Before we go any further, let me stop to ask you some questions. I’m so excited to have met you, but there’s something I want to tell you before you enter the port. You see, I haven’t really been honest with you and you must have wondered why I was out here all alone.
Surely you have noticed by now that there are no fusion reactors. No glorious buzz of electricity and a lack of any sort of decent vegetation or animal kin. Oh, so you have noticed. Then let me skip to the worst part.
This is all that is left. You’ve come from so long ago and hoped that somehow life has improved itself? I’m sorry to disappoint you. I am not a proud man, nor am I any sort of leader. Just last week, the previous leader disappeared and the others voted for me to control everything that was left.
Noticeably, I am no handsome fellow either. No woman would bear my children, and I’m lost to a life of thanklessness and a tomorrow that is one day closer to my end. Did I mention how excited I am that you are here? Please, have a seat.
The Port was supposed to be grand once. Perhaps my grandfather said something about it, but now the dust clouds come and go and the nutrient reactors shut down years ago. Port Walden is nothing more than survivors who are losing at their daily professions. What is it you said you didâ€¦an engineer? You’ll find little use for your abilities without electricity.
I’m getting to the point, please be patient. I’ve seen children gasp their last breaths as the hunger overcomes them and becomes a deathly starvation. Scraps of leather became chew toys and after they were gone, well, no man calls dog their best friend any longer than he can swallow. Gruesome? That’s life. It is what it has to be so that we can survive. Survival is key.
Look up and see the grey clouds above you, stranger. Your time once held blue skies, I suppose, and purple at times, yes? The bark from these husks we once called trees are gone and I don’t need to tell you what use came from that bark. Look at my face, stranger. My face is more robust than anyone in the village but it by far much gaunter than yours.
Well, I suppose I’ve ventured further from my point. I came out here with this pistol to end the suffering. To watch children die is a nightmare and to know that others are watching the same happen to me is a slow agonizing hell. Perhaps they would have found me and taken what they could from me to help them survive just a little bit longer. I haven’t been honest with you at all. When I saw you I didn’t care where you were from. What I do care about is that you will feed many children for a few days at least; a few days for the hell to subside. Please, don’t run. I may be weak but I can still shoot and I’d prefer to aim somewhere that won’t spoil too much meat. I am so excited you are here.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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