Author : Shannon Peil

The Daughter looked sullenly around the council, at the hopeful eyes of politicians, bureaucrats, magistrates, and men of wealth, and their chosen suitors, knelt before her. She nodded to the back of the room, and they began to filter out slowly, risking glances over their shoulders at the four boys on their knees before Her in total reverence.

“And close the door.” Her eyes scrunched up in resentment as she heard the door latch.

Her name was Zee. The very Last.

When the men had left the boys with her, she returned to her seat, floating feet above the prostrate supplicants with their eyes on the floor. Beads of anticipating sweat had begun to form on their perfectly manicured brows. The boys were beautiful. She knew they had the most aesthetically pleasing features, healthiest immune systems, strongest bodies, and highest IQ’s that the last batch of humanity could offer.

“Stand.” She had never once said the word, ‘please.’ When the boys rose to their feet, she imagined having them for a lifetime of servitude. But, She knew, even if she produced a good amount of offspring – and God willing, that they were healthy, it was next to impossible that one would be a Female before Zee reached menopause.

“And why are you here?”

The boys looked nervously at one another and continued staring at the floor just below Her feet. She was enjoying this. Leaning forward, she raised the cutest boy’s chin with a long fingernail. He gulped deeply and shook when their eyes made contact. Males always swooned over the Last.

“Do not make me repeat myself.” Her words dripped with disdain but she held his eyes as he blinked rapidly and framed his answer. The silence was broken by his inevitable reply, the one she expected all along.

“Because, Daughter.. -” He scrambled for his thoughts and barely collected them in time, “because you are to be humanity’s new Mother. You are the Last and our only hope as a species. The four of us have been selected,” he glanced to each of the silent boys beside him, “to try to give you another Daughter.”

Zee sighed and traced her fingernail back off his strong chin and stood, whirling her robes as she kicked her chair across the room. Watching it float gracefully towards one of the long windows overlooking the city, she turned back to them. She commanded the boys to stand as the window impacted and shattered, glass sprinkling the city below.

“And why – why on Terra would I want that?” They looked quizzical, they always did. The males never understood why this wasn’t all She wanted. They kept quiet, but kept their dumbfounded looks. Finally, Zee continued.

“Why would I want to do this?” Her harsh exterior was visibly fading, replaced with sorrow, a dull resentment for the years leading up to this, knowing her fate from the moment she was old enough to speak. One of the boys cleared his throat, and she turned to look at him. His eyes met hers and he understood her pain.

“Miss Zee. Your duty is that of a Mother. Like Terra itself, it sacrifices its all for its children. To allow them to grow, to continue their cycle. If mankind were to die out…” He trailed off and once again allowed his gaze to hit the floor.

“If mankind were to die out,” she continued for him, “then Terra would be able to continue her cycle.” And with that, she stepped through the broken window, and slid silently downwards towards the city.

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