Cherry Bombs

The sun was setting on another day. Zachary wandered around the edges of the large ranch he claimed as his own turning on the perimeter lights. Thanks to solar panels, and unclaimed generators he never worried about wasting energy. He reasoned he would die of old age long before he used up all the gasoline in his city much less the world. He was the last man on Earth and he was comfortable with that.

Zachary tried to convince himself every morning. But, every evening at sundown he turned on as many lights as he could to draw attention from someone. Anyone. Despite spending years traveling back and forth across the country he held out hope that there were other survivors. It wasn’t impossible that there were so few of them they simply missed each other.

He turned on the last light and stared at the brilliant sky with a proud smile. The lights could be seen for miles; he checked himself one evening. Satisfied, Zachary headed inside to see about dinner; he decided on pizza. Cooking from scratch was one of the few pleasures he had left with no other souls around. The second he closed the oven door, after sliding the pizza in, a sharp sound startled him.

A burst of five quick knocks hit his front door. Zachary recognized the “shave and a haircut” set up and dashed to the door. There was no mistaking that pattern; it was an intentional, intelligent person knocking on his door and he was eager to find out who. He threw the door open; but, no one was there.

What the hell?” he wondered. As he looked around he saw two small red balls on his front step. They looked to be about the size of golf balls; they seemed to glow with soft red light from the inside. He leaned forward to inspect them. Before he got too close they popped in quick succession and left tiny scorch marks on the concrete. Despite his confusion; Zachary chuckled. “I guess that’s the two bits…,”

“HELLO!??” he yelled hoping for some response. None came. “They’re probably being cautious,” Zachary thought. He had waited years for evidence of someone else; now that he had it he wasn’t going to rush anything. He decided to leave his front door open and go back inside. 

He turned around and saw a young girl wearing a blood-red hoodie and black jeans. Her long white hair was pulled back in a pony-tail; she held the oven door open and was eyeing the pizza. As if she suddenly realized Zachary was watching her she closed the oven and turned to look at him.

“How long till it’s ready?” she asked. She flashed a bored smile that seemed to come more from obligatory courtesy than a desire to be friendly.

Calm down. Just take it as it comes,” Zachary reminded himself. He fought hard not to rush over and hug her. She only looked around 13 and probably didn’t want strangers hugging her, even if she did break into their house. “Anser her questions and you’ll get a chance to ask your own.” He glanced at the kitchen clock on the wall behind her.

“About eight minutes. I’m Zachary,” he smiled and waved while keeping his distance.

“Cherry,” she said. She crossed her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. She clearly wasn’t going to offer any information.

“Was that you?” Zachary asked. He used his thumb to point at the open door behind him. “The two-,”

“The two cherry bombs? I WONDER,” She said sarcastically. “That’s it?” she asked; she raised her arms along with a disappointed shrug. “You’re the last person on Earth and a girl shows up in your kitchen .. and you’re not freaking out?” Zachary smiled.

“Obviously I’m not the last person on Earth,” he said. The girl gave a deep sigh.

“Yes you are,” she said. A black hole opened behind her; she turned and disappeared into it before Zachary could say anything. She vanished and the hole disappeared leaving no sign of either of them. Zachary’s heart sank.

“…because I’m from a different Earth,” he heard a soft whisper next to his ear. He jumped to the side and turned to see her head poking out of a black hole. She winked a light pink eye at him. “And I’m not here anymore.” Her head disappeared back into the hole before Zachary could say anything else. He was the last person on Earth again.

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