Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Peter had lost track of time, living his days from sunrise to sunset, from season to season.
He was alone. At least, as far as he knew, he was alone. He had learned to blend into his surroundings, walking lightly, watching carefully. The stillness was complete. It seemed to him, in some distant memory, that he had enjoyed the song of birds and the rustling of small animals in the woods, but that was all gone.
It was a bleak landscape. Trees had been blown apart or uprooted as monstrous tanks rolled over them. The earth lay scorched and infertile in so many places. Peter had found a place that lay mostly untouched, and he had learned a great deal about what plants were edible, what water was drinkable. His senses had sharpened over time, so that he could detect chemical smells that warned him of danger in the food or water.
His eyesight, too, had sharpened. Or maybe it was just the lack of industrial smog. He could see for miles, and he could see the tiniest movement that alerted him to the possibility of meat. Every now and then, a solitary bird would fly overhead. They were never within range of his crude slingshot, spear, or bow and arrow. In a way, he was glad. Maybe they had mates somewhere, and maybe they could begin to multiply.
He wasn’t so sure about those things for humans. Several seasons had come and gone since he cautiously emerged from the cave that lead to his deep hiding place. He’d made graves for his wife and their two children, who hadn’t survived the starvation that followed the cessation of the fighting.
Peter knew nothing of what was happening anywhere but his own small world. He walked the woods every day, searching for food. He was slowly making his cave more habitable, laying in a supply of fuel for the coming cold time, creating some furniture and even a warmer cloak from small animals whose fur he had collected and whose flesh had helped to fill his belly.
There were signs of life amid all the chaos. Only once had he dared to venture to the edge of the woods that concealed him. He had stood as still as a tree for the longest time, watching and waiting for anyone or anything that might pass by.
There was nothing. Nothing but destruction and ugliness. Finally, he’d turned back toward his cave, thinking about making a better chimney for the small fires he built for cooking.
How would he live out his life? Alone, solitary, hiding?
Well, that was better than exposing himself to the evil that seemed to lurk in the hearts of mankind. Maybe he was the only one left. Maybe he would never know.