FOUR MONTHS

Character: Daniel Ross, a 26- to 42-year-old man who is the last living human on Earth.

Situation: Daniel shares his final thoughts before he dies.

It's been four months… Four months since we've come back to this dreadful planet… Four months since we realized that ev'ryone else in th' world was gone… Whether they're all dead or moved on t' another planet, I only wish I knew. All I know now is I'm th' lass livin' person on earth. (Daniel opens a bottle of wine and sighs.) Great. Juuuust…great. (He shakes his head and looks down into the bottle.)

Y'know…this bo'le o' wine is one I've kept since I was a li'le kid—five or six years ol', maybe. I'd, uh, heard from…who knows where that th' longer you keep a bo'le of wine, th' be'er it'll tas'e. Don't know if that's true. (Daniel takes a sip from the bottle and winces.) Strong stuff, that is. Remin's me of the crud they made us drink back in our train'n' days. If only we'd known back then wha' th' future'd hold. Never woulda taken that dang offer. (He coughs harshly and holds his throat gently before taking another sip from the bottle.) I guess this stuff's not so bad. Gotta get used to it, is all. Just fine for a man's lass drink. (He rubs his eye with three fingers. He then notices blood that is left on his fingers and sighs.)

Ge'in' close, now. Y'know, just four months ago, I was trav'lin' space. Now I'm here, talkin' t' a tree as I wai' for th' last of my breath ta fade away. (Daniel takes a large gulp of wine.) Ahh. I think this is ev'ry man's wish. Ta have one lass drink b'fore he dies. Helps se'le th' nerves, all righ'. (He grunts and tries to shift in his place. He then shakes his head, regretting the movement.) 'Cept…it'd be nice if I di'n'… hafta go alone. (He lowers his eyes and stares at the bottle in his bloody hand.) But I guess that's the way it goes, right?

(Daniel looks longingly at the tree and then blinks twice.) See…we star'ed this exploration bein' told it was for scientific discov'ry. They'd, um…said they were lookin' for men who were willin' t' go into space. (He stiffens and deepens his voice a bit.) "No experience needed", they said. "Just tryin' to examine more of the universe", they said. (Daniel winces and resumes his previous position and voice.) Lies. All of 'em. Lies. Just… (He lowers his head and sighs.) lies. (He shakes his head and takes another sip of wine. His movements are labored and look painful.) The truth was the Earth was in danger. An' th' government was afraid to tell th' public 'cause…you know…panic. So they spen' th' lass three hun'red nin'y-eight years—or however long it's been—t' be honest, we'd all lost track. Anyway, they spen' 'bout four hun'red years researchin' th' universe an' possible other universes—wha'ever that's supposed t' mean—an' doin' all these explorations in search for another planet that can sustain human life. (Daniel scoffs and slightly shakes his head.) Now…our mission—our real mission—was ta spen' a li'le time on each of the…wha' is it…four thousand seven hun'red twen'y-six planets? Yeah, som'in' like that. Just a li'le time on each one that'd been discovered. Thank God there'd been advances in technology speed in th' lass few cent'ries. Fin'ly able ta travel at th' speed of light. (Daniel chugs down a forth of the remaining bottle in one breath. He grits his teeth and mutters a curse.)

…When we'd go'en to th'…I don't know…for'y-seventh, maybe… Crap… Was impossible ta keep track of anything. Anyway, when we got to our 'bout fiftieth planet, we got a message from Earth telling us to head back. An' y'know how signals from Earth can take a while to be received when you're outside th' solar system. So by th' time we got the dang thing, it was already a year later. So, yeah, we wen' ahead an' headed back t' this planet at full-speed. We had ta create one of those artificial wormhole things that would take us from Xiler to somewhere around Jupiter. An' y'know Xiler is 'bout seven light-months from here, so we saved a few months using that space jumper, or whatever the "real" name for it is. But by th' time we got here—only four months ago—no one could be found. I mean, nobody living. There were plenty of dead bodies, but it wa'n't even half of the Earth's population. At least, the population from when we'd first left. I'd like to believe that the others had made it to another planet. But there's just no way to be sure of that. (Daniel sneezes and holds nose in pain as blood trickles out of it. He sighs again and looks up to the rotting tree.)

