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aDittyaDay t1_j15ipw5 wrote


I sighed gently as I put the old phone on speaker and set it back on the table. The magnetically charged generator hummed quietly in the corner, struggling to keep juice flowing through the charger cable and maintain my last bid for sanity.

On the old plastic table was an array of trinkets I had found that day. I only ever went out for trinkets these days. The greenhouse pretty much ran itself, and the spring-water salinity distiller had not had a breakdown in almost five years now. I had scavenged just about everything I needed for survival, so all that was left were trinkets.

A purple piece of glass. A nearly spherical pebble. An intact spider-web leaf--I liked that one; the brittle leaves usually crumbled the second they hit the ground. A rusty belt buckle missing the tongue. A crinkled piece of plastic that might once have been a candy wrapper.



All there was to do these days was sit on the pedal-seat in the corner by the generator and pedal all day to recharge the old piece of junk. And I only ever used the generator to keep the old cell phone running, so I did not have to recharge it every day.

The only other thing there was to do was go out and collect trinkets.

"Oh my God, hello!?!"

I sighed. Even the age-old voice recordings were losing their luster.

"This can't have been a mistake, it can't be, not after twenty fucking years of conserving the last twelve percent of this damn battery, and I turn it on for the first time in twenty years and I immediately get a phone call, and that’s just too fucking ironic to be real, so this is a mistake, isn't it, and..."

I finally looked up from my meager bounty and frowned at the phone. The voice on the other end devolved into flustered muttering, just a warble from the old speakers.

That's not a voicemail, I thought, staring and staring and staring at the phone.

The sound coming from the speakers grew muffled for a moment, and a harsh clop issued forth, as if someone on the other end had dropped their phone mid-call. A rustle, static. A deep sigh, that kind of sigh one makes when one is alone, and all they have to hold onto their last grip of calm is their own breath. Someone, alone, breathing, alone, relying on themselves to remain calm. Someone on the phone.


That's not a voICEMAIL.

The truth of reality finally sank in, and I lunged for the phone.

Snatching it up, I shouted, "Hello! Hi! Hello!?"

"Don't screw with me, phone," the voice replied, but it was distant, as if the other person held the phone away from their face. "I save you all this time, and this is how you repay me--"

"Hello! I'm a real! I'm person! I'm--!" I inhaled, choked on my own saliva, and coughed until I could not breathe. "I'm... I'm..." I wheezed, sucking air through the cough lodged at the top of my esophagus. "Hi. I'm Dakota. Hi."

The voice was quiet, almost comically suspicious. "You're not a mistake?"

I contemplated the question for a moment, and a sudden, unexpected swell seemed to balloon inside of me. It was laughter. I teetered on the edge of laughter, something I had not heard in over a decade. I had asked myself that exact same question for years. How was I alive even after all this time, just to suffer in solitude? What had I done to deserve it? It had to be a mistake. I had to be a mistake.

But all I said was, "No."

And then I finally laughed. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.

And she laughed, too.


killznhealz OP t1_j15jg8k wrote

I don't know why this made me so happy but I love it! So well written! Wish I could write like you!


Gigibop t1_j15kgw2 wrote

I thought it would've ended with I laughed she laughed and then the phone started laughing so I shot the phone


aDittyaDay t1_j162fch wrote

I mean, technically, that didn't not happen...


WraithWrightWriting t1_j16uf3c wrote

I want more. Do they try to find each other? How far away is the caller? How long until the generator dies? Do they even have enough time to be friends or is it all over with a silent -click- as the phone dies?


aDittyaDay t1_j18b0pn wrote

Hmm I didn't have plans for more, but I usually set my prompts in the same universe, so if I apply that same restriction, a part 2 would probably show Dakota actually camped out on the moon or Venus or something since Earth is no more, and phone lady is still on a spaceship and rescues the stranded human to go on space adventures looking for other scattered survivors. Whether there is generator death or signal loss to put tension into the rescue mission depends on if I actually add these people into the bigger story and they need a plot.

Which I'm actually considering now, thanks, haha..


WraithWrightWriting t1_j18copw wrote

That's interesting that you have them all in the same universe. Does that end up restricting what prompts you respond to?

>Which I'm actually considering now, thanks, haha..

Sorry about that lol Hope you enjoy it if you decide to though


aDittyaDay t1_j18e7br wrote

Not always, depends on my mood. I had first started writing on reddit on an alt account a few years ago just to get myself writing again, and I had decided to make all my reddit prompts canon to each other long after I had started them, so they were already pretty broad in spectrum. The lore of my main story mostly explains how that's possible, so I don't stress about it too much. So basically I answer a prompt as I feel like it, and I find a way to make it fit afterwards. A few oddball prompt responses don't quite fit, but most do, so meh

And it's all good, just gives me an excuse to write more haha!


WraithWrightWriting t1_j18nkku wrote

That's pretty how much this account started, it's the alt account for writing. I wanted a pseudonym for my writing when I started returning to it. I haven't really considered making all of my projects connected but there's certainly a way to since they don't have to be the same planet/world to be the same universe. I've also had a concept for a while to have at least one character in the background that connects them, like the G-man in Half Life. Not really original but could be fun

Always good to have more reasons to write. I'm working on getting back to it after a while


asyrian88 t1_j16si48 wrote

I was 100% expecting this to end with someone asking about their car’s extended warranty.


Criticalhit_jk t1_j186qne wrote

The only thing that bugs me is the trinkets. Come on, it's a last man on earth situation and this guys out here collecting candy wrappers and broken belt buckles? I'm going hunting for lambos and $5,500 pocket knives long before I'm looking for round pebbles and bits of colored glass. Get me some nice kitchen knives, a dope ass wok and a wicked propane well for it. Is this guy shipwrecked or something


notyetcosmonaut t1_j18724b wrote

He can’t go collecting machines. The new models have turned sentient. That’s how the world ended.


aDittyaDay t1_j191lvk wrote

Lol good point. I figure after 20 years of isolation, then a) they've already collected all the cool stuff by now, and/or b) they've become just a little bit wacko re: their priorities


MechisX t1_j17asv4 wrote

Once the hysterical laughter stops they will need to have a long serious discussion.

At least no one will interrupt them, or will they? ;)


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j15dxlo wrote

I was only eight when the world ended. When the plague swept its way across the world and humanity went out with nothing but a whimper. I was only eight when I saw my first dead body, my parents, laying like husks on the living room floor. They went quickly, and I have seen many more since. Since then, in the twenty years between, the only company I've managed to keep was in the many voices on the other sides of phonecalls.

I would dial a new number, a made up combination, and wait.

The voices on the phones never answered. The other line always just rang and rang as I waited until the voicemail answered and I felt almost satisfied. Sometimes, I'd get a call myself, and in the first few years after the event it would excite me, but it was always just spam. An array of robotic voices that could never hope to mimic a real human.

Carnival Cruise has an offer for you!, In the beginning I'd listen to the robotic voices pitch. Sometimes even talk with it in one sided conversation.

But one day when I called a voice on the other line answered, not a robot, but a real human. I was looking up New York area codes at the time in the yellow pages. Going through them in a pattern in numerical order as not to miss any. I was always sure to get them all.

In the twenty years since the plague I had not seen so much as a single glimpse of another person, so when that voice answered:

"Hello? Hello.... is that breathing? Oh my god it is! He-" I hung up, unsure of what to do. My breath's grew short and fast. I slumped back against the concrete wall of the parking garage and stared to the sun above. No way it had been real. A trick of the mind, I was too hot. Dehydrated surely. I reached for my jug and put it to my lips, gulping down water in effort to balance my brain again. But then my phone rang, the number on the screen the same I'd just called. A callback. I had only dreamed of such a thing.

With hesitancy I answered, and a woman's voice rattled off the moment I did. "Hello? You're real right?! A real person!" Her voice was upbeat, full of both energy and excitement. I was unsure I could match it.

"I uhm...yes. I am a human, yes."

"What?! I thought I was it! God it's been... it's been nineteen years since I've talked with anyone, anything that's real. I used to talk with Flora, but she passed, and then it was just me..."

I thought back to the books I'd read. Books like: "Warrens Conversational Tips" and "Social Interactions for Dummies".The many conversations I'd practiced with myself in the mirror as a kid in case the day ever came where I needed to talk again.

When confronted with the passing of a loved one, simply say: my condolences.

"My condolences." the two words came out awkward and clunky rather than comforting. "Where are you? Who are you?"

"Oh it's ok, she was just a ficus, but I loved her so. I'm still unsure of what got her. Rot root maybe, but you're real!"

I took a deep breath and asked again, this time realizing more of what the answer to her question would mean. "Where are you?"

A long silence that felt like an eternity followed. I just listened to her breathe as we sat, awaiting an answer that would surely determine if we both stayed lonely or not. New York, New York, New York. I prayed in my head.

"You're an American aren't you...I could tell by how you spoke. My father was an American man. He talked just like you. With that long draw and lengthy words."

This time my voice was more stern when I asked, no longer asking but commanding an answer. "Where are you!"

"New Zealand... I'm in New Zealand." she admitted. "I'm guessing you're not."

