Lila Vernalth strode through the barren white landscape, long golden hair blowing in the freezing artic wind. The tall, willowy woman crested a hill, deep blue eyes scanning the horizon for landmarks or life forms. Or anything. Anything to break up the monotony, the violet tinted light, the deadly silence pervading the wasted land. Earth was nearly destroyed, and mankind…mankind had been exterminated. Only she survived. She, the only human to ever have defeated a skarslythe alone. A warrior of the order of Defenders, sworn to protect from the universe’s deadliest aliens. Lilalia the Strong. Her name had been uttered by grateful peasants everywhere, those who owed their lives to Lila’s strength, power, and nobility of character.
And now…mankind had finally been silenced, and earth defeated. But Lila was a survivor. All the universe had left. One survivor.
Maxwell Stark dashed through the red canyon toward his speeder. The razor-sharp talons of the fearsome blorg scraped the ground just behind him, gorging deep gashes in the packed rock. Packed by the nuclear bombs that had devastated the planet.
The blorg shrieked, it’s hair-raising tones echoing through the ravine, thirsting for human blood. The last of the humans’ blood. Maxwell Stark was the one survivor.
Maxwell threw himself into the seat and took off down the canyon so fast he was a blur. He zipped around the corner, leaving the gorge to suddenly emerge into a desolate valley, where large, towering parenlks roamed, threatening the crush anything smaller than themselves who tried to cross the valley. Maxwell feared nothing. He shot across the hot orange plain, almost halfway across before the zooming of his speeder alerted one of the beasts to his presence. It swung bulkily and started towards him. Maxwell gritted his teeth, flooring the gas pedal, sweat trickling down his face from the stress and the beating sun. He could see the opening to another ravine ahead. If he could just get through it, he could escape the monstrous parenlks and their nefarious plans.
1000 feet. 500 feet. The parenlk reached out a long, sharp limb to grab the speeder as its sped past. Maxwell swerved, crashing into the monster’s legs. It stumbled, making a sound like dropped silverware, accompanied by a outraged cry that Maxwell left far behind him as he zipped through the opening of the canyon. Safe once more. But for how long? Maxwell Stark, named for the great Tony Stark of generations past, turned his speeder into the next canyon. He would need to return to his base and get his spaceship. It wasn’t safe to journey only on a speeder anymore. Not since earth had been destroyed by bombs and the monsters had come.
Lila left the cold winterlands behind. She marched through an empty wasteland of stale warmth, now. She had traveled far since the skarslythe had killed all mankind. Through lands submerged in water, across deserts, over mountains. Nowhere had she found a sign of any living thing. Everywhere the light was tainted with the violet that the skarslythe had left behind. The aliens had come from the moon without warning. Before, they had only beamed down several soldier skarslythe at a time. The Defenders took care of them. Earth was protected. But this last invasion…the moon aliens had given it everything they had. Lila had watched her people die before her. She had sworn everlasting vengeance on the aliens. But first, she had to find life. Any life. She had to know if anything else had survived the extermination. She had to know that all was not lost.
But in her heart, she knew that she was alone.
Maxwell carefully got off his speeder and snuck over to his spaceship, parked next to his bunker. The handsome pilot warily watched the monster - a dylnak - that slept outside his home as he carefully started up the ignition. There were monsters everywhere now.
Year ago, they had erupted from the earth’s core across the entire globe. The humans had tried to fight, but the beasts were better. Huge, scaly, destructive monsters from another era. And so the humans had used the nukes. Although it slowed them down, no bombs could stop the beasts. A huge war on an unseen scale shook the globe. Maxwell himself had fought in it. He was the best pilot in the world. Now he was the last. The last human. He took off quickly and suddenly, praying the slothful beast outside his home would be too slow in waking up to catch him in it’s sharp and bloodstained jaws. The dylnak roared, swiped at the tiny ship with its claws. Maxwell shot out of the little valley he had once called home and blasted into the atmosphere.
