The Soulless

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic story that features zombies.... view prompt

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Science Fiction

  It started with a gasp. It continued with a scream. It ended with a tear. The Apocalypse had been long overdue. Millenniums of anger, war, hatred, and hostility towards each other had persisted. Mankind had finally been conquered. Man was conquered by the refusal to conquer his harmful tendencies, his poisonous emotions and his damaging, careless habits. However, the price paid was not brought on as much by mankind, as by his judges, extraterrestrial visitors from another universe.

It was a torrid, seething day around the world. Both anger and the heat had climbed to unbearable temperatures. Those who warned of global warming had a pompous “I told you so”, satisfied, smug look on their hot, sweaty faces. Conservationists patted their partly clad, sun burned backs. But they would soon find out that they were not the ones to be vindicated.

People who had warned of the plague continued to blame the “no maskers" and politicians. Masses of human beings were getting sick and dying. No one had heeded “the Science" they screamed through hoarse voices. But they were not the winners of the science contest either.

Astronomers, astrologers, soothsayers, tent preaching Revivalists, all who had foretold God’s wrath upon the evil generations of unrepentant sinners, felt vindicated and prayed to be delivered from the fiery flames of Hell that would surely take the heathens to its very gates. But these so called experts would also be shocked at the reason for the end of days.

There was another race beyond that of humanity. It was a superior race, more knowledgeable, expert and experienced in the art of survival than humanity could ever imagine. And they had come for us.

When the Supernovas, as they were later named, hit our tiny third planet from the Sun, it was too late to fight back. Comparable to an unpunished creation that had not eaten from the so-called forbidden tree or the infamous apple, they were gifted with superior knowledge, impeccable health and a wisdom of the gods. They had observed our tiny planet, and grew disgusted with the pettiness and hatred seething in the hearts of mankind. For too many years, this so called human race had been allowed to run rampant in greed and turmoil that they brought upon themselves.

And so they attacked. They attacked our climate, our ecosystem, our frail bodies and weak insipid minds. They attacked with weapons yet to be imagined by even the most superior minds on earth. Within a month the origin of the apocalyptic end had come and had voraciously been completed. It was as if the earth had been sucked into a black hole of despair, imprisoned until its ultimate explosion. The systems set by mankind had imploded upon him. Mankind had suffered and entered its climatic days not with a shout of some mighty warlord or gregarious leader in battle. Rather, he entered the apocalypse with a soulful, pitiful whimper. Now it was up to the survivors to prove the extraterrestrial judges wrong and win life back. That was the ultimatum; survive or die!

Eve had been part of the Stormtroopers soon after the onslaught of the Supernovas' attack. Ironically, her sister Lillith, had always been the rebellious twin, at odds with her since their time spent in their mother’s womb together. Both were highly ambitious, intelligent and resourceful, but they had always taken different sides. Lillith’s answer to everything was instant gratification and narcissistic ambition to serve her purposes alone. She had therefore joined the Underground Survivors, all intent upon surviving for their own means-and-end rewards. They only crossed paths when Eve’s units were fighting the Soulless Ones, or Sleepwalkers as they were sometimes called, and Lillith’s troops came in to reap the spoils. The Soulless Ones were zombielike in their appearance and actions, and would attack at the scent of blood and healthy Survivors. An infection caused by their contact would prove painful and fatal in a matter of days. Even death would not be the reward, unless they were specifically killed in the correct way, through the heart and then beheaded. It was ironic that this plague upon man only ended through the slaying of heart and brain; the same organs that humanity seemed to lack in empathy and understanding. If not slaughtered the Soulless Ones were doomed to endlessly roam and feed their hunger for the living.

Some in the medical field throughout the world were looking for a cure and/or vaccine. So far their efforts had been futile, but there had been some talk of a new experiment with antibodies. Something always went awry and the research, with what little materials they had left, was relentless. Besides working day and night, and trying to keep the makeshift labs free from attack, while still supplied, the researchers felt they were fighting a losing battle against time.

Eve helped out at the lab in between shifts and had become quite attached with another Stormtrooper, Abraham who also volunteered in research at the lab. Within the year that they knew each other, they were romantically attracted and soon were in love. Abraham was like no other man she had ever known. He was caring, patient, kind and unselfish. He knew much of life and had a wisdom beyond his years.

The one night after a horrid encounter with the Soulless Ones they had hidden out together in an abandoned shack outside of the city. That evening their love was physically fulfilled in a passionate and wondrous night of climatic lovemaking, sealing their promise of a life together. They weren’t naïve. Their life could be shortened anytime in this nightmarish world. But for today they had one and other.

The days of fighting to survive stretched out. New ways of adapting to this brave new world, continuous rebuilding and restructuring, plus treaties of peace and harmony among warring sectors in various cities and areas of the world offered hope.

Eve went into labor in April. The same day that the discovery of the promised new cure was announced. Abraham was by her side as she delivered their baby girl. Unfortunately Lillith had been wounded by a Soulless One the night before. Eve couldn't bear to lose her sister and Abraham brought Lillith to the lab. Her life was about to culminate. Eve couldn't allow her twin sister to die alone and she would be the one to end it when it became necessary.

Sadly, this had all occurred after Lillith's decision to leave the Underground. The Underground itself had soon disbanded. Attacks were unending and the Underground joined the Stormtroopers in a united front.

As Eve held her newborn baby in her arms, bittersweet emotions ran through her. Life and death was placed before her. It was then that Abraham informed them it didn’t have to be this way. He explained that it had taken an Apocalypse to show humans how to live together through death. His planet just needed reassurance before they could share their knowledge with Earth. And the cure for Lillith and others was inside the pure blood of their innocent child. The child had human and Supernova genes and she carried both the antibodies needed for the cure and the vaccine. It would take one tiny drop of their little girl’s blood to save Lillith's life and to save the world. The serum would multiply and grow faster than any vaccine ever known. Their baby would live and carry on the hope for humanity.

Now Eve understood what had been different about Abraham. She understood how he had to keep the secret to prove to his race that humanity was redeemable and could be salvaged.

And so, it was agreed. Upon the tiny drop of blood being introduced into the virus, the serum, as Abraham had promised, multiplied. Lilith received the first injection and recovered almost instantaneously. Others received the vaccine and Humanity survived. They were taught by the Supernovas how to rebuild, plant to reduce world hunger, and cure disease. The best lesson learned, however, was the ability to get along and the ultimate cure was Love. Innocence, purity, from a newborn soul had renewed the human race. But the ability to love unconditionally would thwart any danger of reoccurrence.

Eve and Abraham named the child Hope. She had cried a little when they drew the drop of blood. And then the contented child fell asleep in her mother's arms and smiled. It was almost as if she knew. This tiny Hope had turned the world’s tear into a smile. 

September 25, 2020 22:28

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1 comment

Vanessa Marczan
23:16 Jan 07, 2021

Hey Cynthia, what a cool story! It feels like the prologue to a larger story of rebuilding the world after the apocalypse, I can imagine an elder of a community reciting the story to the next generation! You struck a good balance between providing background and keeping the story moving. Nice one 👍


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