She was right. I was an entire world away, in Kansas. I tried to stay central in the hope that if someone answered, someday, I could go to them. I looked down to the cover of my phone book, ripped at the cover. New- not New York numbers, but it was New Zealand I'd been calling.

"I'll be there. Just give me a few weeks. I'll come."

"What, how? And why, we just met?"

"No we didn't. All we've done is just spoken on the phone. I have a book somewhere about planes, about boats too. I'll find a way,-"

"Evelyn" she finished my words. "I'm Evelyn. In Wellington, the small island. At the bottom. At least, in case you dont make it, will you promise to call again?"

"Again? I wasn't going to hang up." I thought back to the books, to the chapter titled Topics of Conversation: How to get started

"So Evelyn, how are you today?"


aDittyaDay t1_j15sal4 wrote

Oh, I loved this. The social anxiety is a nice and believable touch given the character's circumstances haha


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j16395p wrote

Thanks, I tried to make the character awkward without being unlikeable so if that came across then great!


Captain_Negativity t1_j15z7cv wrote

Wellington is at the bottom of the top island, is she sending him to the wrong island?!?


Bluepanda800 t1_j18lohy wrote

Plot twist she's luring fellow survivors to the wrong island for nefarious purposes


MechisX t1_j17b4tr wrote

To paraphrase: "I am never hanging up."

This in itself could be one of the most romantic or disturbing things ever said.


LateRain1970 t1_j17eqid wrote

I love that the world has come to an end and yet, like roaches, spam calls can't be killed.


Minotaur1501 t1_j17d4tc wrote

The wellington description doesn't make any sense. This is what happens when you mention New Zealand, we come out of the woodwork


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j17dnev wrote

I mean, yeah I figured. I just looked at a map and described it as a saw. Any better way you would say to describe it or tips?


goosegirl86 t1_j17x37e wrote

Our islands are literally called the North Island and the South Island 😂 they were descriptive but not so inventive back in 1840.

Wellington is at the south of the North Island. 😂

Also, was stoked to see my home city on one of these things 😂


SlideWhistler t1_j17nyxc wrote

If you don’t know something, you’ll get the correct answer faster by posting an obviously incorrect one than to ask what is correct.

Cole’s Law


goosegirl86 t1_j17x0mk wrote

I live in Wellington and I was like HEY!!! That’s US! I know Evelyn! What are the chances.


Company_Z t1_j15vtgl wrote

June 23rd 2044

The heat of the summer solstice had caused some of my plants to grow thirsty; some of their leaves having wilted under the intensity of the light through the day. It had been a bright blue sky without a single cloud to offer its respite to my delicate friends. I dipped my watering can into a rain barrel and filled it to the brim.

With the sun finally starting to set, I gave my green family a much needed drink.

"Here you are my poor solanum lycopersicums. You're certainly looking thirsty. And let's not forget you, ocimum basilicum..."

Going down my lines of growing green companions until the can was dry. Speaking to each of them in kind and making sure I give each of them some attention. Quite a few books have mentioned how much better plants grow when you speak to them. I always wondered if that worked on people too.

I filled my can again and began the process over on the next set and the next until all were properly attended to. With a sigh, I set my can back down. I turned to the next thing on the schedule.

Being blessed with such a clear day allowed my phone to charge all the way. I was looking forward to the rather social evening I had ahead of me.

Absentmindedly, I punched in some numbers and put my ear to the receiver. While the line buzzed I thought about who I would be and what I would say.

[Bzzzt...... Bzzzzt....]

"Hi, you reached Bob! I can't make it to the phone right now but leave your name and your phone number and I'll get right back to ya!"


"Hey Bob, it's Koa! Sorry I missed you. It's nothing urgent - I was just calling to say hey! Hope everything is going well"


I punched in another set. Maybe this time I'll be... Anthony.

[Bzzzt.... Bzzzzt....]

"Hi, it's Cindy!", definitely going to be the Anthony for this Cindy, "You know what to do!"


"Hey babe, it's Anthony. Just wanted to see what you were up to. Plants are growing mighty big. We'd love to see you and your pretty face tonight"


I made call after call watching the battery drain as quickly as the sun was setting.

[Bzzzt.... Bzzzt.....]

I could hear the sound of waves crashing, albeit the sound quality was horrible, "Congratulations fellow trav-"


Even in an empty world those robocalls were exhausting. I had no idea people did it when the world had actual people existing in them.

[Bzzzt.... Bzzzt.....]


The heat from the entire day evaporated.

"Hello~?", the voice on the other line repeated.

Quick, say something, "H-hello?! Yes! Hi hello!"

"OH my god, hello! What's up?"

Keep it going, "Please, don't be afraid, I'm a real person! My name is Leif!"

"Hah, no way!"

"Yes! My name is Leif and I'm in what remains of Dakota! Please, tell me where are you?" My hand was cramping from how hard I gripped the receiver.


"Hello? Are you the-"

"HAH! GOTCHA! Did I getcha good?"

My blood which originally ran icy cold now made me flush with feelings I didn't know were still there.

"Yoooo, but just leave a message and I'll hit ya back later! PEACE"


I let it hang there in silence. I hung up the phone now stone in my hands and felt the world become smaller than it ever has. The last bit of sun peeked over the horizon but it couldn't have been darker.

With lead in my feet, my legs dragged me to my bed. I fell into my blankets and became imprisoned inside plush solitary confinement.

I wept.


aDittyaDay t1_j1606ia wrote

Idk how you did it but man, I felt this. Just a human being human, a bit goofy from isolation, then that roller coaster of emotion when that tiny spark of hope ignited and was quenched so quickly. Poor human... Well done


Company_Z t1_j18kdqm wrote

I appreciate hearing that! I was worried it was gonna come off as a bit all over the place so this is a relief 😊


MaxamillionGrey t1_j18zz15 wrote

Just a big punch to the dick with that one. Your story was good. It was necessary.


Herr_Underdogg t1_j164o0a wrote

I was wondering how far I would have to scroll for the Sterling Archer elaborate voice-mail prank...


NotAMeatPopsicle t1_j17kjvg wrote

If I didn’t see this written I was going to take a short stab at it. This WP was just waiting for this prank.


Pangolindrome t1_j18baeg wrote

God damn it, Archer!

I should have known better considering my husband and I have been fans for over a decade. Instead, I lay here having had my feels seared like tuna steaks.


Company_Z t1_j18k943 wrote

Hah, I gotta be real, I had gotten done in by this kind of prank so much as a teenager I completely forgot that Archer did it too. Haven't watched it forever but this made me wanna go back and watch it again.

Thanks for reading!


killznhealz OP t1_j15wrpy wrote

Omg what an ending. I was hoping for something like this! Thank you!


Company_Z t1_j18knqe wrote

I'm relatively new to Reddit and been lurking this subreddit for a bit. Some posts seemed really interesting but I was too nervous to post anything before.

This one inspired me and I knew I had to write something. Thank you!


Sinnercin t1_j18bot3 wrote

You must be a writer! If you are not then please rethink your current profession! What a gift! Please continue! I love this and could read you all day!


Company_Z t1_j18l0o7 wrote

I used to do a lot of freelance work doing reviews on comics, video games, movies, etc; I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger; and outside of stuff for a couple of homebrew D&D campaigns I never really wrote any fiction. Now I just work with computers all day.

I really appreciate seeing this and it's deeply encouraging ❤️


Nevadajack87 t1_j16e68c wrote

It’s been 20 years. 20 years of loneliness and isolation. I’ve worn down the buttons on this phone to nubs. It’s a Nokia. They’re the best but even they have their limits. Each day I dial. Number after number, I take solace in the strange voices, the greetings and jokes, I’m particularly fond of the music.

I press the final button and hear the familiar ring, waiting for the final ring before I hear a new voice, a new name, when suddenly I hear a click.

“Hello?…Hello? Oh my god! Hello?”

I take a deep breath. This is it! It’s finally happened! Finally, a real human connection!

“Hello,” I say, “We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”


asyrian88 t1_j16t704 wrote

There it is. I was waiting for this one.


Nevadajack87 t1_j16vf0q wrote

As soon as I saw the prompt I knew what must be done


JustAWeirdo2000 t1_j15td1o wrote

Wishing to be immortal was the worst mistake I have ever made. If I could go back and change it, God knows I would. I remember when I rubbed that lamp, and the damn genie popped out like it was nothing.

"Hello, master," the genie said with a booming voice. "You get one wish. No wishing for love, death, or more wishes."

"Wait, what?" I asked dumbfounded. "I thought it was three?"

"Well, we changed it. What is your wish?"

I knew right then what I wanted. I was a stupid seventeen-year-old girl, and it was 1859. I wanted so badly to be able to live forever, why, I don't even know. I guess it was so I could check off everything on my bucket list or something. Thinking back, I could have just said "I wish to live until I've completed my entire bucket list." He granted my wish, then he and the lamp disappeared.

It's been 700 years since then. I've been alone 20 of those 700 years. I still remember the day it happened, it was so sudden. An earthquake. More specific, the most intense earthquake known to man, that affected the entire Earth. It was so strong, it wasn't even able to be charted. Not that it mattered. The eartquake snapped the planet clean in half, made thousands of sinkholes that engulfed buildings and families, caused massive tsunamies that took out the best of the areas, as well as huge volcano eruptions. The entire world was gone within 5 minutes. Except for me, because my wish was to live forever. Time is irrelevant, I'm starving but I'll never die. I'm exhausted but I'll never die. Thirsty like a mother effer, but I'll never die. Lonely. Lonely forever. I'm stuck in a never-ending loop of torture.