…When we started this mission, there were three hun'red seven'y thousan', four hun'red twen'y-nine of us from all over th' globe. Our ages ranged from se'enteen—the minimum age, with th' 'ception of a few fi'teen- an' si'teen-year-olds, of course—from se'enteen ta 'bout thir'y-eigh'. (Daniel scoffs in disbelief, which is followed by a deep cough.) We really thought we were ai'in' in scientific info. Wa'n't till later that we—or what was left of us—found out that we were really lookin' for humanity's last hope for survival. If only they'd told us from th' beginin'. If only… (Daniel winces and takes in a sharp breath through gritted teeth. He then drinks half of what is left in the bottle in two breaths.)

It's kinda nice t' be sayin' my final words in English. I mean, th' old English from th' 'bout eighteenth ta twen'y-third cent'ries. This new English I grew up with just never sat right with me. Things change, I guess. (Daniel wipes the blood and sweat from his forehead slowly. He gives a humorless chuckle, followed by a soft grunt.) It's so much warmer now than it'd been when I was a kid. They'd said it was 'cause th' sun is nearin' th' end of its cycle. Few more cent'ries, maybe. Least no one will be around when it blows. (Daniel drinks most of the remaining wine and sighs.) Not so bad… Just gotta get used t' it…

Anyway—as you've pro'bly guessed—the mission was a bust. The training itself was intense. Lost half our men in it alone. Then by th' time we'd go'en back here four months ago, there was only 'bout twen'y-eigh' or so of us left. Like I'd said, it was hard ta keep track of anything. Awful thing, y'know. Watching the…men you've been working with just…die so easily. I was one of th' lucky few. Me an' you, my friend, are lucky—if you believe in that kinda thing—to still be alive. Two of th' few remaining life forms on this miserable planet. Kinda…makes cha wonder, really, what it was all like before humans existed. B'fore any life existed, really. (Daniel slowly drains the rest of his drink and blinks slowly. He sees the tree's last dying leaf fall to the ground.) Guess your time's come, as well, huh? (He takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. He looks into the empty bottle.)

Gone. Like ev'rythin' else. T'was a fine last drink…I…I'm going to miss this world. At least…the world it used t' be. (Daniel looks down with tears filling his eyes.) Why did this have to happen? …Why…now? I just… It…doesn't hurt anymore. Nothing does. (He sits up slowly and crawls onto his feet. He looks down over a bloody body sprawled out in front of a lifeless tree. He sighs.) Why did this have to happen? There was no warning. No clue. It just…happened. (Daniel turns to face the tree.) Maybe if we'd only found another planet…if only…ju…I…why? Please…tell me why… Please… (He sits under the tree and wipes his face.)

It's been four months. Four months since I last felt alive. Four months since I've been in space. Four months since…ev'rything. We shoulda just stayed in space. (Daniel stiffens and shakes slightly in anger.) Blast th' gover'ment! Blast 'em and their dang secrets! If only they'd told us! I hope they're all burning in th' devil's pit now! We didn't deserve this. None of us. Now we're all dead because they thought it was a bad idea to share! (He slams his fist into the tree and only grows more frustrated due to the lack of impact.)

(He is still for a moment before he relaxes.) …What am I supposed t' do now? Just…wait? (He sighs.) I've grown tired of waiting. (Daniel looks at the tree and then over to his body.) …Guess I don't have much of a choice. (He stands up.) Well…farewell, my friend… It's…been nice. (Daniel walks away and disappears…)

Hey, there! Thanks so much for reading my first Fictionpress upload. This was a monologue I had saved on my computer from an 8th grade assignment. It might be a while before I do something else, but feel free to subscribe if you want. And I'd greatly appreciate reviews. Thanks!