The Earth is no more. But not because of warming or pollution, because of the attack.
It was a few years ago, I was ten. A cold Tuesday was the day when things changed, cold and usual. Nothing was out of the ordinary, it was Tuesday tomorrow was Wednesday, nothing special was going to happen, maybe get pie for lunch. That day, 18 December 2046 was the day the Earth and almost everything in it died.
There were no warning signs nothing that proved that that day would be any different from the last, of course they all seem that way, even when you hope for something else. No matter how hard you hope for the day to be different, it rarely is, but whoever wished for something extraordinary to happen that day I hope they were satisfied.
I went to school that day, and at two-forty-three the entire Earth shook. I didn’t know it but the adults say that it was all over the news that in London a Hexagonal spaceship landed at that time—it was what caused the shake ‘round the world—killed over two thousand people who were unfortunate to be close enough to it when it landed. The ship didn’t do anything for a while, not until midnight-thirty on Wednesday when the ship blew up. The blast took out Europe and most of Asia.
Where there was once land there was now nothing—no sea no remains—nothing, just a hole. A chunk of Earth just gone. Needless to say there was massive world-wide panic. It didn’t give the rest of the world much time, but they banded together and were able to build spaceships that fit thousands of people to get some of the humans out.
I got out of the doomed Earth because of my dad. He had influential power in the US government, a politician or something of the like and was able to get a seat for me and my brother, Alexander on a spaceship. My parents had to stay behind.
That was a death sentence in itself even if they didn’t say it. There were multiple ships on their way to earth, aiming for everywhere not excluding a chunk of land on the earth, it was leave now or die. My parents chose to save us, I didn’t find out the devastating truth until I turned older and overheard the adults talking. I—like most of the younger kids was told that our parents would join us later. Later would never come and sooner we found out the truth.
We would never be able to see anyone who didn’t make it out of Earth, we would never see the earth again. It was a devastating truth that I’m glad I didn’t know when we first left. I don’t even think I’d want to know now.
Life on the ship was horrible. Everyone got on everyone’s nerves all the time, fights were happening left and right. Alexander stood by me though and made sure I was taken care of, he never let me see him upset or crying, but that first night we left I could’ve sworn I heard crying coming from his bunk. It hit everyone hard; the ones old enough to understand everything got hit even worse. Of course it either hit those like me, who didn’t know at first the consequences, hard later or not at all. All depending on age and coping mechanisms. My mind decided that I couldn’t handle everything when I realized what had happened back there on earth and had me not feel anything. I don’t care anymore, about what happened to the people around the Hexagon, to Europe, to my parents. I only care about how we’re going to survive today, and only a little bit at that.
We had to live off of rations—still do. There wasn’t enough food for everyone to just eat as they normally would, even with the rations we ran low on supplies after a month or so, I’m not sure. All I remember was having to share food with Alexander, he would give me more on most days.
On the ship we shared a room and we did our chores together. I think they were trying to keep siblings together as much as possible. The only time we really spent apart was when we took showers. I became dependent on him for everything and he became dependent on me to keep him sane. He became my entire family, my father, my brother, my friend.
After a two and a half long years we found a suitable world that could sustain human life. We called it Plăcintă, not sure what language it is, but that’s what we call it. When we landed people in charge separated everyone—mainly the adults—into groups so they could go and start making tents out of the tree-like things. They’re as tall as trees from Earth but sturdier, and instead of green they were magenta. The entire thing, not just the spiky ends. We call them Plushes, they didn’t look even remotely plushy like. The person who named them must have had a healthy sense of irony.
There were tents made for every family and a giant one for the children without parents until more suitable means were found. ‘More suitable means’ were not more suitable. They were more convenient, yes, but not better. For the kids that were entirely alone and didn’t even have siblings, yeah, it was probably better for them, but not for those of us who did have siblings or cousins. It was worse for us, they either tried to separate us or lump us together with a family who doesn’t want extra mouths to feed and could care more.