I still have my phone. Even after all these years on this singular piece of land that somehow managed to make it through the devastation, my phone is still at 100%. It never goes down. I use it to my advantage. I often find myself scrolling through my contacts to find people close to me, and I call them. They never answer, but they all have voicemails.

"Hi, this is Cindy. Sorry I can't make it to the phone right now, but I'll call you back when I get your message. Love ya! beeeeeep." Then I hang up.

"Hi, you've reached Bob. Busy right now, just leave a message. beeeeep." Hang up.

"Damn it, I'm busy, you know what to do at the beep. beeeeeep." Hang up.

Sometimes, I even leave messages. None are opened. Cindy, my ex-wife, the last one I ever had, is the most common person I call. She was my favorite wife, she was beautiful, kind, and the one that took my whole heart.

"Hi, love, it's Luna.. I, uh.. I miss you. I hate this, I hate myself. I never should have wished for immortality. I could be dancing around with you in Heaven if not for my stupid, stupid self." I cry every time I end my message. I shame myself for being stupid. She has 384 unread messages from me. I miss her.

I scrolled deeper into my contacts to see if I could find anyone else I happen to remember. Then I see her - my best friend, Julie. I had forgotten about her. I clicked her contact, saw she had her voicemail box set up, and pressed call. I set the phone against my ear, expecting her familiar voice to flutter through my ears telling me to call her back later, but it didn't.

"Hello?" a voice says shyly. "Hello? Oh, my God, hello!"

"Wha-?" I mutter. "W-Who is this?"

"What the- Luna, is that you?!"

"I- Uh, Julie?"

"Luna, what the hell are you still doing here?"

"The same as you, I guess!" I said excitedly. "Where are you? How the hell are you still alive?!"

"A stupid wish I made when I was 15!" she said." "What about you?!"

"Same! Immortality? God, where are you?!"

"Let me send you a picture!"

Not too long after, I hear my message tone. The first time a message came to me in 20 years. I opened it. The photo contained a small peice of land with a few palm trees, grass, and sand. Waves clashed the beach in the photo. It was a beautiful photo. I looked around. Palm trees. Grass. Sand. Were we on the same island?


NotAMeatPopsicle t1_j17kuka wrote

Me, reading: “What?… wait, no… oh fuck. Who’s gonna tell her?”


photoshopper42 t1_j15pi6g wrote

I couldn't believe it when I heard an actual person's actual voice. And not just some stupid recording but an actual voice talking back to me. Actually responding to the words I just said? At first I was skeptical, I thought it might be one of those annoying voicemail messages where they pretend like they actually picked up and then it turns out to be a prank and they did not pick up at all. But I tested it by farting into the phone, and she actually responded and asked me if I just farted into the phone. I lied because I was embarrassed and told her I shit my pants to throw her off the trail. This was the first human I've talked to in decades, I wasn't going to fuck this up.

She asked me where I was, and i told her I was in Idaho. She said she was in Florida. We started to make plans to meet each other. At first she wanted me to come to Florida, but I told her there was no way in hell that I would ever go to Florida, even if it was before the apocalypse. We agreed that we should meet in the middle, which was Kansas. Not much better than Florida, but all things considered I figured it was fine.

I started packing up my things. I always end up forgetting one thing when I travel, so I was trying to be extras careful. Towel, underwear, toothbrush, phone charger... Ugh, this is why I hate traveling.

Finally I set off on my adventure. I put on my backpack and started walking. I hoped on the way I would be able to find a running car, otherwise this was going to take a while one foot. Especially a bad knee. I was also worried about all the demon spirits that were flying around ever since the end of the world, but I figured why would a demon spirit want to go to Kansas? I was probably safe.

On our journey, every day we would chat on the phone at night. I started feeling smitten towards her. Despite the fact that she was from Florida she did have some good qualities about her. The main one was that she was alive. All the girls I've talked to in the last twenty years have been dead, so she is doing amazing on that front.

After a couple months I finally arrived in Kansas City. I relax, happy to know I finally can stop walking. I find an empty house that I can live in for the time being. It is not the biggest house on the block, but moving has become incredibly easy even since everybody died so I am not worried about it. I can upgrade whenever I want. I wait for her for a couple weeks, but she is slower than me. She asks me if I could keep walking towards her so that we can meet in the middle.

I tell her we had an agreement and she should stick to it.

She tells me she understands but we could meet sooner if I just put in a little more effort

I tell her that the division of labor was equal, we chose a spot that we equidistant from both of us, so I should not have to feel bad about finishing the task sooner than her.

She says she knows it was equidistant, she is just asking if I can be flexible.

I pack up my bags and move back to Idaho.


aDittyaDay t1_j15ttw4 wrote

I thought the twist would be he was gonna end up in the wrong Kansas City but I love this ending so much more, hahahaha, pettiness exists even in the apocalypse


oddly_being t1_j1675jb wrote

“Good GOD! Cassidy?” I cry, clutching the phone to my face for dear life. How have I not known for all this time, that Cassidy Reeve, a contact I only had saved in my phone from one group project in undergrad, was alive, and out there all along.

“Hello?” The voice answers back, seeking likewise surprised.

“This — this is D-Daniel!“ I sputter, feeing the world tilt around me. At last. A lifeline.

The connection sounds weak. “Who is this?” She says, and I clutch the phone even tighter.

“Daniel H,” I say, slowing down and enunciating every syllable. “From Biology class in college— are you— is this really you?”

Then my world stops spinning as relief washes over me. Her reply is full of recognition. “Oh! It’s great to hear from you!”

I can’t waste any time. This is my chance. If there’s a voice on the other end of this line, then that means… there’s hope.

“Cassidy, listen. I’m somewhere in the Canadian Volcano Pits,” I say, looking around me. All lava and smoke as far as the eye can see. “Where are you? How did you survive? Are there others?”

“I’m doing well!” She says with the slightest hint of a laugh.

“You’re alive? And well?”

I’m baffled. The word was a wasteland, how has she managed to survive this long and in such good spirits.

“How about you?” She asks me.

“I’m in hell. Listen,” I say, “if you and I are alive, then maybe there’s others. If you know where you are—“

“Aw that’s great!” She says sweetly.

I pause. Great? The volcano pits are GREAT to her? I hold my breath, unsure how to respond.

But before I can speak, she cuts in, saying, “Oh wow!”

I look from my phone straight out ahead of me. I purse my lips, and wait a moment more. Sure enough, she speaks again.

“No way, dude!”

I bring my hand to my temple to stem the sudden headache. “Cassidy if this is a fucking voicemail—“

She cuts me off with a gleeful, “ANYWAYS, I gotcha! Leave a message after the beep!”

Then it beeps.

I sigh. The world crumbles around me once more, hollowing out into the great, wide, oppressively empty chasm it was just moments before. My utter solitude slams back into me like a knife. I’m going to die out here. Alone in the wasteland, unknown, unloved, unmourned.

“Fuck you, Cass,” I say into the phone, before throwing it into the nearest volcano pit.

That Cassidy always was one for practical jokes.


100_kg_90_de_belin t1_j15emnf wrote

"It's been so long! God, I'm so nervous... I've been practicing so long what I was going to say when..."

"Identify yourself! Please provide..."

"No, man! You're the first living being I've met in 20 years! Who are you? Could you do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?"

"Please provide proof of identification or stay put. Further noncompliance will result in direct action!"

"Man, I mean... it's me, John. I've been manning the Western fort since Psycho Plague made people pay to be put out of their mysery"

"Neutralization begins in 5, 4, 3...."

"Man, I haven't heard a laughter since the Conglomerates' Wars..."

The microwave blast left a poorly charred body on the ground.

Recycling units would retrieve it and turn it into nourishment for the Western Block.


Mythica_0 t1_j16o2fq wrote

I had just realized what today was.

My twenty year anniversary.

Oh, don’t worry, it’s not a wedding anniversary or anything, no one’s gonna be mad.

Oh no, today was the 20th anniversary of me being the last human on earth… or so I thought.

My day to day life was pretty boring, water my potatoes, make sure my car was running, check my food stick to make sure I didn’t have to go out and find a cow or something, the works.

But, once a day or every other day, I treated myself to listening to voicemails. Making idle conversation . “Hello. This is James. Unfortunately I can not make it to the phone right now-“ “Classic James. “ I say with a laugh, that has no real humor behind it. “If you would like to leave a message, please do so after the beep! beep “ the voicemail ended, like it always does.

I kept going.

“If your looking for Hailey you’ve reached the correct device, however I have not reached you-“

“Yeah, this is Whinston , if y’need something leave a message.” -that one was less friendly then the others .

The next one rang, like it always does, and then a voice, “hello-?”

Wait a second. That didn’t sound like a robot, it also sounded like a question.

“H-hello? Is anyone there?” I panicked, reaching for the phone that had been sitting in the counter, charging somehow with the tangle of wires I had put together. “Oh my god! Hello! Yeah! Someone is here! “

“No way! I’m dreaming! This can’t be real!” Came the voice on the other end:

“No, no. I’m as real as the Apocalypse! I though I was the last one on earth!”

