Friday, September 27, 2013

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Flash Fiction Friday: The Last Human



I begin to awaken and my body feels  heavy. How is that possible? The last thing I remember is heading towards home after walking to the grocery store. Was I hit by a care? I feel as if I've been hit by a bus. I open my eyes and then realize that that's all I can move. There's a watery green light that's flowing over what little I can see of the room, including my body. There's a panel to the left of me, and a small golden light is blinking there. But that's all. There's also some symbols but I don't recognize them. Where am I?

I try to swallow, but my mouth is so dry it feels as if it's covered in dust and mothballs. I work it trying to get some saliva going so I can at least clear the dryness in my mouth and throat, but I can't seem to work any up. I can feel my heart racing, it's pumping so hard that it's hitting my chest bones and I can actually feel it. Where am I? Why can't I move?

When I look up I try to scream. There's a face looking down at me through the glass and it's not human. My mouth stays open and I can feel the scream bubbling up from deep inside me, struggling to get out. But no sound leaves my mouth. The scream is silent and when I realize this my body cringes as though expecting a blow. But there's no where to go, there's something solid at my back and it is then that though I'm lying down, my body or rather whatever I'm lying in begins to tilt, bringing my head up.

The figure staring in at me is not human, and the face moves a bit farther away to make space for whatever I'm in I assume. As soon as my head is significantly raised the face comes back and I can hear tapping. I move my eyes down and see there's another panel outside what appears to be a coffin with a glass lid. The figure is tapping away at it with long slender fingers that have long solid claws. I feel my body flush and a dropping in my stomach. Those claws could rip me to pieces in seconds with no problem. Immobilized as I am I would have no defenses against something that knew how to use them.

I try to take deep breaths, try to calm myself. So far the figure hasn't made any aggressive moves. So far. What am I going to do if it does though? I try to move some part of my body again and find that I can wiggle the fingers on my left hand. That's good, maybe I'll soon be able to move other parts of my body. If I can move, I can at least fight if I have to. But who am I kidding and how long have I been immobilized? If it's been a long time my muscles may not work properly. I'm a nurse, and I've worked with patients who have been in comas, I know that muscles atrophy. If my muscles have atrophied I could be in trouble. My mind races as the tapping continues and I decide to look more closely at the figure.

His face is long with a flat nose that reminds me of a cat. At least I think it's a he. I'm too afraid to look at his eyes yet. His skin appears pink and there seems to be some kind of very light hair or fur covering it that's also pink. He has long white hair that hangs over his shoulder in some kind of braid, and he's very tall, I'd say six foot four inches at least. I've always been very good at guessing height. I'm still not looking at his eyes. I'm remembering how I was taught not to look a dog in directly in the eye for fear it might cause him to attack. I wonder if the same applies to alien cats. The man definitely has the look of a feline.

Without my realizing it I am now staring into his eyes. They're a soft topaz color and just like a cat's the eyes are elliptical. Not human eyes at all, not human.

He seems concerned about something, his forehead scrunches down, his eyes leave mine and he goes back to tapping at the outside panel. As I watch the long fingered claws tap away I hear a voice and my eyes dart to behind him where I finally see another figure. This one looks like him but not. He's obviously the same species, but his facial features are just different enough for me to make out in the greenish light to tell that he's someone else. The figure tapping away at the panel answers him back as though distracted.

Suddenly I hear a snick and the round glass panel begins to move downward. My belly full of the grease of fear I take a careful breath of the outside air and realize I can indeed breath it. I take a deeper breath, pulling the stale air into my sluggish lungs.

The clawed hand reaches towards me and I open my mouth to scream.  As if sensing my rising terror the strange hand pulls back and he seems to sigh. He points at my hand, and I find I can move my head just fine now and lift it to look down. I'm strapped down to whatever I'm lying on, my hands and feet manacled to it. He comes forward again, and this time I hold my breath waiting to see what he'll do. He reaches in and one clawed finger pushes on something and the manacle disappears and my hand is free. No knowing if he'll understand me if I speak, or even if I can speak. I nod at him and he nods back and then repeats the action with my other hand and both feet. I'm free...or am I?

My legs feel like jello and I would have fallen to the hard metal floor but the man cat catches me under the arms and puts one arm under my legs and easily picks me up. I carefully put both arms around his neck and lean into him. When I look over his shoulder I see something I would never have thought to see. A tail. A long pale pink tail with a fluff of white fur at the end. It moves with him and sways a bit back and forth, the end seemingly effortlessly held up so it doesn't drag on the floor.

The other man cat, turns and begins walking away, the one carrying me following him. Where are we going? I open my mouth to ask and again find I cannot speak. It's as if my vocal cords no longer work. Finally after continuing to try a small sound escapes me. A claw gently begins stroking my arm where it rests and loud rumbling purr begins vibrating from his chest. Guess that answers my question, definitely feline. Something about the deep rumbling purr put me at ease. As scared as I am, it tells me that the man cat doesn't mean any harm. Well, unless you're trying to relax  prey into not being scared so you can pounce. I bolted upright, struggling, my arms pushing against the strong chest. The cat man easily subdued me though, and the purring got louder and the hand gripping my leg also started gently stroking. Maybe he wasn't going to kill me, or eat me or...I didn't want to think anymore, I just wanted to go home.

A tear slipped down my cheek and then another followed. The being holding me took a deep breath and the chest beneath me expanded. Then I felt the weirdest sensation as if something, some presence were pushing in my head. Strange feelings inundated me, feelings that weren't my own. Curiosity, a desire to comfort, fear of not being understood.

