The Ancients

A thousand years ago, movies told stories of sickness that changed everyone into blood-crazed zombies. In reality, it was far worse. It was death, and mourning, and lost hope. Unbearable suffering for generations. Despite our own self-destructive lunacy, our tendency to destroy our environment, our hatred of each other, and our gluttony - despite all of our failings - it was our own biology that nearly destroyed us.

Our ancestors made efforts to change our DNA but, in their haste to save us, we became weak and vulnerable to many diseases. We never felt like the lucky ones but we called them heroes anyway, for humanity did survive. No one is certain how many of us were left but it wasn't many. Maybe fifty-thousand people.

Our species continued but we weren't truly human anymore. There were atrocities, mutations, wars, and humanity was lost. We became a different sort of zombie: resistant to emotions like sorrow or empathy. Life was cold and was no room for such luxuries. Over time, the descendants of heroes became villains.

A handful of survivors, the Ancients, were unable to die naturally. Nobody knows why they lived so long but they lived for many lifetimes. Much of our knowledge of the old days came from their words. These otherwise average people were the glue to our past - the one link to civilization. They represented hope and we loved them beyond measure. But they weren't gods and in the end, the Ancients were systematically hunted and slain like dogs by jealous madmen, as misplaced retribution for the misery of an entire planet. The immortal Ancients were eventually victims of genocide.

But in the deepest reaches of an Ancient complex, eleven men and women lay sleeping for centuries. One would change everything forever.

The End

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