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No Democracy By: Jordan Lee Burnes
Joel’s heart was pounding as he listened to the knock on the door. Normally, a knock on the door would not be something that terrified a person, but it just so happens that Joel was the last living human for as long as he could remember. Ever since that day he woke up to nothing. No explanation, nothing left, just a blank landscape with buildings. Now the buildings were grown over with vegetation and home to many wild animals. All animals were wild now, except for John, Joel’s dog. But that wasn’t important; right now he had to figure out who or what was tapping at his door early this morning. So he walked over and opened it, trying to act casual, just in case it was another person. He saw before him a hanging limb being blown back and forth against the door. He was both relieved and shocked at his finding, but that wasn’t what he was paying attention to. He was paying attention to the wind this morning, it had been a while since the wind had blown this well.
“Come on John, let’s go.”
The dog was named after Joel’s favorite actor, John Cusack. It gave him some connection to the past if not just enough.
They walked to the car and jumped in, one after another. Joel had always wanted one of these cars, a jeep. He had finally gotten his wish, but at what price?
* * * *
Joel drove up on the sandy beach and jumped out of his car. John was ahead of him, running toward the ocean. His eyes followed the dog, until they finally met with the surf. The waves were rolling upon the sand, white capping; and every once in a while, a fair sized wave would swim up to the shore.
Despite the fact that it was cool enough to catch pneumonia in the water, Joel took off his shirt and laid it on the ground. He kept his jeans on for fear that someone would see him naked; despite that fact that there was no one else.
The surfing shop was open, as always. Joel searched around for a different board today. He spotted a small one, good for quick turns, on a shelf and took it. “I’ll have the money tomorrow Jeff. Don’t worry about it,” Joel said this to no one as he passed by the checkout counter.
By the time Joel hit the water and started to paddle out, John had been swimming for a while and had piece of coral in his mouth. John liked to swim and would even dive every now and then, but surfing scared him.
Joel paddled out and caught a wave, the best in his life, as he rode it the wind swept past his face and the force blowing past his ears made him look out on the distant horizon of the abandoned city. At that moment he was hit with a feeling of loneliness, a feeling that made him; a feeling he felt all to often, a feeling that made him lose balance, bringing him headfirst, into the oceans surface, and falling into darkness.
* * * *
There was supposed to be a bright light, but there wasn’t. He could see everything, everything that wasn’t there. It was very peaceful where he was, there was no color, but it was silent, so silent that you couldn’t even hear the ringing in your ear. Drowning wasn’t so bad, but if you woke back up, and reality slapped you in the face, then the water in your lungs came gushing out; you would wish you had died.
Joel had just wished to die. His limbs felt weak, his chest and throat hurt from the salt water and John, who was sitting beside him, didn’t seem to soothe these facts in any way. The sun was starting to go down and it would be dark soon. Joel didn’t feel like moving, didn’t feel like getting up to drive back to were he slept, he just felt like laying there; laying there and enjoying the stars and the moon.
Joel gave his dog a small pat on the head and got up. Walking back to his jeep he listened to and savored every crunching footstep in the sand. Once his foot hit the concrete road he turned back once more to the beach and scanned it for his shirt. It wasn’t in sight, and if he had looked for it he wouldn’t have found it, but he didn’t. He knew that he could get another shirt just as easy as he had gotten that one. The world was his play ground, but he didn’t want to keep playing games, he just wanted to live.
** ** ** **
Joel awoke, once again, to the tapping at his door. He walked over to it casually, as he did the day before, and opened it to find the same tree branch hitting against his building. He stretched and yawned and smelled the air. Once again he found the day perfect for surfing, but he had other things in mind, greater, more important things.
"John! Come on boy, we need to go get a few things today."
Joel had his clothes on and jumped in his jeep before John had gobbled up the chicken leg that was given to him. He drove to a sporting goods store and took a very expensive GPS, and a bow and some arrows. It wasn't a compound bow, but one of those that you actually have to pull hard to get it to shoot, a recurve bow. His next stop was an exotic sword shop, there he picked up a hunting knife that lay in a glass case.
He went to some food and clothing stores to pick up some supplies, his last stop at one of those exotic car shops were he took a car whose name he couldn't pronounce. It was now him, a couple of boxes and John in the car ready to go. Joel sped up, broke through the glass of the shop, and sped off down the street, going ten blocks and then driving over into the grass, and onto a concrete runway, coming to a skidding stop in front of a small jet plane.
Joel switched the car off, and lugged all his supplies onto a cart nearby, his dog following him close behind.
"Well John, let’s learn to fly."
* * * *
Joel was up in the sky faster than he realized. He had no idea how he had done it, but he was flying, and that’s all that mattered. It turned out that he really didn’t need the GPS he had gotten, because there was already one built into the plane. He set this to Cuzco, Peru and it came up with an ETA of 7 hours at his current speed.
