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The Last Survivor

By Sree, Grade 6, Melbourne (Australia)

“What happened?”

I emerged from the rubble and dust. The city that was once bustling and energetic was dead silent. I slipped into the rubble, and tears streamed down my face. My leg felt shattered, as if replaced with dinner plates, although a broken leg did not compare to the fear pounding in my chest. Humanity had met its fate. I was devastated beyond words. I was the lone survivor.

I felt lethargic and weary after the office caved in; the air was pungent with a smoky smell. Memories flooded my mind as I brushed the dust off my thighs. My pants were torn, yet taut and stiff. Everyone was buried in the rubble, gone forever. There was no one left to remember the lives they led or to grieve them. Gone.

The thought saddened me, and my eyes were drawn to the woman next to me. She was not completely buried in the rubble; however, she was pale and lifeless, almost as if scared to death. But there she lay; her worst nightmare had come true. I sat down beside her, contemplating the life I had led with my friends and family. I had taken the care and affection I received for granted. Everyone I had known in my life, in the past, was with me, laughing and smiling. Now, they were not smiling. They did not care for me anymore. We had separated beyond help, and I felt impotent and worthless.

Fixated on my thoughts, I failed to notice the eerie question that was extremely clear: How had this happened? I had been in my cubicle with my brand-new assistant, the lady beside me, making small talk. In the next second, everyone in the city was gone. Mass pandemonium stretched far and wide in those last few seconds, which felt as if they were in slow motion.

My fingers fumbled, reaching for my cell phone to contact my loved ones, but it was in vain. My assistant had turned pale, and her face was edged with horror.

The flashback ended abruptly. After about thirty minutes, I managed to climb out of the destruction and onto a stable surface. I turned back, only to be greeted with a harrowing revelation: Where is everyone else? And that is when it hit me. I was alone, all alone. Amongst the dust and destruction, the silence and my breath, no one was there. My chest felt tight all of a sudden, and my breathing got quicker and sharper as the seconds passed. I was so sure that I would lead a life surrounded by the comfort of my own luxuries and loved ones. Gone. My aspirations were just a mere dream. Again.

Two weeks later… (Present)

My stomach was pleased with the meal I just ate. I found a desolate, remote fuel station by the highway. Ever since then, I have lived there. The place is abundant with food; however, there is no electricity to keep it from being inedible. It is quite a dilemma. I rummaged through the storage and unexpectedly found an old, shaggy uniform and a warm sleeping bag. I have yet to understand the cause of the devastation and the fate of humanity. Whether there is truly someone here, or just me, I do not know.

I awoke to a brisk morning, which was quite chilly. The air was coarse and sharp as I clutched onto the sleeping bag. I caught a whiff of fresh food, something that was taken away from me a long time ago. I was more circumspect due to the lingering hope that was fading away. And there before me stood a tall, prudent woman.

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