Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Last Hope

Chuck has us writing about 'hope in the face of hopelessness'. This is my attempt - after my first 2 crashed and burned terribly.


I ran through the deserted landscape of the city, where nothing grew, where very little hope lived, where...

...I ran as fast as I could to get away from the footsteps I could hear gaining on me.

They were getting closer and I was lagging quickly.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and yanked me around to meet that face, that horrible old face of a man who had seen something in me I didn’t want him to see. His voice was haggard, “You are our last hope.”
“Get off me! Where did you come from?” I shoved him hard and he fell down wheezing, repeating that line which made me sound like I was some stupid character out of a George Lucas movie from the 1970’s.

I ignored him as I turned and kept running.

I had to get away from him.

I had to get out of the city.

I had to...

A truck screamed around the corner, lights on high beam blinding me. It almost ran me over as it stopped metres in front of me. I had fallen into the broken, dried-up, hot street. With the sun beating down all around me, I was short of breath, my lungs burning as hot as the broken road beneath me – feeling the weight of my pack on my back.
“You!” A strong voice called from the driver’s side window, “Get up!”
I looked up into the glare of the midday sun, squinting did nothing to help me, “Who’s that?”
A door opened and closed and gentle hands helped me to my feet, “Come on. You need help before anything else happens to you.”
I heard a door on the side of the truck open and I was assisted inside to the coolness of what turned out to be a van. The interior light turned on as my pack was removed from my back and my hands were looked at carefully by a young girl next to me, “Who are you?” I asked.
“They found me too. They thought I was the Last Hope, but turned out I was just another girl who could join the city.” She started cleaning the burns on my hands gently after turning on a headlamp I hadn’t noticed.

I don’t remember how long we were travelling for.
I just remember arriving at a place where it looked like people had been working since...

...since everything fell apart.

The door opened. The driver helped me out, “Welcome to The New City. We don’t have a name for it yet.” He looked down at me as he removed his gloves and wiped his face with a handkerchief he had pulled from his pocket, “I’m sure you’ll tell us your name in due time. Without any computers, records or anything hi-tech, we’re well and truly on our own. So, you can make up your own name or give us your birth name.” He turned to walk away, “You can call me Rae – like rays of the sun.”
“Okay... I’m Hope.”
Rae turned and walked back to me, “We don’t have anyone with your name yet.”
I shrugged on my pack, “Where can I sleep?”
“Shanni can show you. You’ll be in the women’s quarters.” Rae said as he turned and walked off.

A day or so passed and I had a doctor look at my hands. I surprised the woman when she pulled the bandages from my hands and found the burns were almost healed.
“These were really badly burned from the road.” Shanni said, “How can you heal so fast?”
“I have to take blood as well. We have to start our blood bank again, seeing everything went off-line during the Environmental Planetary Change.” The doctor took out everything she needed for a blood test, “We have to know what blood type you are, if you have any illnesses and if you’ve been in contact with anyone with any diseases you might have caught before coming here.”
I nodded, “No problems.”

I wasn’t allowed to walk around the city for a while. The doctor had come back to the women’s quarters with guards and asked me to ‘follow’ her without an explanation; and I was in the hospital section of The New City.
Rae was called to have tests done, so was anyone in the van who had been with me. But he was permitted to be with me in the room while they ran the tests – just in case we both had something which was the same.
He glared at me as I sat on the wide window sill, “What did you do!”
Looking over at him, I shook my head, “I don’t know. I don't remember too much before you picked me up.”
“What do you mean?”
“How long has the world been like this?”
He looked outside at the dim and dead world, “About a year or two.”
I don’t remember anything before you picking me up. I was running away from somebody. They called me the Last Hope... but I thought they were mad.” Looking over at him, I saw his face change as he sat on the end of bed slowly, “What is it, Rae?”
“It is you.” A smile grew slowly on his face as tears glimmered, filling his eyes and ran down his cheeks, “I can’t believe I found ...” he looked down to his hands sniffling, “My god, you’re really here.”
Slipping off the window sill, I walked to him, “I’m just a girl.”
“No.” He looked up at me smiling through his tears, “You are the only girl here in The New City with the name of Hope. You have an extremely rare blood type which had cured three patients of diseases we’ve been battling since the city opened and there’s no candles in this room because you’ve been using it. The rest of the hospital has no electricity – just this room.” He pulled off his gloves to reveal he had eczema scaling up his hands. Looking at me, he reached out and touched my arm. Almost immediately, his right hand cleared up at that gentle touch, “Where did you come from?”
I shook my head, “I don’t know.” Turning from him, I wished I knew what happened to the world, when I only had a few days’ memory of it, “I’m new to this planet, to life like this. I don’t know how all of this works.” I looked outside as tears blurred my vision, “But I want to go home.”
Thunder cracked outside as clouds quickly gathered towards The New City. Rain began to fall against the window as I felt as homesick as I’m ever going to feel.
Rae knelt beside me, “I know why you were running.” He looked out at the rain falling from the sky, “And I haven’t seen it rain like this in ages. But you are Hope – the hope everyone needs here. You are the last hope for the planet; and that last hope is rain.”
“No, actually, she’s not the rain.” The doctor said from the door, “But I’d be very careful about Hope.”
I looked up at her, “Why be careful about me?”
“Because, Hope, nobody has seen you eat anything since you arrived; and I know why.” She smiled, “We have before us the very spirit of the planet – I believe your real name is Gaia, but you go by the human name of Hope.”
I nodded, “Yes, hope is less weird. But I haven’t been here for so long.” I looked outside again at the rainstorm I had created, “What happened? I left you all a planet which was going so well.”
“How long has it been since you have been here?” Rae asked.
“About a million years.”
He smiled, “A lot happens in a millions years.”
“Well, Humans weren’t here.” I muttered touching the glass and making it rain harder, “You badly need rain. Can’t do much about the bees.”
“Was that our fault?” the doctor asked.
“No. Evolution... bound to happen.”
“So, what are you doing here?” Rae asked.
I smiled, “You live here and you need help. God’s left the building; and I’m here to clean up his mess.”
“So, you really are our last hope in all of this.” Rae said.
I touched his other hand, clearing up the rest of his eczema, “Yes. But I can’t stay here in The New City to do my work.”
“But we need you.” The doctor blurted.
Rae turned on her, “Don’t be selfish... Hope isn’t here to garnish your needs, she’s here for the planet.”
“Rae, I’ll be needing your help first.” I smiled.
He turned, “What’s that?”
“After I’m gone from here, you will be the last hope the place has.” I said.
“No I’m too old.”
“When I cleared up your skin problem, I handed on my powers. Once I’m gone, you’ll have them all.” I smiled, “You will have all the know-how to keep this planet on its feet right from The New City.”
“I thought you...”
“Now, you are the last hope for mankind to get it right this time.”

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