Making Babies in the Post Apocalyptic World
This was the first time I'd seen Disney World completely deserted. It was the middle of summer. Our bodies were slick from where the rain had drenched us, but now that the stars were out, the large glass ball of Epcot glistened in the moonlight. Although all the shop doors were locked and the rides didn't operate, there was no one to stop us from pretending we were traveling the earth, which had been destroyed months ago. When we finished exploring, we decided to build a fire right outside the magic kingdom. Our faces saturated with orange lights, we didn't talk about being survivors; no, Peter talked about rummaging for overpriced gift shop items within the shop walls.
"So when do y'all want to start repopulating the world?" He was supposed to be addressing the group, but the rest of them were either searching for firewood or gazing at the stars—the only light in our sky. Back when it still took us hours to light our fire and our tent would fall down several times in the middle of the night, Peter would be the one telling us how to fix things. He liked to think of himself as a leader but the truth was that none of us were much of anything.
"I don't want kids until I'm like 30."
"That's a waste of 10 years of good fertility! Plus, I don't think it's a coincidence that the gender ratio is perfect."
Peter isn't right about many things, but I couldn't help noticing that he was right about this. Despite my hacked off hair and slender hips, I was technically a girl and Maxwell, who was hairy enough to be the king of apes, was technically male. In two weeks, I would be 20 even. I didn't fear death as much as I feared leaving nothing behind. I wanted to be ashes that would conjure rebirth but as the youngest of three kids, I had little experience with the birth part.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Maryann and Louis came back with a bundle of firewood. When they placed it on the flame, the wood sparked and caught fire. It matched the orange in Peter's beard.
"Sex," Peter replied. "We need to repopulate."
"Dude, he's right. Disney world is really depressing without little kids screaming their heads off." Louis took Maryann's hand. The day the world ended, she spent all night burying her chest into his ribs, as if his heart could protect her from the nuclear fallout searing through the sky. Louis didn't have the muscles Peter had, but to Maryann he was as invincible as they empty vacuum that contained space itself.
"Everything is depressing without sound filling it," said Maryann.
Looking at the park, still fully intact, I was reminded of how the bombs transformed the city of Charlotte into a giant crater, how they toppled the New York City skyline into the Hudson Bay, how they vaporized the Eiffel Tower, but at the same time left our university whole. Afterwards, they evacuated the survivors, but we'd been locked up in Peter's basement, eating Ramen noodles and no one thought to look for us. We weren't entirely sure if we were the only ones left behind, but by the time we emerged from the shelter, life had abandoned our home in Orlando.
"It's only a matter of time before all of us get ass cancer—
-which is why we should start soon." Maryann finished Louis' sentence, before pecking him on the cheek.
"So Cassie, between Peter and Maxwell, who would you choose?" Peter had stopped paying attention and was now poking the fire; his eyes fixated on it like a child fixating on his toy. We'd known each other since high school. He was the type of kid that would climb trees in between classes, and wouldn't bother to tame his curly red hair. He and Maxwell used to marathon Doctor Who and Dungeon's and Dragons. I pictured both of them naked, and then regretted it. When I tried to picture Maxwell smiling; however, I couldn't.
"Peter," I told them. He stopped poking the fire and locked eyes with me. His were so dark brown that his pupils blended with his irises. He probably noticed that mine were more gray than blue. I don't know. I was too fixated on his patchy beard hairs to really care.
Pt. 2: Actually Making the Babies
We agree to have sex on my birthday because hey, birthday sex. On the way there, we talked about all the things we found the weeks following the apocalypse, six months ago, like the abandoned Wal-Mart that had months supply of cereal and thousands of matches and lighters. Peter joked about getting his ass sunburned, and how he wished that his father had taught him how to fire a gun instead of playing the piano.
"You're funny," I told him. In a world full of variables, he was the only constant, but when he grabbed my hand all I could think about was how he farted last night in his sleep.
"So how is this for the spot?"
In front of Peter the Epcot globe crystalized from the sunlight. The sky was an artificial blue, so bright it could have been neon. Sometimes, I liked to imagine the buildings as automations, capable of moving, but choosing to stay still, that way I could pretend Peter wasn't the only beating heart besides my own.
Peter found a shady spot underneath some overgrown bushes and wilted flowers and sat down. Next to him, a Mickey Mouse statue glimmered like water in the sun. I sat next to him. Instead of looking into his eyes, I looked at the freckles on his arms dotting his biceps. Peter took off his shirt. The heat made our skin melt together, until we were stuck to one another. I wanted to pull us apart.
"Do you want to take off my pants?"
When I didn't answer him he said, "We don't have to do this if you don't want to."
I let my hand rest onto his, so that the sun would melt us together once again.
"I do," I reassured him. "Do you remember how I stayed with you after you broke your leg?"
I remembered the sirens blaring and us rushing into Peter's apartment. I remembered seeing Peter under the branch, leg crushed as if it was a glass figurine. After most of the survivors evacuated, a few rogue groups remained, only to abandon us once they realized Peter couldn't walk well. Since then we hadn't run into anyone-just skeletons of cars, skeletons of people, even skeletons of pets.
"I care about you Peter. I do." I kept looking at his abs, because that was the only thing glorious about him. It was to a point where we just stared at certain parts of each other, unable to accept the full picture. I rested my hand on his shoulder. Peter followed my lead, and then pressed his lips against mine. He tasted like a burger, but at least it was a delicious one.
I tried to take off my bra, but failed. Instead, Peter got it, threw it and I watched as the strap caught on Mickey Mouse's nose. I was a goddess of seduction, wasn't I?
In the middle of the deed, there was a low rumbling sound, like voices blending together. Shadows moved across the pavement. They were stretched from the sunlight; their voices rose and rose, until I realized they were human sounds. Whoever it was had come to finish us. This was how I'll die, I thought, fucking Peter.
Behind the overgrowth stood a gentleman who looked like a real life version of Shaggy from Scooby doo. He was carrying a plastic mace, a long one like you would see in a tacky Disney gift shop and behind him was a woman with a pitchfork not unlike the mermaid king's and behind her were about a dozen other man, equally adored in Disney merchandise.
"Oh I'm sorry…I didn't mean to disturb."
"It's not a problem." Peter grabbed his pants, which were hanging off Mickey Mouse's thumb.
"We thought we were the only ones here."
"Well we figured that this was the only chance we had to get into Disney world for free, so we took it," the woman with the pitchfork replied.
"No I thought we were the only ones here."
"There's a whole colony of us. If you want you can come and join us and you know, survive and stuff."
"Sounds cool. I'll look into it for sure." Peter finished zipping up his pants. "C'mon Cassie. Get dressed."
I stood up, Peter's babies still inside of me and slipped on my tunic. On the way back to camp we passed the magic kingdom again, where I noticed that castles windows were busted up and that half the roof had burnt off. Orange and pink clouds swirled through the sky, but it was nothing compared to that evening sun, red and swelled. More than a decade ago I believed in magic. Now I couldn't even believe in reality.
When we arrived back to camp, our friends spelt out "congrads' on the sex" with pine branches.