I think that by this point, I’m the only person left on this earth. Well, the only normal person, that is.
I can still hear the others. I hear them everywhere that I go. The moaning. The wailing. Some of them still call for help, but by now most of them have given up on that. I can’t find blame with either mindset.
I get it. I’m about there myself. I’m thirsty, god I’m so thirsty! If only I could have a drink, even just a drop of water…
I won’t allow myself to do that, however. Not if I want to die. Die properly. Like a human being. Not like, like, well, whatever you wanted to call the others. No, I would die like a man.
That’ll be me. The last to die. Jason Jones, once a man with a bright future, now the last human being to die.
As I lay here slowly dying of thirst, I think about my life. I wonder why I was spared, if you can call this being spared. I’m not a great man. Sometimes I’m not even a good man. I’m just ordinary. I believe in god in a way, but not enough to have committed my Sundays to church or my life to the service of him. I had a family. I had a career, hobbies, interests.
I still wonder, ever since I was little, if committing suicide really meant a one way ticket to Hell. I’m still not sure, but I supposed soon I’ll be finding out for myself.
I don’t want to kill myself. In fact, I’m hanging on as long as I can. I want to see things through. I want to see the end of this, of all of this. But I don’t think I can go that much longer without drinking. That’s why I am writing this letter. I’m making some sort of record of events, a written document about how, and why, this all went sideways on us. And maybe, just maybe, there actually is someone out there who will survive this ordeal. And they can know. And they can try to avoid our fates. Maybe. A whole lot of maybes.
It’s the year 2029. I’m a little bit foggy on the month and day, the thirst permeating madness and fog throughout my head. I think that it’s May. I’m pretty sure that the rain fell in April. April showers, you never quite know what they’ll bring.
It had been a month or two after the war had started, the 3rd World War. This one was so much worse than the previous ones, although we all hoped against hope that that was impossible. This war had so much hate, so much finality behind it, soon people knew that it wouldn’t end until we did. Until every last one of us humans were gone. Hell, maybe that’s even for the best.
I was on base. I was with Sergeant Hooper, we were playing cards in the mess and waiting out the last couple hours until our one week leave would start. A couple hands in, I heard the plane.
I peeked out the window to see it flying overhead. The way it moved across the sky, the way that the smoke trailed after it, it seemed as if it were dissecting the sky. Opening it up. The sky, it was red.
I turned to Hooper and asked him if he’d ever seen anything like that before. If he’d ever seen a sky so red. Such an angry, suffocating red.
He told me no, but that he’d remembered from a long ago fire science class that the sky could look that way when a fire was burning nearby. This was no fire. We looked off to the west, to the east, every direction. It was all the same. It was all the color of blood. Unless the entire world was on fire, that didn’t seem to be the explanation.
He told me over two billion lives had already been lost in the war, which showed no signs of slowing down. He said maybe it was blood. Maybe the sky, instead of sucking in moisture and water for the next rainfall, was sucking in blood. There was enough of it all over the world at the moment. He laughed darkly. I shuddered.
The plane made a sudden, sharp turn and starting descending fast. It was headed to our southern landing strip. We looked at each other, confusion in our eyes. Nobody was scheduled to land today. We pushed away our chairs and dropped the cards onto the table. And then we ran.
As we got closer to the plane, we saw that it was one of our own. That it belonged to Luschek, one of our scouts. We had six planes take off this morning, headed out for a scouting mission. They weren’t expected back for a couple days. My heart sank with the looming realization that the rest of them were probably not expected back at all now.
Luschek was lucky. At least I thought so at the time.
The door opened and Luschek stepped out. The horror on his face was obvious.
He said he didn’t know what happened to the others. There were screams. Then there was silence. He couldn’t see anything up there. Couldn’t see anything in the red sky, which he compared to flying through tomato soup.
I wanted to ask him if he’d ever seen anything like that before, but I already knew the answer. Of course not. None of us had.
A sudden, sharp rainfall began just over the hills past our base. The wet curtain advanced on us quickly. We turned and ran for it, back to the mess hall.
Hooper and I got there in record time. Luschek, however, was older than the rest of us. In fact, he was the oldest one on our base. He quickly fell behind. When he was a few yards from the open doorway where we waited, he froze, the look of horror on his face doubling. He just stood there, in the rain.
I shouted to him, asking him what was wrong, why was he stopped. He numbly lifted his hand, as if in a daze. He told me to look at his hand. To look at what had fallen on it.
The rain. It was red.
Once Luschek came back to the present, he dashed inside the doorway. He was soaked. He was covered in red. This wasn’t rain. It was blood.
Once we were all settled inside, we headed for the CB in the com room. We wanted to talk to the Sergeant First Class across the base, a man who went by Krellen. He had studied weather before he joined the ranks, and he kept up a healthy interest in it that we had all found boring or useless. That is, up until today.
We quickly had the man on the CB and we were asking him all about the sky. About the blood. About the red, and if he had ever seen anything like it before.
He told us he’d never seen anything like it. He had read about it, though. It had happened a few times over in Kerala, in its capitol city of Thiruvananthapuram. A high concentration of red dust particles from clay had evaporated and mixed into the air. When the rain fell, it was red.
He told us he’d be right back, he’d check out this weather for himself. We waited for what felt like forever, but it was surely no more than a minute or two. When he was back on the horn, he told us that he’d never seen a rain like this. That this rain wasn’t rain. That it was too thick, too warm. Too congealed in pools on the ground. Too red. He couldn’t explain it. But it seemed to him like it was blood.
After our talk with Krellen, Luschek and Hooper started to get antsy. Luschek especially. Being a bit older, he was more old school with his beliefs. He started rambling on and on about religion, about the end times. As he spoke, his eyes kept on shifting to the red all over his hands and clothes.
He said that maybe this is because of all the commandment breaking. Lately, especially the sixth one. The one about murder. By Hooper’s count, about two billion cases of murder. Luschek thought that no loving god could ignore those sheer numbers any longer.
Hooper, being a stoic but also an asshole, was happy to take his fear out on Luschek’s religion, and soon enough the two of them were arguing so much that I needed to get away from it for a bit.
I brought the cards down to one of the offices, intending to have a little alone time to play Solitaire. Unfortunately for me, I strayed too close to the Majors office. He was on the phone and sounded terrified. He was asking whoever was on the other line if it was really true, that this thing was world wide.
I turned and ran back to the mess, ran to deliver the news to my companions. They took it as well as expected.
Luschek, wide-eyed and hoarse, shot to his feet, screaming about damnation. About murder. About the rapture. He screamed until spittle was flying from his lips. When I tried to calm him down, Luschek threw me violently to the floor, looming large over me and shot words of hellfire and suffering and holy wars in my face until Hooper came over and decked him.
Luschek hit the floor, but it didn’t adjust his words, only the volume of them. He lay on the floor next to me, lost in a daze, whispering about how it was all over. How the entire world was now being rained on. Red rain. Red like blood.
His eyes widened. He stopped blinking. He looked through me, then said that it’s never going to stop. That it’ll keep on coming down. Forever. Like the flood. Only this time, there is nobody that will save us. Nobody in the world that can stop it. That we were dead. We’re all dead.