direction of where the two bodies were. The dogs gave several sniffs, as they always do, but moved on through the trash, moving in the familiar lope of the wild wolf. They were soon out of no one's sight, as no one was there to witness their retreat. A breeze stirred, it started to rain again, then a stillness covered the earth. It is theorized that a falling tree, out of hearing distance of anyone to hear it, makes no sound. On this day there was no one anywhere to hear the sound of the wind or the rain. But under a certain spot of ground, right next to the mother and child, a seed was germinating, struggling to bring forth a living plant. It was of the family rosaceae, malus domestica; an apple tree. Could it be that another garden would soon come alive, to await another human life that might be able to sustain itself? The rain seeped down into the tiny roots of the opening seed, nourishing it, giving the plant hope for survival. The tiny tree broke ground and reached its branches towards the sky, seeking out the sun's rays that would gave it its life. And it grew.