The Last Man
Benny Thompson, the last man on Earth, roared west down the quiet Missouri road in his stolen 1966 Ford Mustang. The gas tank was nearly empty, but Benny didn’t care. Why should he? He could steal another car. The pastoral countryside flew past him on either side, sounds of lowing cows and singing birds obscured by the predator growl of the eight-cylinder gas hog under the hood.
He topped a small hill and saw something small and red in the distance. A stop sign. The last stop sign on Earth, so far as Benny was concerned. He had blown 42 of them since he started driving west from the corpse-choked, ruined city of Washington, DC. He could have stayed on the highways, but he had seen just how quickly they had filled with…debris. His nose wrinkled at the memory of burning metal and flesh, his shoulders hunched slightly as he remembered the screams of the mobs as they died under the invader’s heat rays.
Benny had been safe in the bunker of the White House when the invaders landed. His security detail died quickly as the invaders breached the thick doors but somehow Benny survived. But then…the aliens had simply died. He didn’t know why but when he stepped outside, it was all over. That’s when he ran. He took the ‘Stang’s keys from the pocket of some flunky, loaded up some gas cans from an abandoned Hummer, and took to the side roads.
The stop sign was closer. He mashed the pedal to the floor and the speedometer jumped from 85 toward 100. No way was he going to stop. There was no law now, no responsibility, and certainly no more nightmares about a dying country he couldn’t save. No. Only the open road, this beautiful machine, and nothing mo–
The truck driven by the fleeing Governor of California, who also thought himself the last man on Earth, broadsided the President’s car at 95 miles per hour, killing them both before exploding and burning out in an adjacent pasture. The cows stood by impassively and chewed their cud.
I claim no particular inspiration for this story except that I think The Stand would have ended a lot differently if The Walking Dude had been plastered by a drunk driver careening down what he thought was an abandoned road because he thought he was the last man alive. And when I mean “differently, I mean “in roughly 150 pages”.
Benjamin Franklin Thompson (I just made up his full name) is not drunk, though I expect had had a drink or two in his travels across half the country. Shame about the Mustang, though. It was a gorgeous machine!
Oh! I also broke the 250-word rule this week. It’s okay to break a writing rule once in a while, so long as you know you can keep the rules and why the rules you set for yourself help you write better stories. I do and I do, so I did!
The prompt post, if you want to write along this weekend, is right here.
(Photo Credit: knerri61 on Pixabay)