The excitement was tangible, we had to meet each-other! Maybe find other survivors? If we were both alive it’s possible other people were too!

“Me too! Oh my gosh, what’s your name?!”

“Oh, I’m Wayne. What about you!”

“I’m Tyler!”

“Woah! Where are you located! “

“I’m in South Dakota, you?!”

“No way. “

“What?! What is it?” A little bit of suspense, but the good kind, because a few seconds later I blurted out “I’m in North Dakota!”

“Oh! Let’s meet! “

“Definitely! “

We met at the borders between states, staying on call the whole time.

When we finally saw each-other, we immediately hugged.

“Hey, man. Isn’t it crazy that all this happened on the Twentieth year anniversary ? “

Huh. He had a point.

“Yeah. I guess it is someone else’s anniversary too after all.”


LateRain1970 t1_j17fjbf wrote

The idea of potatoes being my main source of sustenance is wholly depressing.

Glad he found someone so close!


Mythica_0 t1_j18d3b5 wrote

I chose potatoes because I saw something explaining how they would be the easiest plant to grow in the event of an Apocalypse,


Okami_dono006 t1_j19rzid wrote

Hahaha Ask Mark Watney how! He has this tutorial on growing potatoes in extreme environments, it's kinda long but very informative, it's called The Martian. XP


sarsina t1_j15b571 wrote

Hi how can I help you? I said jokingly. It was Amelia, her name. She said she has been living with a cat, and by the sound of my voice, she's certain that we can be best friends. She still doesn't laugh at my jokes. We have been sharing since than a condo, with two balconies, where we also sleep, since is hot, and the bugs are gone. She says its cz of the climate change, but I heard otherwise. That is a long subject, when we go in that. She tells me about her cat, which sadly its in her imagination,but who am I to judge and I tell her, how I miss Tandy, the main character of my favorite show. And about the show. For everything, I see at least some birds sometimes, that's quite exiting ,and that is an activity which Amelia enjoys too.


Flailing_snailing t1_j16m5l7 wrote

I just finished engineering school on the east coast and my family and friends families all wanted to come together and celebrate our graduations when we came home. Everyone chipped in for booze and pizza and for a solid hour everything was nice and calm until people started to get their drink on.

Liquid courage caused two divorces, multiple counts of felony property damage, a drunk car crash with both vehicles ending up vertical in a Gazebo, Arson, and one family being banned from Dave and Busters for life. Funnily enough most of the damage was caused by the parents except for the Dave and Busters thing, that was my fault. The very next day while I was recovering from my hangover my apparently sober dad took me out into the mountains “Just in case” he said.

My dad was a doomsday prepper, made sure all of the equipment was up to date and the shelter was stocked full of water and food. He taught me how to survive by myself from a young age and taught me to hunt and all that. I never would have thought I would ever use these skills. We laid low in the mountains for a few days enjoying the crisp air when my dad went out to a nearby town for some supplies.

I wandered around the shelter aimlessly for a while. Because my dad installed shock absorbers to the shelter if it wasn’t for the bang I wouldn’t even know bombs were being dropped. By the time I managed to look outside everything was burning and massive craters lined what little of the horizon I could see. My dads drilling kicked in and I shut the shelters doors. Twenty years later they’ve never been opened.

I’ve been breathing the same recycled air for the past twenty years, drinking the same recycled water, eating recycled food.For the first month I used the satellite phone to see if anyone was still alive but it quickly became a way to still hear my families voices again. You never really think about how if someone has been gone for long enough you forget what they sound like until you accidentally ring a friends voicemail that you forgot the number for.

Life for a while really sucked, especially when you ring someone and their voice mail is “Hello, Hello. This is Kate, how are you?” And it really brings you how that there’s someone out there and that you’re talking to a real life person until the automatic operator takes over. Those were the most devastating times of my life

For twenty years it was the same routine over and over again and ended up creating a small phone book of the numbers I managed to call up. I would write stories about how they would look and what their average day would be like. I kept the bad thoughts away and passed the time which is really all I could ask for.

As my day was winding down and I made my last call for the night I heard a ringtone that I had never heard before. After a moment of shock and sprinted over to the phone like my life depended on it but the call was dropped. “I need better signal, I need better signal” I looked towards the sealed door. The moment I unseal it there’s no going back, there’s no way of knowing what’s outside waiting for me, for all I know I’m just floating through space but this life isn’t worth living. If I don’t try now I may never get another chance, and if I die, then at least for the first time in two decades, I lived.

I walked over to the controls, only used once. I input the override code and placed my hand on the switch. I closed my eyes and whispered “This is it” and pulled the switch. The seals opened and the door slowly pulled itself up. Instantly the smell of fresh real air almost overpowered me, the sight of real green vegetation, and real sunlight almost blinded me. I had lived everyday in a concrete box with a single led light separating me from darkness and here everything was , waiting for me just like it was twenty years ago.

I stepped outside and the dew covered grass hugged my calloused feet and I will without shame in my heart admit I dropped down to the ground like a dog and rolled around in it crying. I had to steel myself, I raced up the mountain calling the number back over and over as I climbed higher and higher. As I hit the top of the mountain where the satellite antenna stuck out I got a clear enough signal. After a few seconds the other phone picked up and in a act desperation said “Hello?”.


UniverseCatYT t1_j172vm9 wrote

20 years. I've been the only living soul on this floating rock for 20 years. 20 years ago, I had a wife. I had kids. Sure, I wasn't the smartest person in the world, but I was doing just fine. Now I am the smartest person in the world, but it's hardly a competition.

My previous life wasn't filled with grandeur by any means. I had a boring desk job at a dying company working under an idiotic CEO, but after my recent life experience, I'd give anything to go back.

Being the only person alive gets incredibly boring after a while. I don't know how I've made it this long, to be entirely honest. I get by on all the food I can find, but I try to ration myself in case this whole thing lasts for longer than I'd like.

Why me? That's the only thought that has been running through my head for these last 20 years. Surely there must be a reason, right? I must have been chosen for some specific reason. Or was I just the only person deemed not worthy of freezing in place? How does that even happen? I go to sleep one night a little earlier than usual and when I wake up, the entire human population is just...frozen.

Finding my wife frozen in the middle of brushing her teeth was unbearable. I didn't know what was going on, or why. I called my best friend, but I was just sent straight to his voice mail. "Hi, you reached Bob! Go ahead and leave a message after the beep!"

That's when I got the idea to start calling people and have their voicemails keep me company. Most days it's my wife. "Hi, this is Cindy! I'm not able to answer your call right now, but please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!" Just hearing her voice makes my stomach twist in ways I previously didn't think possible. I really miss her.

Eventually, I started calling every single possible number in existence. The first time I heard someone respond to my call was 10 years ago. I dialed up the number and heard a voice on the other line. "Hello?"

I jumped up from my chair. "Hello? Hello?? Is someone there? Can you hear me-"

"I'm just kidding! This is my voicemail, silly! You know what to do at the beep!"

The second time was five minutes ago.

I put in a random number, like I always do. I hit call and listened to the ring. A voice came through the phone. "Hello?"

Oh great. Another one of these. My finger moved to hang up.

"Hello?" The voicemail said again. I was hovering above the red button. "Oh my God hello?!"


I stared at my phone. The voicemail cried out again. "Hello? Is someone there? Please please please let there be someone there!" This wasn't a voicemail at all. This was a person. A real, actual person!

"Hello?" I said into my phone.

"Oh my God!!" The voice on the other side sounded excited to hear another person after so long. So was I.

"Who is this?" I asked.

"This is incredible!" The other person responded, ignoring my question. They had some kind of European accent and also sounded feminine and around the same age as me. Not that that's easily guessable by voice, but what else can I go off of right now?

"Who is this?" I repeated, more assertive this time.

"Oh of course! Where are my manners? My name is Rachel Brown. Wow. Haven't said that to anyone in a long time. May I ask who this is?"

I didn't respond. I didn't trust what I was hearing right now. 20 years with no one to talk to and now all of a sudden someone's just here? It seems too good to be true.

"Hello? Have you hung up? Please tell me you're still there!"

This time I did respond. Suspicious or not, this was a chance to at least talk to someone real. "Hi. Sorry. I was just taken aback a bit by the fact that I'm talking to an actual person. My name is Zeke Allen."

"I can't believe this is real right now!" Rachel squealed over the phone.

"Yeah, me neither." I responded with a more cautious tone.

Rachel then asked me about my life experiences and what I've been doing during The Freeze as she called it. Despite my skepticism of this whole situation, I told her my entire life story. After I was done, I asked her about herself and she talked for hours. She talked about being an only child with divorced parents and about her struggle with addiction in her teenage years. She then explained how she was only 25 when the world froze around her and how she hadn't had time to settle down the way I had. Apparently in her 20 years of this hellscape, she had been exploring the world, visiting all the places she never could all over the Eurasian continent. Between the two people left on Earth, only one of us has visited North Korea. Listening to her talk about all the incredible sights she'd seen made me realize that I never really moved around all that much other than to get more food when I had drained the nearby area. I mean the entire world has been frozen in time for 20 years and I never even thought to go to Canada or even the beach!

