Last Man – 7

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Art by noro8

Last Man fired two more rounds. The first tore through the monster’s neck, the second its jaw. It staggered and went to its knees. Still, it wasn’t dead.

The Archer let loose an arrow that embedded itself through the hollow of one of the things cheeks. Its tentacle arm reached up and jerked the arrow free, unfazed. The arrow clattered before falling between the chunks of rubble.

Then each of the standing mutants circled their downed comrade. Last Man realized they were taking a defensive position around it. Instead of resuming fire, he waited. He had three rounds left in the 30-30. It would not be enough.

One of the things raised its face to the sky and released a series of short yelps. They held their ground.

Tentatively, Last Man took a step backward, his sight still locked onto his target. The mutants didn’t react. He moved farther and the Archer followed his lead. Step by step they put more distance between them and the tentacled monsters until the creatures were nothing more than vague shapes in the fog.

It was only then that Last Man began to run.

He twisted his ankle on the rubble. His lungs burned.

He kept going.

Eventually they cleared the wasteland. The terrain became easier to navigate and their line of sight increased. As the adrenaline faded in his body, Last Man’s thoughts wandered. If he’d managed to kill that creature—if it was even possible—he had a feeling the other three would’ve ripped him apart.

The Archer stopped. The stood in the center of a road Last Man was unfamiliar with. Brick buildings crumbled around them. Overhead a flock of birds silently flew by.

The hair on the back of Last Man’s neck prickled. He hadn’t forgotten how the Archer killed those two boys then pointed an arrow at his head. His grip on the 30-30 tightened, but he didn’t raise it. The Archer still held their bow in hand, though an arrow wasn’t pulled back.

“I’m not much for a sentimental goodbye,” Last Man said, keeping his voice neutral. “So why don’t we go our separate ways and hope we never run into those things again.”

Without missing a beat—still silent—they walked past Last Man and didn’t look back once.

It wasn’t the last time he’d see the Archer.


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Last Man – 6

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Art by Red Rabbit

There was a split second where the Archer had to decide what the bigger threat was; Last Man or whatever was headed their way.

It was of no surprise to him when the Archer turned away from him and aimed towards where they heard the howls. Everyone was an enemy until something worse came along. Fine with him. Last Man stood fully and scanned the area for their new threat.

In the middle of the sea of concrete rubble with virtually nowhere to hide and no advantageous position to take. Last Man squinted as he tried to make out forms in the fog. The Archer dropped down beside him taking cover behind the same meager slab of concrete.
It was quiet. Last Man slowed his breathing and focused.

He wasn’t sure where the monster came from. All of the sudden it was just there, forty yards away, standing above the boy’s bodies. It was more horrific than any Walker he’d ever seen. Where arms once were hung sinewy tentacles that writhed on the ground as they investigated the bodies. One tentacle slithered against the bloody bodies. The appendage rose to its mouth where it tasted the fresh blood. A shudder coursed through its body. It raised its face to the sky and let out a long, high pitched scream.

A chorus responded. Through the fog came another three mutants. They tore into the corpses, tentacles tearing limb from body, flesh from bone.

They hadn’t spotted the Archer and Last Man taking cover behind the slab.

They had to act now, while the things were eating. If they tried to slip away and the creatures heard, they’d lose the element of surprise and stood little chance against four. Whatever these things were, they were fast as hell and moved silently.

The Archer was facing Last Man, their bow drawn but pointed at the ground. Last Man nodded to his rifle and then to the monsters, pointing to himself then the two on the right.

The Archer nodded in agreement.

Last Man stepped away from his cover. He aimed the sight of his 30-30 on the first creature. Its jaw moved furiously as it gnawed at an arm. He squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit the thing in the temple, blowing away a chunk of its head. It collapsed onto the ground.

Then the thing stood and locked its gaze on him. Chunks of brain and gore dripped down half of its face from the gaping wound in its head.

A flash of pure, unadulterated fear shot through Last Man’s entire being.

They were fucked.


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Last Man – 5

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“Put down your gun and step away.”

The Last Man froze. As he scanned the horizon in front of him, and paid close attention to what was in his peripheral, dozens of thoughts raced in his mind. Where did they come from? How many were there? How long had they been following him and WHY hadn’t he heard or seen them before?

“He said put your fucking gun down!”

Male voice. Different from the first voice. Higher pitched. Younger.

“Okay,” Last Man said. “I’m going to move real slow and set the rifle down.”

It was foggy. Visibility was poor. Is that why he hadn’t seen them? Was he losing his edge—after all, he hadn’t seen another living person in years—or were they that good?

In front of him were hills and valleys of rubble for the next quarter mile. Nothing but bombed wasteland. Concrete and rebar made it dangerous to move through the terrain quickly.

If the two people behind him wanted to kill him, they would’ve done it by now. Shoot first, loot later. Their hesitance told him volumes. Last Man bent down and set down his rifle, then rose slowly with his arms above his head.

“Ok. Uh…Now…” the second voice said. “Tom, what do we do?”

“Fuck, I don’t know.”

“Screw Dad for not teaching us…”

The captors conferred in whispers. Last Man took the opportunity to shift his head just left enough to see behind him.

They were twenty feet away. Teenagers. Both boys were rail thin. Their jackets hung off bony shoulders and they both looked like they’d topple over if a slight breeze hit them. One held a shotgun.

“I don’t know what you plan to do here, but whatever it is, we can all walk away alive,” Last Man said. He kept his tone clear and emotionless.

“Shut up!” the shotgun-wielder yelled. “Take off your pack and gear and leave it by your gun.”

