Various short stories
Death. The end of one’s existence. Every creature seeks to avoid its cold grasp. Humans always chased immortality, not even bothering to consider consequences that living forever might bring. But now, we have it. A serum was developed to stop us from aging, and soon we could give that serum to animals as well. It wasn’t long before we could heal every wound, every disease, no matter how serious or deadly it was. As our population grew too large for Earth to support, we spread across the galaxy, claiming everything we could get into our grasp. We thought nothing of the species we found and forced from their homes. In the end, there were hundreds of planets inhabited by the human race. One planet taken was the previously uninhabited Haven. Current population? 32. It is on this near twin of Earth that this story shall take place. This story that I am going to tell you is the one of my last six months in the small town of Hope.
Medical Report: January 19, 4000
Name: Andrea Doe
Date of Birth: June 20, 3500
Parents: John and Jane Doe
Siblings: Jill Doe
Appearance: Eyes- Teal. Hair- Brown. Height- 5’0”. Weight- 95 lbs.
Reason For Seeking Treatment: Fell down out of a tree
As the computer finished filling out the form, Andrea drummed her fingers against the table, eager leave. Sunlight, her leopard, watched the women. The two had known each other since Sunlight’s birth, 494 years ago. In that time, they had come to know each quite well. Andrea pretty much always could guess what the other was thinking: she could see Sunlight’s amusement, even though the leopard wasn’t giving any real sign for her kind hadn’t evolved to be able to show emotion. She just knew that, had Sunlight been human, she would be grinning like a maniac. Knowing that made Andrea scowl. Eventually, after what felt like hours (and in reality was only two minutes), the computer beeped and the door slid open without a sound. Instantly, Andrea was on her feet and out the door, her companion on her heels. Resting her hand on the leopard’s silky head, she asked “Where do you think Shade is?”
“Probably with Storm,” Sunlight replied “You know how she is about him. I’m taking pets on how long it’ll be before she has a litter.”
Andrea, trying hard to keep a straight face, said “Now Sunlight, you know gambling is not an appropriate tradition to uphold.”
Both laughed, or purred, but fell silent as a calm voice with a very proper British accent cut through the air “Correct, Andrea. Gambling is not appropriate, and climbing tree is also a waste. How many times have I told you that you simply must spend more time meditating? You are turning 500 in six months, and you must be ready to enter adulthood.”
Gritting her teeth, Andrea turned to face a woman who, like everyone on Haven, appeared to be in her early twenties. “Hello, Mother.” She spoke with cold politeness, barely hiding her dislike.
“Andrea, why do you struggle to follow our ways? If you need help mediating, all you need to do is ask.” Jane Doe said with a soft sigh, not bothered by the coldness in her daughter’s tone. She continued to walk- no, glide- toward the two.
“Uh, maybe because we talk and dress like we’re from 2013, but everything is earthy browns, greens, and maybe some blues if I’m really lucky? Maybe because I don’t want to sit around all day? Maybe because I want to explore the galaxy, have an interesting life? Maybe because I don’t want to be stuck on some hippy planet for all eternity?” Andrea’s voice grew hard, frustrated and emotional, “Maybe because I am sick of this stinking planet and the 31 people I have known my whole life? Maybe because all you do is drone on and on and on about balance and peace and meditation? Maybe because no tries to understand me, and everyone thinks I should just conform instead of being me?”
Once Andrea stopped breath, Jane blinked and said calmly, “This is why I tell you to meditate more.” Andrea groaned and walked away, Sunlight following.
As the two emerged from the building and walked under the clear blue sky, a wolf blacker than the night sky ran up to them. Andrea nodded to the wolf, as it was Shade, who she had met at the same time she came across Sunlight. The black eyes of Shade were like bottomless pits, something Andrea hard not to look at as the wolf spoke, “Come with me. A man from another planet arrived while you were inside.”
“What?! That’s impossible! We never get visitors, or even messages! The last communication with Earth or any other planet was before I was born!” Andrea was stunned, but excited. She finally had a chance to meet someone new! A grin spread across her face, and she exclaimed “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” She took off after Shade for the Town Hall.
The whole towns of Hope, a staggering 32 people, were inside, talking quietly and calmly. Andrea pushed her way to the front, and spotted the newcomer. Any excitement she felt vanished. Like everyone, he appeared to be about 23. He had very short black hair, tan skin, and golden, wolf like eyes. He stood roughly at 7’2”, towering over everyone else. As she looked at him, the hair on the back of her neck stood up. Something seemed… off about him. There was an icy, predatory look about him, like he wanted to kill, and kill a lot. For reasons she couldn’t explain, she disliked him, and felt extremely wary around him. She murmured to the person next to her “Who is he?”
The person, her friend James Bob, replied “He says his name is Jack B. Ripper.”