"...and then I got this phone call and now I've been talking to you for the last 5 hours. Man, it feels wonderful to be able to say all of this to someone."

"I know what you mean." I nodded in agreement, even though she couldn't see that.

I heard a snap from the other end of the call. "I have a wonderful idea!" Rachel exclaimed. "What if we meet up? That way we can at least have someone in this barren world."

I was still unsure about the whole situation, but I have to admit that seeing another person not frozen in place did sound like a wonderful idea. "That sounds great. One huge problem though. We live on separate continents and neither of us are pilots or sailors."

"How is that a problem?" Rachel asked with genuine confusion in her voice.

"Uhhh...I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there's this giant thing called the ocean separating the two of us."

"Zeke. Everything is frozen in place. The ocean is included in that. You can literally walk on water."

Of course! Why didn't I think of that?

I agreed to walk across the ocean and meet Rachel in Portugal since I was currently in Virginia and Rachel was currently in eastern Kazakhstan. It was just about halfway for both of us. We agreed on meeting up the Sea You Surf Café and then we hung up and both started our treks. I got in my car and started driving.

I reached the coast in about an hour. I drove my car along the road and then took it onto the beach. Rachel was right. The ocean was entirely frozen in place. I don't know why that surprised me so much, but for some reason it did. It made me think that maybe...

Slowly, I inched my car closer to the ocean until I was right at the edge. With a deep breath, I started moving forward. My car reached the ocean and cut right through the water without creating so much as a ripple. No luck. Sighing, I got out of my car and grabbed a backpack of supplies out of the trunk.

Hoisting the bag onto my back, I took a deep breath and stood at the line between water and sand. The world must have frozen during low tide considering how far I was from the boardwalk. Before blindly trusting the water, I decided to take a test step. Carefully, I lowered my foot onto the surface of the salty blue. To my absolute surprise, the water held my weight. I was doing it. I was walking on water. I begun to run around like an absolute fool, but it didn't matter to me what I looked like. No one could see me anyway.

Then I calmed down and stopped running. With the biggest smile on my face, an upbeat attitude for the first time in a long time, and that undeniable feeling that something just didn't feel right, I turned to get one last good look at the only land I'd see for the next few days.

Then I faced the ocean. I thought of everything I was leaving behind here. Cindy. My kids. Everything I had ever known. But then a new thought came to my head. A potential future with the only other person left unfrozen on the planet. And maybe some day time will unfreeze itself again or maybe Rachel and I will be able to find a way to do so. Either way, I knew I was ready to start trying something.

With one final deep breath, I started walking.


GaleWardWrites t1_j1738yu wrote

I couldn’t tell you why I had decided to dial that number. He had been dead long before the world ended after all. The number had been lost before the first signs of things to come were known to only the few scientists that could stop it. His ashes had been long tossed into the winds, his memory caked in them for most even before patient zero was found. It would have been foolishness to even hope to hear a voicemail greeting that had been long lost to time.

Why I was even calling people’s voicemail was a bit beyond me. There had to have been better ways to keep myself sane. Mostly sane, at least. Sane enough to make sure the final days of humanity were not wasted in my pathetic crying. That no one would ever see what a ruined mess of a person when I watched my mother pass from this world. Her eyes, blood red. Overflowing, unseeing, the second to last symptom of the thing that removed us all from the world. Death being the last one, a painful horrible death.

I wish I had been strong enough then to do for her what I wish I was even stronger now to do for myself.

Such thoughts were dangerous, and so like usual they were bottled up. Stuffed down and away, covered with the same dirt that I covered my sisters and my mother. That I coated in my own blood in a moment of despair, wanting to not be alone any longer. Needing to not be the only one left. But fearing, and knowing that I was. Something told me that would be the case, that I could look and search as far and as wide as I wanted. But I? I was the last person left.

Was it a curse? Had I do something to deserve this fate? Sure, there were times when I did others harm, and I would be the first (and only, my brain told me unwillingly) to admit it. Not letting someone merge because they were a bit of a jerk. Frowning at an unkept man panhandling. And worse things, leaving my first boyfriend because I grew bored of him. A pet rabbit that died in my care as a child, careless that they could be frightened to death. But surely I must have done something even worse than cause Mister Snuggleupagus to go to the great carrot patch in the sky.

It didn’t matter, however. Nothing mattered when these thoughts came to me. When I felt the scars on my wrist burning, demanding I finish the job I started. How the tears that streaked down my face almost felt like they were carving canyons in my flesh because how they never ended.

And yet here I was still trying to find something. That’s why I was calling phones still. The reason that I had spent three years, after the day I came back from the dead and was reborn, studying. Well, near death, close enough that I wouldn’t have made it if not for a chance occurrence that kept me from bleeding out. Still not entirely alive, but close enough to have that drive.

I studied everything I could. People always said I was smart, but I proved it finally to the no one around me in those years. The basics of every form of technology I could find books about. Deeper understanding, learning not only how to survive but also how to keep a small part of the world from falling completely into chaos. If I had been more ambitious, I might have even considered going further than that, doing more than gloss over the basics of nuclear thermodynamics, rocketry, and the like.

No, such things weren’t beyond me, but I had no need for them. I wouldn’t find anyone alive in the space stations in orbit. There wouldn’t be anything for me on Luna’s surface. I deserved to live on this grave of a world, watching nature take back what we stole from it.

This was my home, and I had a mission of my own.

It took me almost two more years after that, five years since the start, when I was able to place the first call. Phones had stopped working in days after the first day, but now that was no longer the case. Even if the only person that could use it was me. But use it I did, testing between two handsets that were wired together. And then only wired to power, and after a bit entirely wireless and powered by the results of the fusion candle burning in the sky. The towers that connected the phone was more difficult to power, but scale fixed such issues and more solar collectors to power more turbines to charge more very crude lead acid batteries worked.

Well enough for my needs at least.

It was a surprise and a stroke of luck that I was able to find the facilities that handled the two biggest mobile providers so close. Only a few hundred kilometers away, not an ocean between us. An entire year was spent bridging that gap, setting up small camps with signal repeaters and amplifiers. Why didn’t I just move to the city where it was housed, I hear no one asking me? I couldn’t say. It was likely the madness that had taken me.

All of this though, and for what? So I could dial our emergency services number and hear it come back as busy? The first time I dialed an outside number and it just rang and rang and rang nearly broke me. It was almost too much, too obvious that no one would ever answer. Too painful. It set me back two weeks, first how I tore apart all of the equipment I had at hand, second that I needed to stitch most of my fingers up, but third and worst how it threw me into a darkness I had thought escaped years ago.

But I was no longer the same person as I was back on that first day, the last day of humanity. I was still weak, still a fool, but I was a fool with a mission. Perhaps the most dangerous of fool are those who have a task at hand, because I came back to it with a fervent passion. And the solution was fairly obvious in the afterglow of the corpse of hindsight burning away in my mind.


If nothing else, I would hear another voice. Sure, I’d know it wasn’t actually a person. That was something that I could shove to the back of my brain with all of the rest of the debris piled up there. A suspension of disbelief that wouldn’t be all that hard to muster given the alternative was eternal singularity. I’d accept it until I figured out an alternative.

That lead me to this moment, however. I had been making call after call, day after day, sometimes to people I used to know but other times to numbers I recalled. Even random numbers, which took me a bit of work to make sure would go somewhere, but somewhere they did go. I never listened to the messages I left. I barely even remembered them after hanging up the phone, just feeling well-worn pain from my throat aching and the tears staining the side of my head. It broke up the mundaneness of surviving.

Twenty. Long. Years.

The atomic clocks that were surprisingly easy to maintain made sure that I knew that number. That it had been twenty years to the day since those last moments of humanity became the moment of just one person. The last of all who had come before. Sitting there, unable to speak. Hearing a voice on the other end. Not a recording, but a voice.

A screaming voice, a begging voice.

The words replay in my head, only a few seconds have gone by.

“Hello...hello? Oh my God hello!”

I couldn’t speak. Not after hearing that voice. A voice that I hadn’t heard for over twenty-five years. That I knew I’d never hear again, no voicemail ever to be found.

Why did I call this number? I knew it’d ring to the fallback system. I’d get a robotic voice telling me that the number was no longer in service.

I found my voice.

I spoke.



GaleWardWrites t1_j177il2 wrote

Ending one:

It had been over forty years now since that first day. Twenty years or so since I lost it. Since I thought I heard my dead father speaking to me. I really don’t know what came over me. He was dead. Well, everyone was dead now, so maybe it wasn’t entirely as crazy as I thought?

That had been the turning point for me, though. All of those subjects that I never thought to study became mine, and I ground even more under the climb for the top. It had taken just under ten years by the time I had reached the first space station.

It was worse than I could have expected.

I had forgotten how horrible a corpse could smell, and especially a corpse in such a small isolated place. It nearly made me decide to give it all up, but only for a moment. And then I put my helmet back on, and cleaned it up. I harvested every scrap of anything I could find, and collected the remains that I could. And then I vented the leftover atmosphere a few times through before the smell was bearable.