There was a shake in their voices beneath the bravado. They were afraid. Last Man didn’t care to guess what they’d been through or who they’d lost. He didn’t want to kill them, but would if he couldn’t talk them down.

“Listen to my brother, you fu—”

The boy was cut off as an arrow pierced his right eye. He stumbled back one step, then fell. His brother dropped to his knees, scanning for whoever did it while screaming for his lost kin.

Last Man grabbed his rifle and scanned the immediate area for cover and the attacker. All he could see was fog and a sea of concrete.

The remaining boy’s screams turned to gurgles. Last Man glanced over and saw him grasping at the arrow in his throat. He ripped it out. Blood spurted across the rubble and gushed down his skin, soaking his flimsy shirt.

Last Man stayed low and began moving away from the scene, still scanning for the sniper. He managed to find a large slab of concrete and set his back against it. He took a deep breath and peeked over the edge of the slab.

The figure standing two feet away from him was dressed in grays and black. A thin layer of dust coated their entire body. They blended into the rubble wasteland perfectly. Last Man could almost see his own reflection in the gas mask the archer wore.

They wielded a compound bow and an arrow was pointed right at Last Man’s head.

He heard a long, high pitched screech in the distance. Soon it was met with a dozen others and Last Man knew the archer was the least of his worries.

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Last Man – 4

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Art by artroni.deviantart.com

The Last Man had forgotten what sleep was like without the nightmares. Sometimes he could only recall fragments. An endless abyss of undead. Fetid breath from mouths lined with jagged, black teeth. Glassy eyes that looked everywhere and nowhere at once. Maggots writhing in open chest cavities. Loops of entrails spilling out, hanging against their knees as they shambled ever forward.

In his nightmares he was running, but never fast enough.

He had a gun, but the wrong caliber of rounds.

He was safe in a bunker, but all his food had spoiled.

No matter the nightmare, in the end, the horde overtook him. Dragged him into the blackness. First he’d hear his clothes tear…then his flesh. Their lips smacking and jaws grinding as they chewed up his skin and muscle. A peculiar feeling of lightness as they tugged out his stomach, his lungs, his heart.

And just before he’d awaken, drenched in sweat, pulse caught in his throat, the dead were reaching for his eyes…

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Last Man – 3

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art by one of my favorite artists, Blake Rottinger

He remembered what it was like when he knew mankind had given up. That humanity had finally loosened its grip and stopped fighting the infection.

It was the dead of winter and bitter cold. Ash drifted beside snowflakes, lazy as they made their descent to the ground. Fire consumed the city. Smoke billowed from empty skyscrapers. There was not a living soul in sight.

GOD HELP US

He swallowed the lump in his throat and looked away from the graffiti scrawled across the billboard overheard. His gaze moved down the road at the tangled mess of abandoned cars and garbage.

Where did he go from here? He’d been to the other cities on the emergency broadcast. He hadn’t seen another survivor in weeks.

Maybe he was alone. Maybe he was the last man on earth.

Then he saw movement in the corner of his eye. He tensed and brought up his rifle. His hazmat suit squeaked. He regretted how much the foggy mask impeded his vision.

There was nothing but a frostbitten corpse leaning out a car window. Its skin was almost papery, tight against frozen muscle. The Last Man was hungry and tired. It was showing. He needed to find somewhere to rest the night. He’d rethink what to do in the morning…

The corpse flexed its hand and drew its bony fingertips up the car door. When it raised its head and snapped its ragged teeth in his direction, the Last Man realized he wasn’t truly alone.

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Last Man – 2

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art by siqri

The Last Man stood motionless. A chill ran across his neck and back and it wasn’t from the cold. He was one wrong move away from being dinner.

Twenty yards ahead of him were four wolves. He hadn’t seen them until he’d reached the crest of the snowdrift. Their coats were so white they camouflaged near perfectly in the snow. The hard winter sunlight nearly blinded him, but he kept eyes on them.

He always cut through the city to get home after a winter hunting trip, and not once had he seen more than a bird or two. In the summer, the city was infested with Walkers and animals avoided it. In the winter, the Walkers froze near solid or were buried under the snow, but wildlife still shied away, perhaps sensing what lurked within.

Even with the 30-30 lever action rifle ready in his hands, the Last Man decided it wasn’t a fight he wanted to pick. The wolves hadn’t noticed him yet. He kept his eyes on them and walked backward, retracing his steps until he was at the bottom of the drift, out of sight.

There were few clear paths to take back home. This added another half day to his travel time.

He gritted his teeth and trudged forward, hoping he wouldn’t lose another toe to frostbite.

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Last Man – 1

The Last Man had been waiting for hours. His eyes stung from the dry, cold weather. A chill had settled so deep in his core, he didn’t think he’d ever warm up again.

It didn’t matter. He would stay until just past dusk. Only then would he end the day.

This had been his hunting spot for three winters and it never failed him. With each passing year nature took back what was once hers. Animals roamed freely here now. The cars rusted. The asphalt disappeared under brambles and grass growing from its cracks. In the distance, skyscrapers turned into skeletons.

The Last Man shifted slightly and closed his eyes for a few long seconds to try and warm them up.

He heard a twig snap. Standing in front of him was the biggest buck he’d ever seen. Slowly, he brought up his rifle and aimed…


For those of you just starting, this is my first ever Last Man flash fiction. I started posting these on my Facebook fan page and wanted to have a spot other than Facebook that I could keep them. I do not claim any of the art, and credit the artist whenever I am able (which is most of the time). Thank you for reading!

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