Science Fiction

One woman and one man remained. Normally, you would think that these two people of the opposite gender would be attracted to one another, but they were not. The romance novels would lead you to believe that, because the woman was a conservationist and the man was the owner of a fossil fuel company, there would be some sort of spark because they disagreed with one another so passionately.

They hated one another. The woman blamed the man for the demise of all of humankind. The man blamed the woman for losing his job, his family, and all of his money.

If this lady hadn't been so hellbent on saving the rain forests, he wouldn't have lost everything. If she hadn't pushed for fewer carbon emissions, he wouldn't be out of a job. He wouldn't have nothing left. The economy wouldn't have crashed.

The two of them built a fire together. The man, of course, decided that he had built the whole thing even though the woman was the one who had gathered the firewood in the first place. She had been plagued by a male-dominated industry for so long that she was more than used to this kind of behavior, and allowed the fool to believe that the whole endeavor and accomplishment of building the fire was his and his alone. She no longer wanted to waste her breath.

The two of them slept on the bare earth. It became cold but they didn't hold each other. They just continued laying there, staring up at the sky and trying to fall asleep and stay warm. They were so disgusted by one another that they would rather not even touch the other person.

The sun set over the mountains. Then it rose. The man put out the fire and said he was going to go hunting. The woman started explaining to him which species he should hunt so that none of them would go endangered. She had a solid background in this matter. He didn’t listen. He blew her off and he hunted all of the deer in the area. Soon, there were none left.

Finally, after a few months, the man decided to ask her if he could hold her hand. No matter how despicable she was, he hadn’t had human contact for so long that he just wanted something.

“Could I hug you?” He ventured.

“No. I don’t hug despicable people who pollute the earth for profit,” The woman replied and walked away.

The man nodded, stumped. At this point, most romance novels would tell you that the tension these two people felt towards one another led to a great deal of physical chemistry and that they both gave into their primal tendencies. The fact of the matter is that that would require both of them to be somewhat likable and not stuck in their ways. These events did not occur.

“How are you holding up, Jeanine?”

Jeanine rolled her eyes, “Fine, I guess. How about you? It’s probably weird to have no money. We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you. You selfish prick.”

Ben shrugged, “I had to make a living. I’m not sorry. Plus, you people are just so extreme and emotional about everything. It’s honestly pretty annoying. People need to make a living and feed their families. They need to put bread on the table. Who cares about saving the elephants and the rhinos? They won’t put food on my family’s table.”

“Well now there are none of them left thanks to corrupt egomaniacs like you.”

She paused.

“By the way, you’re welcome for gathering the wood and showing you how to make the fire that you took credit for.”

“I was trying to keep us warm. I know how to build a fire. I did most of the work to be honest. You really didn't do very much at all.”

“Jesus, Ben. I was the one who gathered the wood. Remember, you asked me how to stack it so that it would work?”

“Well, yeah, but, like, as far as actually starting the fire, it was me. And I gathered wood too and told you what kind of wood we needed.”

Jeanine took a very deep breath. She knew that Ben had already been gathering the wrong type of firewood and had told him what was the right kind, but this man was no longer worth her energy. Also, to be fair, he had literally gathered one piece of wet wood. She'd gathered the majority of it. She was done expending her valuable energy on this man.


She rolled her eyes.

"When are you going to ask me to have sex with you? It’s clear that you’re a moron.”

“Well, do you want to? Because I honestly don’t have sex with prudes.”

“No. I don’t have sex with chauvinists who don’t care about the planet and are too dumb to admit that a woman actually helped them get set up for success and then, on top of that, allowed them to start the fire so that they could feel more like a man. This is honestly a nightmare."

At this point, most romance novels would say that this strong difference of views would eventually turn into playful banter. That one or the other of these two peoples’ hearts would soften and that they would kiss, make love, or, at the very least, learn to laugh at their differences because, apparently, in these books, men and women always end up getting together no matter what.

This did not happen. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. The man would not allow the woman to hunt because, apparently, even though she was the conservationist, he knew better than her and wanted to kill things. She had given up at this point. In fact, this woman had long ago decided that she was willing to make the sacrifice of never dating in order to be a conservationist. She stayed fit and healthy, did her job, and learned not to fall for the many advances that men made on her. She laughed, she danced, she had sex occasionally when she got horny and it was on her terms, and that was it. She didn’t want anything else. She never would. She’d learned long ago that men were animals and there was no way to change this.

Sometimes, late at night, when Ben wasn’t around, she’d craft a spear for herself and hunt squirrels, eating them near the fire when he was sleeping. She didn’t tell him this or give him any. He wouldn’t have wanted the meat anyway. She just ate and ate and ate until she was full. He tried to manage her portions when he was awake, so she simply kept eating when he went hunting again. He wouldn’t have eaten meat that she had killed. He would have felt too emasculated.

Six months later, the man and the woman were still alive. They begrudgingly kept the fire going. They begrudgingly ate. They argued less because they had less energy to simply survive. Occasionally, the man and woman would hold each other at night in order to gain more body warmth. When they realized they had committed this heinous act, they would immediately pull away. The sun went down. The sun came up. The sun went down again.

April 27, 2020 17:05

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L. M.
02:27 May 13, 2020

This story has such a realistic feel to it concerning relationship dynamics. Good job.


Martha Louise
11:22 May 13, 2020

Thank you!


L. M.
19:06 May 13, 2020

You're welcome!


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Simone T
22:34 May 06, 2020

Well written! I especially like how you repeatedly emphasised that it was not like a romance novel.


Martha Louise
22:41 May 06, 2020

Thanks! :)


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