Author: Jackson Lanzer
A man is silhouetted by a sunset, the heavenly light decorating him in immaculate golden armor and a tattered cape of shadows. His rusty hair flows in the wind, and his oak eyes stare into the celestial abyss.
“Just me, alone, suffering in paradise,” he mutters to himself, the only man in a tropical universe devoid of humanity.
A tear falls down the man’s face, a drop of golden ambrosia in the light.
As stars overtake the sky, the man’s knees shake, and he stumbles to the sandy ground. The beach is his bed, and he cradles seaweed as the evening fog cradles him. It reminds him of all he lost: his love, his life, and his happiness.
“I’ve been trapped on this Island for 8 years,” he tells the seaweed every day, but she never truly listens.
“I prayed to the sky to bring me to paradise. I’d kneel beneath the stars and plead my message before the gods: ‘save us from this apocalypse and bring your loyal herd to salvation.’
“But those creatures only took me. My family is still stuck, alone, suffocating on Earth’s fumes.”
The man trembles.
“I suppose, thanks to aliens, I have the luxury of ‘paradise’ for the rest of my years.”
He laughs. It is a laugh laced with pain.
“But can a man truly be happy when he is alone?”
He waits for the seaweed to answer.
“Exactly. No one ever answers my questions. The gods, aliens, whatever they are, never truly return my pleas.”
Eventually, the gentle sound of falling tears lulls him to sleep.
Sleep is his only respite from the nightmare of paradise. Only in sleep can he glimpse his love again, his arms wrapping around the seaweed, imagining it is her soft skin.
And during the dream, he cries once more: fleeting tears of joy.