On today’s school trip we are visiting the abandoned planet Earth. This trip happens once a year and has always been my favorite. Earth is by far the most different planet to all the others I’ve seen. The sky is a beautiful blue, there are variating temperatures, and even water that falls from the sky.
After everyone is seated, my teacher is the first to speak.
“Settle down class, settle down. Today’s trip is to Earth. We have a very special destination today. As you know already from Introduction to Universal History, the humans were roughly 100 years ahead of where we are now in terms of technological advancements. When we discovered the human population many years ago, we were in the place they were 100 years prior. One of the greatest cities in the world was called New York. It housed many of the newest technology and developments. After The Great Collision, some parts of the city remained intact. Any skeletons or disturbing things have been cleared from the site. I have a worksheet of observations I want you to fill out as you walk the city with your tour groups” Ms. Keinneth passed around a stack of paper. I took one and read over the questions, most of which seemed unimportant.
After one day of travel, the little blue ball came into focus. A few kids next to me pushed their faces against the window, gaping at the planet. It seemed impossible to picture earth before The Great Collision. That would be like picturing my planet without computers. The charred indent that covered half the planet was simply normal. Little rocks floated from the worse parts of the collision.
I’ve only visited the areas not directly hit. I don’t think there’s one part of Earth that was left untouched. Everything is slightly black and we have to keep protective masks on at all times, because of deadly toxins in the air.
The landing is smooth and we are split into 7 groups to explore the city. It’s slightly overwhelming. Large burnt buildings reach into the sky, threatening to collapse with even the slightest of movement. Blacked out streets and overturned cars line the roads. It’s haunting to know this place used to be full of people, not so different from us.
Mr. Carson led us through the streets. I could tell he didn’t want to be on this trip and seemed at the most, unimpressed. He stared absentmindedly at some dead trees and told us to explore this block on our own.
I looked around and notices a shining object in the space between two buildings. I separated from the group and walked deeper into the ally. I was taken aback by what I saw. Large piles of objects hugged the side of the building, almost completely unchanged by the collision.
This was unheard of. The buildings on all sides must have preserved them. I considered turning back around to show Mr. Carson and the group but then I would risk losing all of these priceless objects.
I sorted through shiny silver phones, newspapers, watches, and even shoes. The only indication of time passing was the slow deterioration of my mask. The masks could only last 12 hours against the poisonous air but how could the day already be ending? I exited the ally and saw a sliver of the sky. It was night time and I couldn’t find my tour group anywhere. I called out everyone’s name as I walked towards where the ship used to be landed. They had left without me.
My mask was now only a thin layer of cloth, barely effective. I felt the air start to burn my lungs as I walked deeper into the night. I was the last person on earth and the only thing I could do now was wait for my inevitable death.
I sat against an ashy building and looked up at the stars. It was like this dumb planet was mocking me, giving me a glimpse of where I would so much rather be. I came to the conclusion that if I am to die, now is the best time. I take off my mask and let the air course through my lungs but instead of dying, something very different happens.
A girl appears in the distance. She looks similar to me but her skin is a shade of brown rather than a shade of blue. A human, I realize. Everything starts to spin and the last thing I see is her standing over me.
When I open my eyes again, the sky is blue, and little white clouds are scattered across. The girl sits on the floor next to me. Not speaking, just staring. I wonder if she speaks English. I know very minimum English from school, just enough to communicate properly.
“Hello, I am Della. What’s your name?” I ask her.
“I’m Sophie, the last human left on earth.”
The day passes in a blur. Sophie gives me a new mask and explains that she doesn’t need one because the air is only toxic to non-humans. Being stranded on this planet might be a death sentence, but I’ve never felt so alive.
We climb buildings together and then slide down a rope she calls a zipline. When I get hungry, she has a packet of mush that somehow turns to food under heat. It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted. Just as my old world fell apart, a new one opened up, even better and more adventurous.
After a long day of exploring the city, Sophie leads me to the top of a tower to watch the sun go down. Pink clouds float across the orange sky. I lean my head on my new friend’s shoulder and smile.
“Eena ludewo lucro adsteim” I knew these were words she wouldn’t understand. In my language, it translates to “with the sun, I leave you here.”
Her touch against me feels more and more like a dream. As the last light of the day fades, I feel the burning return. The toxins had given me one day of happiness, but the price was the moment of realization. I knew I was dying. I felt my lungs eat themselves from inside out but the most painful part was that I was utterly alone.
I lay on the black ground where my trip home should have been, in the same place where I removed my mask. There are no more hallucinations or fantasies of being saved. As much as I want the dream to be true, what I die with is the truth. I only see one last glow of the stars before complete darkness takes me away.