He had never been there before… but that’s what intrigued him about the place; the unknowing of it all. Joel found a button labeled auto pilot and pressed it, it was going to be a long ride and Joel didn’t intent to stay up here, after all this was a very high class plane and it had music, massaging chairs, and not to mention beds. He connected his MP3 player to the planes speakers and the sounds of Chaconne filled his ears. Joel went back to find John laying on a bed with his eyes closed, and went to lay beside him. John rested his chin on his friend’s stomach and listened as songs continued to play. Today had been a long day for both of them and no one objected as their eyes closed to darkness and Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight ceased to play.
** ** **
The plane began to shake, and Joel awoke. He was sweating from a nightmare he had about a mob of people finding him and then killing him… very anticlimactic. The plane was still going through some turbulence and it seemed like it wasn’t about to give way, therefore Joel went to the front.
The plane was hitting many passing clouds, but through every other break Joel could barley see the canopies of a forest, a rain forest. He had made it to Peru, but what part he was unsure. He looked to were the GPS lay and began to look at the name of the place were they were, but at that moment a red light overhead came on, and a loud noise came from the right as an engine blew and the plane started to descend.
Joel ran back to his dog, John, and ran to a seat, buckling himself in and holding his friend tight. Not two seconds latter the plane gave a great jerk and a long low moan as it skidded across the bottom of the dense rainforest. The lights overhead went out as soon as the moaning stopped, and they were both engulfed in total darkness.
“John… are you alright?”
* * * *
The door to the plane fell to the ground as Joel and John came out. They were both badly shaken, John even had his tail between his legs, but that didn’t really matter too long as Joel looked upon the scene. He had never seen something so beautiful in his life, even though the plane had destroyed most anything in its path, the forest still held all its magnificence. But, Joel knew he had no time for that, knew that if he couldn’t find a way out of here soon, couldn’t find a broken down convenient store, or supermarket, they would die.
Joel tried to find a tree to climb, it was easy, but actually climbing it proved difficult. Finally, however, it was done. Joel looked and looked, but all he could see was the forest, and the fast falling sun, however just as he was about to descend back under the canopy of trees, he spotted a small stone structure some ways in the distance. He could not make out what it was, besides that it was obviously built, but it was their best bet at the moment, so he took it.
After gathering some supplies from the plane (bow and hunting knife included) he set off in the direction of the stone structure. The forest was very foreign to him, and as the sun continued to fade, more insect and animal noises started to fill the air. It was nothing like New York, which was dead and quiet; this was more alive than New York was when there were people still in it. All of a sudden he felt bombarded; he hadn’t had any company (besides John) for three years, and now that he did, he didn’t know how to respond to it. So, he just kept walking. It was when things began to quiet down, however, that he began to worry.
* * * *
They had been walking for a while, and Joel expected the structure to come into sight at any moment. The sun had now fallen behind the horizon (not that there was one in the canopy) and in the darkness it was quiet. He had not expected it to be, not from what he had heard earlier, and he kept getting this weird feeling that he was being hunted, and neither he nor John liked it. Every time something would move in the shrubs to the side John would growl, every time he caught a scent of something he would bark, but he always stayed by Joel’s side. All they could do was keep walking, and so they did.
Joel noticed a slight shuffle in an area behind him, and as always he turned to see what it was, he expected to find nothing, as he always had. So, when he saw six hundred pounds of black cat flying at him through the air, he was thoroughly stunned. In a moment he expected to die, so he made a quick prayer, but as John tackled the panther to the ground his mentality changed.
He ran as a cry like a woman’s scream came through the night, but when he heard the yelping of a dog, he stopped dead. He couldn’t leave John behind, not John, his only friend for three years. With the deepest breath he had ever taken, he started back. As he ran he took out his bow and fit an arrow in it, when he was in sight of the fight, he took aim and shot the cat in its rips. Its attention turned then from the dog to John, but as it got closer another arrow landed in its chest. Still, it kept coming, and was upon him in a second. The cat tore at his face, and at his chest, and his teeth were about to sink into his neck, before a knife sunk into its heart.
Joel moved the panther to the side and went quickly to John. His skin was torn back across his ribs and there were numerous fatal wounds across his face and spine. Joel picked him up, despite his own wounds and began to carry him toward the stone structure, which quickly came into sight a little ways out. They got there, and found it to be nothing but a ruin, so, Joel laid John upon the ground, and took a seat on one of the stones that littered the area. Then, snow began to fall.
As he sat there with John’s blood staining the newly fallen snow, he looked up and realized it didn’t really matter. There was something bigger at work here, something that he couldn’t control, something he had to accept. So, he cried a little, and then slipped silently into a rest, giving the earth peace once again.
I like the idea of it, but I didn't spend that much time on this one.
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