It took me a few years more to bring all three space stations together. If I had others to help me, I could have done it quicker. Launches were difficult by yourself, and the amount I had to automate was beyond any level of acceptable safety in the times before all of this.

But I had a mission.

Over forty years later, and my bones hurt more and more every time I liftoff. But this would be the last one. The eighty-fourth liftoff, and the last time I would be on this graveworld.

It took me three years to crack faster than light travel. I still don’t even know exactly how I did it, or really how it worked. All I knew, though, is that every simulation I ran showed it worked. Better than just working, it violated the exact law of physics that I needed to violate. It was a causality violation of the first order.

Space and time are directly linked, you see. And there are strict limits to the speed you can go. Try to go faster, and it takes more energy and you experience time moving slower. And nothing with mass could go at the speed of causality, the ‘speed of light’.

I still really had no idea how I stumbled upon it. Perhaps it was a dream. Or a nightmare. But I woke up and spent three and a half days without stopping my typing, without taking a break from welding and soldering, without doing anything except crystalizing the madness that I found in my mind. And after a well deserved eighteen hour period of blissful unconsciousness, I awoke to see that I had invented a space-time machine.

Go faster than causality, and you outstrip it. Go fast enough, and you can return to a time where the past still was the present. Sort of, at least.

It was close enough for me.

Close enough.


If I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t be able to make too many more trips up before the cancer tore me apart, I’d have tested it. I should have spent the time to figure out how to make the radiation a non-issue, but I didn’t. I couldn’t stop.

After getting far enough away from the Earth’s gravity well, Luna well on the other side and Sol hidden behind both, I engaged the drive.

Nothing happened, of course.

Faster than light travel was just a fever dream. How would I be able to do something so impossible? It was already beyond the pale of believability that I was even up in space at all.

As I strongly considered just opening the airlock and ending it all, I gave the button another press. This time no longer a calm and collected press, but an emotional plea. Not for it to work, but for it to do something. Anything.

And it did do something. Anything. Everything.

I just wish it hadn’t. That every particle of my being didn’t suddenly feel like it no longer was in the same place but in all of the places.

Mass was not meant to go faster than causality.

There was so much wrong with it all, and yet it still worked.

Not exactly as expected, not sending the barely-a-ship forward through space, but backwards through time.

It should have ended with me disappearing into the void forever, the movement of the solar system, the galaxy, the galactic supercluster, even hubble expansion should have made this entirely impossible.

If I had more time to spend on it, I might have found out that the device would stay bound to a large enough gravitation field. That if I had ended up rotating the device ninety degrees it would have moved me forward in space. And it would never have occurred to me what the other direction would do, something that I wish I was still able to even think about now as I found myself crashing back down to the planet I thought I had left for good.

Into the middle of roughly nowhere, rural farmland as far as the eye can see.

It was astounding that my body survived all of that, and that I was still both alive and conscious when I heard someone hammering on the side of the ship.

But the shock of who I saw is what killed me. Like Mister Snuggleupagus, I died of fright. How fitting.

My last vision was filled with Barney Simons, someone entirely unknown to the world until he was the first.

“Hey, are you okay? Hey?”

The last voice I heard, over forty years since that day.

Patient zero.


GaleWardWrites t1_j17d8sy wrote

Ending two:

The silence after I screamed myself bloody, when I couldn’t hear the voice again, was the most painful silence of the past twenty years. I had imagined it, surely. There was no way I heard my father’s voice, and yet I had. I still did in my memories at least. The strongest memory of a human voice besides my own that I could remember in the past twenty years.

I had a mission now. Something that I needed to do.

My first thought was fairly crazy. To find a way to go back and fix everything. No, such a thing couldn’t do, and would be insanity. But I could at least do something to hear another human voice, a real voice.

The years flew by like no time at all. It was almost like I had done this all before in a way, and what felt like it should take twenty years took only fifteen.

Somehow, I even was prepared for the harvesting of materials from the space stations, and the horrors it would bring.

My body hurt less than I expected on the ninety-eight launch. It seemed like more launches than were needed, and yet I knew that any less would not work.

Not for what I needed to do at least, not for my goal.

The ship I was in wasn’t designed to return to the planet. No, it was meant to never return to a gravity well again.

Almost like a dream, I woke up one day and I knew that I could bypass causality. But more useful to me was my ultimate goal.

I knew I couldn’t fix things, but I could at least not die with the last voice I hear being all in my head.

I’d have rather died hearing the speech of a politician, the random concern of a farmer, or even the angry shout of someone cutting me off in traffic.

My finger depressed the button, and everything changed. I had nearly left the device rotated incorrectly, but ninety degrees made all the difference between time and space.

I was gone, moved through space at a speed beyond understanding. If the ship had been designed with windows I would have already died because nothing transparent to visible light would survive the forces. And there was nothing to see, because when causality was broken light stopped working properly.

The ultracapacitors only lasted for a few milliseconds, but it was enough. The ship stopped, almost ninety light years away from Earth, around the start HD70642.

And with the power left in the communication system, designed for one more task after this one, I spoke as the high gain antenna focused back towards my homeworld:

“This is the last message of the last person to live through the end of humanity. There will be a crash in a rural farm at the coordinates I will broadcast at the time I will broadcast. The crash will contain a sickness that will destroy humanity. You need to stop this, or everyone will die.”

I knew it was pointless. No one would believe me. Even I didn’t know why I knew those coordinates, that time, and that it would be my own body laying there. Carrying the sickness that destroyed humanity. Nothing I could do would change this, but I had to try.

And then I listened. It was difficult, but I could just barely make out the transmissions that were still escaping into space, sounds that were recorded but with some tuning I found voices that were just recorded, that were as live as I could expect.

I listened, and closed my eyes hearing nothing else every again.


GaleWardWrites t1_j17k211 wrote

Ending zero (actually three, just to make sure this doesn’t confuse anyone unnecessarily, also the true ending):

Nothing made sense. I had just heard my father speaking, but this wasn’t the first time. And it didn’t feel like it would be the last time. No matter what I said he didn’t answer back. He was dead. He died well before the madness of twenty years ago. And yet I heard him. This couldn’t be happening, so obviously it didn’t. I hadn’t spent the last twenty years going slowly insane to just snap right in the last moment, yet here I was.

Obviously, I was crazy.

But didn’t crazy people not know they were crazy? Wasn’t that one of the requirements? You couldn’t be crazy if you knew you were crazy? I could have swore I remembered that being the case, something about it being a catch. It didn’t matter, though, because I didn’t spend the last twenty years learning just to go crazy so easily.

If insanity wanted me, it was going to have to fight for me.

And fought it did, and so did I. Twelve years of my life wasted in studying the topics I shunned previously. It didn’t come as a surprise to me when I figured out a way to fuse elemental hydrogen at room temperature and sea-level pressure. I was crazy, so obviously I’d think I could do the impossible. Watching the pure glow of a nuclear candle burning through the sky itself, I knew this had to be a delusion.

It didn’t matter though, because it was better than the converse. I’d rather fall fully into this madness than pretend that I was figuring out a way to move space and time than to come to terms with my own inability to change world. At least this way I wouldn’t feel so useless, the same way I felt as I watched my family die.

Sometimes I was grateful that I wasn’t a romantic person, and that I never went beyond a few short relationships. No children of my own to watch die, no more blood on my hands. Or at least, I thought I didn’t have a lover and children, but maybe I did? My memory was already suspect because I could remember every aspect of each of the four space stations I visited. Or was it three? No, four, it was four. I spent more time finding that fourth station, well over a decade more, nearly fifty years since the start of this all. It had to be four.

It didn’t matter at that point.

Nothing mattered.

Everything mattered.

The device I built would have barely worked without the power source, and I’d have never been able to orient it correctly without knowing that both other directions were wrong. I don’t know how I knew they were wrong, but I knew that they were just wrong.

I knew that I had already lost touch with reality, but still something pulled at me. Dragged at me. If only I could just stop for a moment and think, but the moment I tried I was overwhelmed with thoughts that were not my own. No, they were my own, but not me. Countless thoughts, and yet only a few. A dozen, yet trillions.

It didn’t even register to me when I pressed the switch. The sensation was unlike anything I could ever imagine as felt myself changed. Nothing changed outside the small ports of an exotic matter made of some strange array of barely stable quarks that allowed light through but no other force. If I didn’t have an array of graviton emitters, I’d have been thrown around the small cabin. None of this was real anyway, so having some truly absurd technology at least made this a bearable fantasy.

And then my phone rang. But I didn’t have my phone with me. And it all came crashing back to me in that moment.

I answered it, knowing what I had to say, what the timeline demanded of me. Completion.

I hated myself for speaking, but I knew I didn’t have a choice. Acceptance.

None of us have a choice, we’re all players on the stage and not the author. Finality.

“Hello...hello? Oh my God hello!”