I peeked up at the one carrying me to find he was looking down at me. I ducked my head again, there was something about those golden eyes, it was as if they could see right inside me to the fear, and the confusion. The rumbling purr started up again and before I knew it we were in a room that was much brighter than the one they'd found me in. In fact the light was so bright it hurt my eyes hurt. I shoved my face into a lightly furred pink chest and closed my eyes tightly.

For the first time I heard one of them speak. I didn't think it was my cat man because he was still making that rumbling purr sound. It must be the other one. Their language was strange and unlike any other I had ever heard before. When the other one spoke it was like a cross between a series of growls, a bit of a howl and then consonants strewn throughout. That it wasn't anywhere near my own language was painfully obvious. I have to wonder if I'll be able to communicate with them at all.

The lights suddenly came down a few notches and I carefully turned to stare around from my perch in the cat man's arms. Clearly having realized the lights were too bright for me, the other one had found a way to turn them down. I had no idea what I was looking at. The room was bare except for some sort of console and an area that reminded me of a stage. I wondered what was going to happen next.

My cat man finally spoke in that growly cadence they had and I felt as if warm syrup were flooding my body. As I stared down at the sort of bandage outfit that I was wearing, just enough to cover my private areas and little else I watched as my legs, then my cock and balls and finally my hands began to become translucent. Fear replaced the seconds of fascination I'd initially felt at seeing the weird change and I screamed like a girl, the sound cut off as we winked out of sight. I would be horribly embarrassed about that later I knew.

Just as quickly as we'd disappeared, we reappeared...somewhere else.

This place was completely different from where we'd been. For one thing it looked cleaner, newer, and there were other cat men here, a lot of other cat men. I shrunk back against the one holding me, and the purring started up again. Somehow he was able to tell when I was afraid, and acted accordingly. The purring soothed me on some level and I let some of the fear go and tried to relax against the one holding me.

I heard what sounded like the swish of a broom against a carpet almost and turned. A door had slid open and a much shorter version of the cat men around me barreled through the door talking a mile a minute, though again I couldn't understand him. If I hadn't been so concerned about where I was and what was going to happen to me, I would have been irritated. This one was speaking to the other cat man, his face more animated than I'd seen any of the others, his hands waving excitedly, a huge grin on his face showing off long fangs on each side. I sure hoped I wasn't about to become someone's meal!

Then the short one gestured to me and stared right into my eyes. That freaked me out, and I huddled up. He took a deep breath as though preparing himself for something difficult and then spoke words in a language I never thought to hear again.

"Do you understand me?"

I started to say, "yes," but nothing came out and I had to clear my throat before I could croak out, "Yes," then, "where am I?"

The smaller cat man smiled widely and said, "That doesn't matter, you're safe now. My name is Jalla. We need to take you to be looked over by our physician. You were asleep for a very long time near as we can tell. We need to be sure no damage was done to your cells during your sleep."

Now that Jalla was confident he would be understood, he was again talking a mile a minute and I almost couldn't follow his words.

"Jalla, please slow down, I can barely understand you. What do you mean I was asleep? Where am I?" I was starting to get a very bad feeling about this. My last memory was walking home from the store. This couldn't be good.

"Sorry. You're on the Galactic Starship Starbeam. I'm the ship's linguist, and these two are Rolfon," he pointed at the other cat man, then gestured at the one holding me, "and Delinar, both soldiers." Jalla smirked. "Delinar likes you very much." Jalla then wiggled his eyebrows.

I felt my eyes widen in shock. Did Jalla mean what I think he did? I turned to stare up and found golden eyes watching me with what could only be compassion. The rumbling purr started up again.

While it was true that I was gay, I wasn't sure how I felt about Delinar "liking me."

I patted the huge pecs beneath me. "Yeah, that's nice." I mumbled. "But you still haven't answered everything I asked. What do you mean I was asleep, the last thing I remember was walking home from the grocery store, then I woke up in some kind of glass and tin can with Delinar here staring in at me." I gestured to the huge cat man.

Jalla exchanged a look with Rolfon, one that had my fear notching up into the terror zone. "Jalla?" I whispered.

Jalla looked at me again, meeting my eyes, trepidation in his. "I'm not sure I'm supposed to tell you yet." He said looking uncomfortable.

"Tell me what? C'mon Jalla, you're the only one I can talk to here, and I'm starting freak out!" My voice rose and then cracked like a teenage boy's. Great, now I sounded like a pre-pubescent child.

Jalla's face became very serious, the playful cat from before totally gone. Here it comes, I thought to myself, here it comes. I'm not going to like this at all.

"You're human aren't you?" I reared back, stunned. They didn't know what species I was? That was even worse! What did it mean. I cleared my throat.

"Yeah, I'm human. Why?"

Delinar spoke though I didn't understand him, and Jalla answered back in the strange language.

"As near as we can tell from our records and other species' records, you are the last." He stated solemnly.

I didn't like this at all. "The last what?" I asked, my mind refusing to comprehend the words.

"The last human."

The words rolled through my mind instantly rejected by it. There was no way I could be the last, no way at all. There were billions of humans on Earth, hundreds of thousands being born every day. I couldn't be the last, I couldn't!

I could feel myself hyperventilating as I tried to breathe and found each breath a struggle. Dark spots began to dance in front of my eyes. I gasped once and darkness descended leaving my mind and consciousness quiet. The words, "the last...the last...the last," echoed in my mind before I went out like a light.

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