Lila found a living thing at last. It was a brown creature she had never seen before, but Lila knew it meant her no harm. It lived, but barely. The Brown One was obviously deathly ill. Lila nursed it as well as she could, but it’s strength was slowly fading. It was a survivor, like her, but for how long? How long could they survive the barren devastation? Together, could they defeat the skarslythe?
Finally, they reached an enclosed valley. Lila knew from the suffocating stillness of the earth that some of the aliens still remained, hidden. They wanted to kill her, the last human. She would have to find somewhere safe to survive. She supported the tall brown creature as they staggered into the valley, the last refuge from the invisible aliens she knew were coming for them. Lila climbed up onto a rock to secure the high ground in case of an attack, and waited for them to come. The Brown One lay motionless.
Maxwell Stark flew as fast as he could away from the crowd of bloodthirsty monsters, alerted by the screeching of the dylnak. If he could escape to someplace that was empty, if he could maybe get out into space, he might have chance of survival. He would be alone, but he would survive. Sometimes you had to be alone to survive.
The beast were gaining on him. Then Maxwell saw it. A small crack. An opening to a red rock valley. An empty valley. This was his chance! If he didn’t get inside there, he was lost.
Lila bent over the Brown One as he succumbed to his wound, her soft maidenly tears dropping onto his cheeks. “Come,” she whispered, “Come back to me. We are all that is left of life in this tragic and desolate world. Don’t leave me alone.” He didn’t move. “Please,” she begged, overwhelmed by his loss. “I love you!”
Maxwell shot through the opening, engines revving as he emerged into the only safe place left on the planet. Empty save for him, the last survivor.
“Get out of my room!” Lila snapped, jerking upright. Maxwell started, dropping his plastic spaceship.
“I thought you were playing outside,” he said accusingly.
“It’s too cold outside, and anyway that’s no excuse to come barging into my room!” his sister shot back, trying to shield her stuffed bear from view. “Why are you here?”
“Well, people kept on coming into the other rooms,” Maxwell said, shrugging. “I needed an empty one.” He frowned and walked towards the bed where she was sitting. “Is that Brownie? Why are you still playing with Brownie?”
Lila flushed. She pushed her dirty blond bangs out of her eyes and tried to look superior. “I’m not playing with him,” she said loftily. “Obviously I’m too old for kid stuff like that. I’m…practicing something. And I needed a prop. Now get out of my room. Go play in your own room.”
“Dylan’s in there! I told you I need an empty room.”
“Well, I’m in here! Get out!” She scooted off the bed and tried to shove the door closed. He resisted, standing in the doorway and pushing back. “What are you practicing anyway? Can’t you play with me?” She stopped pushing to huff at him.
“If I can’t find someplace empty I’m going to have to play with somebody else,” Maxwell grumbled. “So…will you? Maybe it’s close to whatever you’re…practicing.”
“I don’t play with first graders,” said Lila, tossing her advanced third grade head. She considered. “What are you playing?”
Lila the Strong gasped as a man came up to her in a spaceship. All this time she had thought she was alone, the last life left on earth, but there was another survivor. And according to him, there were monsters too. Everywhere, in fact. And bombs. Lila narrowed her eyes. This Stark did not understand. That was not the way the world was.
After much talk with the woman, Maxwell Stark realized what must have happened. Aliens had in fact come from the moon, devastating half of the world and wiping out all life except for one survivor, Lila the Strong. The noise of the aliens’ exterminations drove the monsters in the earth’s core to emerge only on the other, quieter half. The humans affected by these beasts fought them with everything they had, flattening the surface with nuclear bombs. Only temporarily checked by this, the monsters eventually succeeded in killing the other half of mankind that the aliens hadn’t killed except for one, whom they hated with a passion and tried their best to exterminate. Maxwell Stark.
In a desperate bid to escape the monsters, the daring pilot reached the dividing line between the two halves of the world, where he accidentally met up with Lila Vernalth, who had been searching for any other form of life. And together, they are all that is left of mankind.
“That works,” Lila said grudgingly.