Mari-Reddit t1_j1g6zu1 wrote

This is actually a masterpiece. If not, definitely exceeding what a reddit WP is. The way all the endings are connected and those 90 degrees make the difference of being the cause of the plague, trying to prevent the plague, and being the cause of the person ending up doing both. So he was the "father" all along, and at the same time the reason to cause and try to prevent the plague? I absolutely love this. Nice to see such a well written story


Dreamer_Rowan t1_j17a8u3 wrote

This marks the 35 year anniversary of Them taking over. Of the destruction of the world I loved. Of almost every living thing that wasn’t plant life disappearing from the world. At this point, I don’t have much to do except try to survive and hope They don’t decide our satellites are useless, as they are being kept up for now. In my free time, I read, watch movies and old videos (although those are running short-I am getting dangerously close to only seeing conspiracies in my feeds) and I call. I pick random numbers, type them into my phone, and hope for a nice voicemail to talk to. It’s better than all the voices living in my head, anyway.

Sometimes I get the annoying default ones (bla bla bla, leave a message after the beep), or the mean prank ones, but I also occasionally get nicer ones. The ones where they say they love you, or seem to be happy to see you. But they are normally OK.

I punch in a random number, and get a pizza place in New Jersey. I wish they still existed… I try again, not really expecting much of this one either. But then… “Hello? Hello? Are you real? A REAL PERSON??? Or just another bot?” I gasp, surprised that someone actually answered. No one was left… right??? “Hi!!!” I say. “My name is Rowan, and I thought I was the last person on earth!!! Are you real?” “OH. MY. GOSH.” She says on the line. “I am!!!” “I probably won’t hear you for a couple of seconds, because I am going to set my phone on speaker so I can put it down.” “OK!” She responds.

I go to put the phone on speaker, but then I see the screen. There is no call. There were only the voices in my head. But now, they’re answering back. I probably won’t be alone for much longer though, as I hear something in the distance. It’s Them. They have found me.


Dreamer_Rowan t1_j17arxc wrote

This is like the second time I have ever answered a writing prompt, so criticism is totally welcome! Please don’t read it as if I am at all experienced though.


LateRain1970 t1_j17gxmr wrote

I don't have much to say except that I definitely would not have known that you hadn't done this before?

What I particularly like is that it ends with us not being entirely certain that They/Them are actually real, either.


Dreamer_Rowan t1_j17h8q8 wrote

Thank you for the compliment! I do a lot of role play gaming stuff with my little sister, so maybe it rubbed off on my writing? And I am glad you liked the ending! I wasn’t completely sure about it, so I am glad it worked!


virtual-vulture t1_j1allzj wrote

I plodded past the crop rows, watering them generously but tenderly. Cindy, that reminded me of an old aunt. Yes, what a caring woman she had been, always so nice to me. This Cindy I’d met on the phone, she would be just like her, I decided.

I wonder if she might let me in for a cup of tea now, bring me out some biscuits and offer a conversation. Ask about school, about what I do for money now. I imagine she’d be too polite to let me leave, she would just let me stay as long and as long as I wanted. And all her biscuits and tea would taste so delicious, just like my aunty used to make them.

This field was all done now, and I had already finished in the greenhouse. I’d cleaned the windows and the solar panels, washed all the clothes and dishes. I had planted that new tree, and I had checked up on my ants back in the garden. Another colony was moving in, and I had to stop them killing each other. Hmph, nothing to do. I had yet to go on another walk around the fence, to check all the bird feed was still stocked up, I’d go do that now.

Now what was the name of the other one I called. Yes, Bob. He spoke like an old school friend of mine, before he would start to drink. I imagine Bob had a fiancé but wasn’t quite ready for kids yet. He was still working too many hours, and he needed to get to a position at his firm where he could fit his work around his home life. But once that happened, which he was working towards, he would plan the most beautiful wedding with his fiancé, and they would have such wonderful children. They would run around the green just by the old council houses and chase each other through the trees. And Bob would join in, even though it did in his ankle. They would win, and he would chuckle, ‘Well you ought to try running with old Arthur Itis on you!’ And then he would concede that they were much faster than him.

All the containers were full, none of the birds had come out since early morning. With nothing to do, I didn’t quite feel like reading or having a try with the TV again. So back to the phone, to see if anyone else was out there, and if not to make another story out of their lives.

Click. Click. Click. Bzzzt… I clicked in another number from the phone book. This time I tried the phone book from that modern house horribly out of place in the village by the prairie. … Ring! Ring! Bzzzt ‘Hello, you’ve reached Hope and Jake North,’
Wait, what? Hope and Jake North? That couldn’t be. What were the chances? Oh god I could t do this again, I’d already forgiven myself for them, and given them the burial they deserved. Maybe I should go and visit their graves, leave them some flowers or something.

I hadn’t been paying attention, but just now I realised. The message hadn’t ended, but it was silent. My call was still outgoing, but I hadn’t gotten the beep yet. Someone was there, on the other end.

I picked up the phone. ‘Hello! Oh my God hello!’ I could hear their breathing. After they had my voice though, they gasped. ‘John?’

I was ecstatic, there was someone else! Someone had survived, and they knew who I was, this was so-

They knew who I was. They were answering for Hope and Jake. They knew who I was! And suddenly I knew who he was too. It was poor little Adam. And he was not happy to hear me, as was I him.

‘Adam… I- I’m so sorry. How are you alive? Where are you?’

‘No. You son of a bitch. Don’t think I’ll just forgive you. I’ve never forgotten what you did, I’ll kill you for it you bastard. I can’t believe you’re still alive, for god’s sake. Of all the people who died, you’re the one who deserved to die the most. Why the hell are you still alive? Why the hell did you do all this?’

I sighed. He’d been too young, of course, to understand what I did. Apparently he still was. ‘I had to do it. I am really sorry, I tell you. I never meant for all of this to happen. But what does it matter now, now that everyone else is dead? There’s no one to remember any of it. I’ve moved on, you have to too.’

‘No. Never. I won’t move on until I know you’re long dead. Believe me, I will find you. I will kill you. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself, you sick monster.’

‘Fine. Dwell on it. But you won’t find me. No one can find me here.’

He started to laugh hatefully. ‘You’re still afraid to die. So old and with nothing, truly nothing left to live for, but you’re still every part as terrified to die as you were when you murdered my parents and the rest of them. Well, you’re close now. You’ll die soon enough.’

Oh Adam. ‘I’ll never die.’ I hung up.


killznhealz OP t1_j1aokqv wrote

Oh wow so much potential to run with!! Love it!!!


Samdens t1_j178q2i wrote

Hello…hello? Oh my God hello! Hey. Please tell me this is real and not a voicemail. It’s not a voicemail. Oh my God this is amazing where are you? Um I am at 732 broken street in ohichagan. Do you mind if I come to you umm ma’am. The name is Cherry and go right ahead it would be nice to have company for once sir. Thank you Cherry my name is Sarusto and I will come to you as soon as possible so Goodbye and I hung up the phone. So I went out to the car and got it up and running and made my way to Cherry’s place. On the way there the car broke down and I couldn’t getting it working so I hot wired a random car and continued the drive. When I finally got to her place and knocked on the door, I woke up in the hospital. The doctors came in and told me that I had been in a coma for the last 20 years and they thought I would never wake up but it turns out it was all just a long nightmare.


OreoDragon007 t1_j1epgxp wrote

I couldn’t believe it, someone answered, what do I do, I haven’t talked to someone in so long, I mean, when the world ended I was an awkward ten year old with one friend who moved a year before the end, I don’t know how to talk to people, “Uh, hi, I’m Wren, Wren James, what is your name” I said Silence “Wren, oh my gods Wren!” Gods? I only know one person who said that, “it’s me, Quinn Evans, from 4th grade” “Quinn, where are you?” I asked, urgent to have contact with a human again, “I’m, right behind you” her voice turned malicious, I slowly turned behind me, where I saw a bloody blonde, knife in hand, with a murderous look in her her eyes, “Um, Quinn, what are you doing“ I cautiously asked her, I was terrified, “Oh Quinn isn’t it obvious, I’m here for new meat,” with that she threw the knife at my chest, I never woke up from that.


PRose4192 t1_j28eh2y wrote

Hello.?.? Oh my God HELLO!
My heart stops,
every single day of the last excruciating 20 years comes back to me in one heart jerking, life choking second.
The death of my loved ones, the chronic depression, the slow and gradual loss of everything you knew as a civilization, the darkest nights, the coldest winters, the deafening quiet.
This… This single response… Those four crucial words will end all of that pain.
All of the fake relationships that I’ve built in my head with the personalities of the people who left little messages after the beep.
The personalities that truly died tragically many years ago, the personalities that I have clinged to every second of every waking moment for the last decade.
I could feel all of those little personalities bidding me a kind farewell, like an out of town relative leaving after an extended holiday weekend
I’ll truly miss my Cindy, I first called my Cindy eight years ago.
Judging by her 212 area code she is/was from New York City.
In my screwed up fantasy she works on the 51st floor of the empire state building. A dainty blonde who often sports a colorful sweater over her white collared shirt.
Our conversations always start with the same “Hi i’m Cindy” re-introducing ourselves is our little quirk. It keeps us young.
I often fall asleep telling her all about my day.
My shrill voice responded.
Tears began to stream from my eyes, I was not ready to say goodbye to Cindy… Or maybe I was happy to hear another person had survived. Or it could have just been one of my now daily episodes of sobbing mixed with hysterical laughing.
None of it mattered anymore, I finally had a new friend, a real friend, a breathing friend.
It was radio silence for what seemed to be eternity.
Did we get disconnected? What number had I punched in just now? Why weren't they responding? Did I just lose my one hope for any remaining sanity?
After what seemed to be a lifetime of gut wrenching thoughts a laugh broke over the line….
“I am just kidding, leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”


killznhealz OP t1_j29pl5z wrote

Love your writing style. So glad you posted on this. What a surprise treat!