For food here on Plăcintă we found edible fruits in the bushes at first. We didn’t know whether or not they were safe to eat at first sight given they are painted a crimson red and striped with black. After a couple thousand tests by the scientists they sent along with us, they deemed it acceptable to eat and added it to the rations. Slowly they started testing almost everything there was around us in this new world until they could find enough food to keep thousands of people well fed and happy.
That isn’t easy, and they’re failing to do so all over the place, but we live. Everyone finds ways to survive, and some of them aren’t pretty. You’ve got to remember that we’re a desperate people. All alone, the remains of the human race on a strange planet years away from Earth. We’re all either going insane or are already crazy.
Since my brother, Alexander, was sixteen when we landed and I was thirteen we were grouped with other kids until the people in charge worked out a system where they placed kids with families until the kids were old enough to where they could live on their own. My brother didn’t even last a month into our stay with the Henisens before he took me and left. Alexander just packed his stuff (an extra shirt and pants) and told me to pack up, we’re leaving.
And we did.
We’ve lived by ourselves for the past four years, under the makeshift house that we made and remake every year. This world, this new place, is a safe haven for all of us. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the best option for all of us. This fickle ground is all we have now, that and the people who came with us, we’re the last humans. We now know what it’s like to be an endangered animal, and we’re all doomed to die, but we can try to leave a mark, to let others know we were alive. For better or for worse.
We took care of each other, Alexander and I, we kept each other sane for these past years. The worst years humanity has had to endure, and we survived. Maybe because the human race is too stubborn to die out so easily.
Everything is still changing, nothing is stable. The Earth may be gone, we may be next. I swear the surprises we’re to endure are just getting started. We started over in our calendar days, currently we’re on year four here on Plăcintă. It takes longer to go around the star here, so it’s probably been more than four years in terms of earth, but I’m going to keep with the four years and not try to calculate exactly how old I am.
Now, I’ve come to current times, to today. Today It’s my turn to go and find lunch, Alexander’ll get dinner. To get food I go deep into the woods and have to gather food from bushes and Plushes, only food that we’ve eaten before. That’s considered a risk and we’re warned not to go into the woods unless in groups and have permission, but the rations aren’t enough to keep us alive. Occasionally in the rations we’ll get meat, but that’s very rare and almost never happens. So out we go into the woods—almost everyone does—to get food and water.
This time, like that Tuesday, was anything but ordinary.
I go, with a basket that one of the adults made for us, out into the land of the Plushes seeking food. A Bonzie—a green fruit-like food that grows up in the Plushes—or two will do for lunch. They’re Alexander’s favourite, and they are really good. Sometimes when it gets very cold here we’re reduced to eating the ends of the Plushes and the bushes around us, I always hate those times.
As I was walking through the woods I saw a flicker in the corner of my eye. Almost second nature I snapped my head in the direction of the flicker and could feel the adrenaline pumping through my body, my fight or flight instincts turning on and taking control. I became still, trying not to move a muscle that wasn’t important to me sustaining life.
Just like a few seconds before I saw a slight movement. I pulled out the small knife I carry around with me just slightly and tried to hear movement. There was the sound of a twig snapping where there was movement a second ago as a figure stepped out from behind a Plush.
It was a man, he looked—according to human standards—in his early twenties. He stared at me, unblinking, and just staring at me. I gripped the knife tighter.
“Hello?” I called out. Not very smart, but he may be just lost in the woods or getting food himself out here. Or, he could be a psychopath. I’m willing to take that risk.
The stranger didn’t answer me. He just stared straight at me. I pulled the knife up a bit more, and started to back away.
“I’m going to go back where I came from.” I took another step back. “Sorry if I disturbed you.” Now I turned around and used almost all of my self-control to not run away, but to calmly walk away from the crazy guy in the woods.
That was my first encounter with the stranger in the woods. The first day everything went into chaos, for the second time. Nothing will ever be like it was on Earth, never again. We'll build up a society again, a new place to live, take over the world, we'll make it just like Earth—or as close as we can get—and I don’t want that. I may not know much about Earth, but I do have memories, the memories of a ten year old, and stories in my books. They have taught me quite a few things, one of them is that humans made bad choices on Earth. Here, we have a choice to start anew, change things. We don’t have to repeat the past. But we will. We always do. We always will.