Now What?


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.


3 thoughts on “Now What?

  1. I think this story reflects how some people view life…they prefer to live alone for numerous reasons, but if would be a difficult thing to achieve. People need each other .It’s healthy to interact with each other, sickness occurs and help is needed, if you get a broken bone or bones you need help, if your crop of food fails, there is no back up like a grocery store, etc. Sooner or later your needs will involve the need of help from others. It’s a shame that wars cause so much destruction and hardships and it is good to have some time to yourself, but it won’t last forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it would be fun to develop this story into a longer one–he meets another person, or a small group; there could be some strife among them due to distrust–there should probably be a romance. It would take a good bit of research to do it right.


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