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Kelli217 t1_j15prym wrote

Somebody has a really high opinion of how well the telephone infrastructure will hold up in the apocalypse.


Jamaican_Dynamite t1_j15rhvr wrote

I been in places where you can't carry a call room to room. And that's during the pre apocalypse era.


SuperFLEB t1_j17fjgd wrote

Okay, so we set it on an outpost on some other planet or something where environmental requirements and limited needs make resilient analog POTS lines the best option.

Or in 1975, I suppose (that's pre-computerized-switching, right?). That'd work too.


Davebobman t1_j158lpb wrote

... and then it ends up being a prank voice-mail. :(


Nonalyth t1_j1865lo wrote

"Ha, elaborate post-apocalyptic voicemail hoax. Leave it!"


Or0b0ur0s t1_j16400o wrote

Just an improbably high tech version of the Shortest Science Fiction Story Ever:

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door ...


Aozora404 t1_j1725kn wrote

“We have been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty”


SuperFLEB t1_j17fpae wrote

I am from the Windows and your computer has a virus.


YALBO t1_j17eyf8 wrote

Ray Bradbury's The Silent Towns features the last man and last woman on Mars, who find each other in this way. The date that follows doesn't work out, and he leaves and ignores all ringing telephones he hears from then on.


deadbeatChimblr t1_j18252b wrote

"Haha!! No way! Okay, this is good, this is really good."

You ball up a small note in your hand and stuff it down your pocket. Suit's looking clean as a clam's pearl, hair's looking good; you're all set! Okay, what was the-- Oh man, it's been twenty years, seriously, what WAS the procedure? Some speech I think? I mean, it doesn't really matter so much I guess? And-- Oh crap we're losing them! Were they talking this whole time?

"Hey, wait, are you still there? Stay with me; you're doing me a HUGE favor right now, you don't even understand!"

Okay, get to it!! You spin your swivel chair around one-hundred-eighty degrees, stretching the phone's cord out around your left side and also pulling on the base a bit. Oh my goodness, it's been so long since you got here!! It's finally time to do what's right!! You tuck the receiver between your left ear and shoulder start smashing away at a keyboard! Instantaneously brought to life one last time are the seemingly unsorted lights, buttons, and monitors which laid so dormant for so long behind you, now in front of you! A mini radio dish on top of your system starts spinning for good measure, too! You've got BUSINESS to get to!! It's time to prove your salt and I THINK they've been talking this whole time, too, so, uh, back to them.

"Okay, stay on the line, be calm-- Are you calm? I need you to be calm right now. What's your name? Let's start with the basics-- Your name, your, uhh, your location; are you at home? Is this a home phone? Why are you still here?! We're--"

Eyes shoot to your "Dice of the Month!" calendar for 20XX. Whoa.

"We're TWO CENTURIES LATE!!" you yell into the microphone.

"I know!! I know!!" They sound so giddy! "I'm just-- AAHH!! You're another PERSON! I thought-- It's so, just-- AHHH!!!" They're giggling in really crappy phone quaity audio but you totally feel them."

"Okay, so~?! Talk to me!" They can probably hear the smile on your mouth. Knob-dialing, button-pressing, slider-sliding. "Deets, let's talk!"

"HAHAHA!" Okay, they're still soaking it in, we'll give them a minute. On green-backlit screens you've got maps, you've got graphs and bars and grids and all the rest of it. An antenna rises out of the top of your computer now? Okay, sure.

"I'm-- Uh!!! I'm L! I, uhh, I'm L and I live on the street I grew up on!!"

"Perfect, I know the place. I'm on my way; we're-- Oh fuck do we have some shit to catch up on, L! I'll be there in a minute!" A square slides open on the roof of the room you're in, and the radar dish elevates above and out the room, pointing in one single direction now. Perfect. "Okay, okay-- Talk to you soon! Okay! Okay, bye!" You can't get the smile off your face and BOY do you know they can't either!! You spin another hundred-eighty degrees and accidentally pull the base of the phone off the wall. Fuck it, who cares! You get up, kick your seat to the side, and throw open a set of double doors to your other side!! Untangling the phone wire around you, you step out your white van-- LIGHT!! You look at the untangled phone and base with a look of discontent and sling them away onto the street. In a few moments, you're on your drive, but not before a satisfying slam of the van's backdoors.

"In-- three-hundred meters-- turn-- left." Oh shut up you recognize this place already.

Is that them? I mean-- fucking, duh. You slam on the breaks in front of their house. Aw, they're jumping in excitement! You throw open the driver's side door-- It's finally OVER oh my God-- You slide a fourth of the hood's length before falling back onto your feet and continuing your run towards them. You're both ecstatic. Okay, QUICK!!

"I can't believe it's you!!" they yell while running in for a hug!

"I can't believe it's you!!!!" you yell even louder while going in for a hug, too!

You both crash and squeeze and dance and fly and push and pull in the sweetest reunion of strangers this barren pit of desolation's ever had the downright HONOR to witness, you laugh and cry and yell and sing and do all the rest of it. I said QUICK!!

"Oh!! Right, I forgot!!" You put yourself back on track.

You clear your throat, straighten up, look dead ahead at them. Arms at your side, hands in front of you, palms met. "This is gonna suck. Trust me, it's okay. It's gonna suck, but it's okay."

They tilt their head.

"Stay with me here," you put forwards your left hand and point your index finger up in a 'hold on a second' motion. Your other hand reaches wtf your holster, "Just STAY with me this part's really annoying for some people!!" They're more confused than nervous. You draw your gun!! "Okay, just--" fuck they're charging-- BANG!!

"Okay, crap, calm down, oh my God!!!" You're pressing your hands against your ears-- that was way too damn loud!! "Look at me. You can see me right? Yeah??" They look mortified. But they also look at you, and that's what matters. "Oh YES!!!" You throw your hands into the air and jump!! Fuck yeah!!! "Okay, stay right there!" They start looking around; you'll have to help them take it all in. Might want to move the body before they get a chance to look at it, though. Quickly, you scramble to floor and grab the gun and, with the appropriate amount of posthaste as is necessitated right now, throw yourself into its sights-- your mouth is chock-full of the business end of a real bad tool before you pull the trigger to get the last refugee settled into Project A.F.T.E.R.L.I.F.E., while also killing your narrator in the process.


CaCtUs2003 t1_j1c78o2 wrote

Dear Journal,

It feels like it's been a thousand years since I last heard another human voice. I've been imprisoned on an empty planet and it's damn near killing me just to survive. Two decades of wandering, fighting wild animals for scraps, exploring abandoned buildings, etc. has warped my once hopeful outlook. The one thing you miss after everyone is gone? Their voices.

It's been at least twenty-two years since my last meaningful conversation. Before everything crumbled and I was somehow lucky enough to emerge into a deafeningly silent world, I had been debating on which college to attend with my mother. Back then, the news was littered with stories of war, conflict, hatred, and chaos 24/7. Despite that, everybody just held out hope that things would magically fix themselves. What else could you do? I suppose once you look back with hindsight, it was inevitable that the only way to fix everything was to burn it all down. Even if I disagreed with that point of view, all I could do at the time was concentrate on the future I thought was being laid out for me.

I suppose that's why I've been collecting these old phones. Most of them won't boot. Of the few that do, most of them don't have anything interesting. However, there are some that still have pictures and old voicemails. I have put together a working PC to archive what I find. It allows me to revisit a world lost to time. A world to which I desperately want to return. I view it as my only means of human connection anymore. It's interesting listening to these voicemails. Usually, it's full of little messages not really meant to be important or interesting; most of these weren't even meant to be permanently archived. My favorite messages to listen to are those from mothers just checking in on their children. "Heyyy, just checking in, haven't heard from you in a couple days! Call me back, please! Love you!"

Love you too, Mom.

Sometimes I will try to call back. The calls never go through, but it's not like I have anything else better to do.

But what if one of the phones starts ringing? Do I answer? I only pose this question because that's exactly what happened a few days ago. I was too scared to pick it up and I'm kind of hoping it rings again.

I will update if it happens again...


OreoDragon007 t1_j1ujbc9 wrote

I couldn’t believe it, someone answered, what do I do, I haven’t talked to someone in so long, I mean, when the world ended I was an awkward ten year old with one friend who moved a year before the end, I don’t know how to talk to people, “Uh, hi, I’m Wren, Wren James, what is your name” I said Silence “Wren, oh my gods Wren!” Gods? I only know one person who said that, “it’s me, Quinn Evans, from 4th grade” “Quinn, where are you?” I asked, urgent to have contact with a human again, “I’m, right behind you” her voice turned malicious, I slowly turned behind me, where I saw a bloody blonde, knife in hand, with a murderous look in her her eyes, “Um, Quinn, what are you doing“ I cautiously asked her, I was terrified, “Oh Wren, isn’t it obvious, I’m here for new meat,” with that she threw the knife at my chest, I never woke up from that.