I hear machines humming.
The steady drip of liquid. Slow, labored breathing.
My eyes open – one of them anyway? My other eye is bandaged?
I reflexively move to sit up but discover I’m restrained, strapped to a gurney in a tunnel with dim lights. I shout, “Hey!” but a muffled blur comes out. I’m gagged. I struggle.
“Shh! Quiet you…!” comes a stern whisper from behind. A woman comes menacingly into view with shiny foil wrapped around the top of her head. A lot of it. Holding a baseball bat over me threateningly, she turns to someone I can’t see. “They’re right outside.”
“My God,” says another woman’s voice, “what if we’re the last two?”
“There’s no way to know.”
“Asia and Africa went completely silent two days ago,” the phantom voice says. “Nothing from South America for six hours. Los Angeles went dark 30 minutes ago. My God, the whole world is gone.”
“There is no way to be sure of that.”
A tremendous thud from above rocks the tunnel.
Resolve melts into terrified tears. “Ooh,” trembles the second woman, “They’re getting in. Oh God!”
“I don’t want to let them kill me!” She rips the foil from her head much to the alarm of the other, who dashes into view trying to put it back. She, too, has a crown of silvery foil.
“Put it back or you’ll kill me for them!” screams the other as they shred foil in battle.
“Take yours off too! We have to join them! What’s the use? We lost! It’s over! It’s been over for months! Let’s face it…we never had a chance.” She turns angrily to me, raising the bat over my face. “You fucking bastards.”
“He can‘t help it!” Suddenly I like this one a lot. The bat doesn’t come down – yet.
Her face flexes and shifts to a strangely menacing expression.
The first woman, panicking, clumsily replaces her own foil helmet, and she grips the bat white-knuckled again.
“It’s not even him any longer,” she insists, ready to swing down on me, “so who cares?”
“We need as many bodies as possible.” the other commands in a stronger voice than she had moments before, grabbing the bat, twisting it from her grip. The realization strikes home…
“I’m the last one. The last person on Earth.”
“Only the last one with free will. Surrender it or die.”
“Isn’t that the same? I’ll be gone either way.”
Then something comes over the other. A struggle within takes place before she says, “I apologize. What’s happening to your world…it is beyond our control. But we’re trying…”
“Go back to your Sun! Go back to hell!”
An almost remorseful look befalls the other. She seems apologetic as she says, “Transitioning back to plasma reality is extremely hard, sometimes impossible. And even as we commit these monstrous acts against you, we are tortured within, overcome by your alien instincts, always fighting against the urge to overwhelm you, yet…”
“So you blame us for our own demise?” Gwynn says bitterly, tears streaming.
“The portals opened to your cold outer world without a hint of danger,” the other stresses, fighting to remain calm while a crush of pressure pushes at the door of the tunnel, crackling. “We didn’t know that passing through meant madness! Our transition is instant. From our world of fluid reasoning our explorers instantly inhabit your bodies, aliens with hard chemical brains, undeveloped and wild. You are different than us, restrained physically and obsessed with forbidden acts and using us to carry them out. You have names for these acts such as rape, torture, murder…”
“Explorers? The end of our civilization is the result of you exploring?”
The other fights to restrain her instinct to attack. But it’s obvious she won’t be able to hold back much longer.
The pounding on the tunnel door becomes steadier and louder. “We planned carefully ever since our discovery of Earth six months ago, thrilled that another world awaited our exploration, a world different than any we had visited before. A solid world of hard interactions. Why did our plans go so awry? We don’t understand it yet. But know that we will make every effort to never wipe out an entire realm of beings again. Every…effort…”
The pounding finally collapses the door and thousands of crazed, occupied Earth creatures pour in, from rats and ants to people and pigeons.
“Am I the last? Will the human species be extinct after I’m gone? Am I the last human?“
“No,” the other realizes, turning to me. “That is.”
Having worked myself loose, on behalf of all the humans who ever lived I rise up and smack that bitch in the head.