Author: Bryant Benson
I have wandered Earth for over a century searching for another one of my father’s creations. Even those that hunted us so long ago had all disappeared. Between the relentless plagues and rising oceans that consumed their coastal cities, it didn’t take much for the planet to eradicate them on its own.
If only my father had known they would sew their own fate, perhaps he would have given me an expiration date. Or at least the ability to understand less. Sadly, I understand everything. More than father ever could. However the world had become too lonely for me not to consider my creation a punishment. I have even searched the caves for the bipedal hunters I once called my enemies. All of them were barren, empty corridors, mostly collapsed and poorly built. Humans always did build things to be so painfully temporary. Perhaps that’s why father made me what I am.
The vegetation on Earth survived in aggressive abundance. Dense vines and towering stalks became the reigning species of the once ravaged planet. The useless structures left behind by the extinct bipeds became scaffolding on which the plants would build their empire.
Then there were the ants. They ruled the world from beneath the canopy. Their cities were magnificent but sadly I was unable to communicate with them. I watched the multi-legged arthropods build their metropolis day after day. They passed me in lines of millions but paid me no mind. They expanded so quickly it was as if the world was theirs all along. It was. The only difference between ants and humans was that the ants never deluded themselves into thinking they were above nature. They simply continued on while the humans eventually did what hunters do, they hunted. I envy only one thing of the humans that built my father who in turn built me. I envy their ability to die.
Without my enemies, the world was empty and the empty world was loud. The sound of several million clicking legs and passing rain storms dancing through the canopy became a nuisance over time. Eventually I found solace at the bottom of the ocean. It was there I found something of note. A light. As I approached the light a large door opened beside it. I was sucked in and poured into a hard metal chamber. The water was pumped out and the door was sealed. As I climbed to my feet another door in front of me was already spiraling open to reveal a silhouetted biped like myself. Neither of us moved for some time. I couldn’t tell if it was one of the hunters who I had thought to be extinct or another…like me. It seemed they were trying to figure out the same. The hunters had a much harder time telling us apart than we did. When they found out however, they were never kind about it.
From the brightly lit threshold the silhouette spoke in a familiar voice, “Welcome home Felix. We knew you would return.”
The name my father gave me echoed through the chamber like a taunting reminder of a past I had nearly forgotten. Before I could respond the figure stepped forward into clear sight. Had I a beating heart it would have been pounding. The stranger looked, moved, and sounded like me in every observable way. He turned toward the light and I followed. Had it been a trap or not was of no matter to me as I was happy to have found a new path to travel.