Jack B. Ripper was allowed, to stay, of course. No one else seemed even the slightest bit of suspicious of the giant man. But I was. To this day, I can’t explain why I felt like this, but it all felt a little off. Why would someone just show up with no warning, and offer no explanation for his presence? He didn’t look like the kind of person to be with content with meditating for eternity on a planet like Haven. Not only that, but he asked weird questions. He wanted to know where we got our power from, when we all were in the same place at the same time. Looking back, I can’t figure out why no one else was suspicious of him, why I was the only one wary. Maybe it was because I was the only one willing to not trust, not open myself up. I admit that I watched him, looking for something that would let me get him kicked off the planet. Fine. I was jealous. I was used to being to be the special one, as the youngest, and now he was the unique one, the special one. I grew to hate him, even, for being so strange… Anyway. The next few months passed without any real incident. Then, on June 19 of the year 4000, everything changed.
“Seriously, something is up with that Jack guy. He insists on staying on his ship- which none of us have ever seen! - and he is always there except when he’s asking questions.” Andrea glared at her human ‘friends’.
“Andrea, he stays on his ship for there is no one else for him to stay, and he’s clearly very into meditating, so he probably enjoys the solitude of his ship.” Winter Walker said patiently, almost amused by her younger friend’s insistence that Jack was an evil, possibly insane, serial killer.
“Besides,” Anne Smith chimed in, “You’re turning 500 tomorrow. You should be focusing on that, not Mr. Ripper.”
Andrea bristled slightly at their dismissal of her suspicions. “Whatever. I’m leaving. Enjoy your meditation.” She practically snarled this, and stalked out of Anne’s home.
She slammed her fist into the wall, frustrated and angry. She was starting to hate everyone on this planet. Why couldn’t they even put a tiny bit of effort into trying to understand her? She looked at the round, two story home, and the identical ones that ran in two rows. She looked around, alone. Sunlight was with Shade, whose puppies were due any day now. Heaving a sigh, she started to walk toward her home, but stopped when she saw Jack hurrying away from town. Curiosity and suspicion beat away any form of common sense as she followed him into the dark, dense forest that lay at the edge of town.
After walking for what felt like ages, Andrea stopped at the edge of an empty clearing that Jack had entered. He looked around, then reached out and touched something. The air rippled, and a space ship appeared.
Her first reaction to the sight of the ship was to gag, and possibly puke. It was hideous, gross even. Its shape was fairly simple, a pod resting on eight legs. But the side she could see was painted to look like a bug. One wing was and the head were a sickly, puke colored green. The other wing was bright, neon yellow, as were the eyes. The legs alternated in color between the yellow and the green. She saw a green patch on the yellow wing, and she realized that it was a door as it swung open. Jack walked inside, and moments later, she darted up the ramp as the ship turned invisible. She hesitated, touching the hull briefly, but gagged. The metal was coated in a thick, slimy ooze, and it was sticky. She wiped off her hand and stepped inside.
Once she was in the ship, she could see it again. The layout was fairly simple, she realized as she stepped out of the room the ramp led into. The cockpit was where the head had been painted. A narrow, central hallway separated the ship into two parts, with four rooms on each side. The interior was the same ugly green as the outside, and it was incredibly humid. She could feel herself start to sweat.. She started exploring. The back two rooms were devoted to engines. The next two were where she had entered and an empty room. Then there were strange rooms that were oddly swamp like. She was heading to the next room when she heard voices.
“The bomb is nearly ready. I have found a way to access the planet’s core. This will allow me to destroy the whole planet, which seems to be the best option. The only life is that of the humans and their pets, and it seems they are the only sentient life that ever resided here. By this time tomorrow, the human race shall be extinct.” She was horrified, and a little smug, to realize that the voice belonged to none other than Jack B. Ripper.
“Very good,” A strange male voice answered “We will finally make the universe safe from the plague called humans.”
Andrea could barely process what she had just heard. All she got is that Jack was planning to blow up Haven. Terror coursed through her, and she could hear Jack saying “I’d better finish up,” but she paid no attention. The next words the strange man spoke caught her attention, though.
“Your sacrifice will be remembered. May you die with glory.”
There was a burst of static, and then an ominous silence. She couldn’t figure out how to move her limbs as she heard Jack speak again “I never thought this day would come. I’ve been waiting for centuries. But tomorrow, our mission that we started so long ago will be finished. Tomorrow, exactly 500 years after you sacrificed yourself to destroy Earth, the humans will be gone, and no more species will lose their planets to them. And I’ll be with you… I can’t wait to see you in Paradise.”
Andrea wasn’t really sure what he was talking about, but she wanted to look and see who he was talking too. Summoning her courage, she peeked inside, and felt her heart drop. The walls were literally covered in weapons (there wasn’t an inch not covered) and in the center of the room was the table, with several buttons on one side, and a sleek silver object, that she realized was a torpedo or bomb of some sort. But she saw only Jack. For some strange, stupid reason, she stepped into the room. Jack’s head snapped up and he saw her. A cold, predatory smile crossed his face, and he pushed a button, and the door slid shut, and locked. Cold fear and dread seeped their way through her suddenly stony limbs as she realized she was trapped. As the man started to tremble, she wondered what had possessed her to enter. That train of thought ended abruptly as his skin started to bubble and she started to puke at the sight of it. By the time she finished emptying her stomach, she looked up and gasped. Jack no longer looked human. Instead of arms and legs, he had long, bladed appendages. His head was bug like, with bulging golden eyes. His skin was rough and wrinkled the same sickly green as the ship. He bared fangs, and seemed even taller than before.
Before she had time to blink, the thing attacked, moving fast. He nearly ran her through, but somehow she dodged by rolling out of the way. She knew it was a hopeless battle. He was more than two feet taller than her, and must have been twice her weight. He was strong, scary fast, and agile. There was no way she could win, and that she was going to die no matter what she did. But she was going to take him with her. She would not die cowering before him. She lunged to the nearby wall and seized a knife off a rack, and spun to face the creature. Teal eyes met golden, and time to slow as the human waited. The alien lunged, and she braced herself. The blades on his arms sank into her gut and jerked up. As he ran her through, she plunged the knife into his chest. By some stroke of luck, she hit his heart, killing him. With herculean effort, she shoved him away and stumbled to the buttons, and pushed one, and the door opened. She stepped toward it, but the fatal wound overwhelmed her and she collapsed. Blood rapidly pooled around her. A single tear fell, and there was silence.
Death. In the end, everything comes back to death. Without it, there is no point in life. Every species lives to ensure the next generation will live. But when they don’t die, then what’s their purpose? There will be no need for a new generation, so what matter about their life now? Immortal humans don’t live: they exist. They have no reason to make the most of the time they have, or to form bonds of love and friendship. They have eternity, so why rush? There is no drive anymore in what’s left of my race. I understand the price we paid for forever now. We gave up what made life worth living, the need for passion and love, hate and fun. I had eternity: now I have minutes. I regret everything I have never had- a real family, love, a desire to make the most of my life, and the chance to explore. I have never fallen in love, or had my heart broken. I never thought that it would come to this. But it has. I’m not ready to die- though I should be. I honestly wish I had lived for a mere century, and lived like the humans of the 2000s did, instead of the 499 years I wasted here. I can feel life slipping away right now. I wonder what it would have been like to be 500. Not that I’ll ever know now. The others will never know what Jack really was, nor will know my fate. They won’t try to find out, either. My parents will have another daughter to maintain balance, and life will continue. I wish things were different. But they aren’t. I’m not angry that they won’t miss me. I’m bitter because all I ever did that was remotely worth living was saving their lives by killing Jack. But I feel bad about that… all he wanted to do was protect the galaxy, and I prevented him from doing that. I pity that creature. I feel bad that I ever hated him. He must have been a decent person deep down, even though he was going to kill everyone. Killing him isn’t worth remembering. I didn’t have a choice, really. I was going to die either way, and I wanted to do something with my life. You may say my “sacrifice” makes me a hero, but it doesn’t. I’m not a hero. A hero chooses to give their lives to save others. I didn’t. A hero also would be remembered, loved, and they would be a noble, perfect person. I am (was?) a short, judgmental, as far from noble and perfect as one can be, human, unloved and forgotten…
“She’s been gone for a year”, Sunlight mused, staring at the rising sun. Shade raised her head and nodded silently.
“We need to look, just one last time,” the leopard nearly begged “You can come – your pups don’t need you anymore.”
Shade was silent, then nodded and pulled herself to her feet. Sunlight rose as well, and they walked into a forest.
They searched all day, and were about to give up. Sunlight growled in frustration, and Shade paced throughout the clearing they were is. Out of the blue, Shade helped and scrambled, having run into something metal and invisible. The air rippled, and suddenly the two could see the ship they stood beneath. There was a lowered ramp, and as they moved to go up it, they saw how bug-like the ship was.
It didn’t take long to find the corpses. The entire ship reeked of rotting meat. The two entered the room, and saw the bodies. When they realized the smaller one was Andrea, Sunlight bowed her head, having expected this. Silent and grim, Shade dragged Andrea out of the ship and buried her. Shade raised her head and howled to the rising moon and setting sun, wondering why Andrea was dead. Eventually, the leopard and the wolf hybrid went back to Hope. They would never speak of what they found, but they never forgot the woman named Andrea.