The Last of Her kind

I’m quite excited to share this story. It’s beautiful and sad all in its own ways.

A story that follows a woman named Ophelia. She fought hard to make it to this point. Her strength simply left her all alone, but alive. Was it worth it?

The artist is Monja Ramsak. You can find more of their work either on Instagram or Artstation.

I want to give special thanks to the patrons who’ve supported me thus far:

Hypermice, Sean Young, and Mister Artorias

Check back on Friday for more news, with another short to follow on Monday! As always if you want to read the latest story, support me on Patreon for just a dollar

The Last of Her kind

Ophelia looked down at her son, watching helplessly as he took one final gasp for air. She hummed a sweet tune and wiped a tear from his cheek. She saw the pain and fear in his face slowly turn to nothing. “Rest, my son.” With a weak nod, Ophelia slid his eyes closed and lowered him to one of the thin cushions which had been strewn about the room. She rubbed her eyes, trying to fight back the tears that desperately wanted to come.

Her nostrils flared, and pain ached in her heart. Hacking up a puff of thin white gas, Ophelia looked at her son for one final moment before standing. She stumbled over to a nearby desk covered in maps and notes. “So much time spent, and this is how it ends?” She laughed, staring at the maps with circles around different locations, an “X” crossed through each one. “One failed idea after another. All I did was slow the inevitable, and now I die alone.” Ophelia looked around the room with a tired expression. The abandoned home she stood in, once a monumental statement of human ingenuity, was now a miserable display of what remained.

A distant roar caught her attention. She looked to the large window panes making up most of one side of the room. “It couldn’t possibly be?” She reached for her walking stick and raced to the dirty windows to look out at the wasteland. Covering the land were white crystals of various sizes, ranging up and down the mountains and throughout the vast rocky plains. A miasma of white and pink smoke flowed off the crystals. Cloudy gray skies moved slowly, the occasional flicker of lightning followed by the rumble of thunder. Her eyes spotted the distant flying snake-like object that was growing in size.

“I can’t believe she’d come.” A smile crossed her lips. Ophelia fumbled into her pockets, finding them void of what she needed. She coughed again, wiping away the white smudge forming on her lips. “There has to be one more, just one more!” She stumbled over to the desk, ripping the drawers out. Another fit of coughing passed through her as she made her way from room to room. The once clean halls were now cracked and filled with trash and broken furniture.

Ophelia ascended the stairs to the second floor. She passed a bedroom, the smell of her decaying daughter on the air barely able to overpower the gaseous odor. She glanced toward the body hidden in the bed sheets, and her heart ached. She saw the discarded shovel on the floor, its blade chipped and bent. She shook her head and kept moving.

In the master bedroom, she found within the nightstand what she looked for, a small cylinder. Unscrewing the top, she brought its contents to her lips, drinking the dull, lukewarm liquid. A warm comfort blossomed in her chest as she breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank goodness.”

Opening another drawer, she found her satchel and swung it over her shoulders. She turned to the closet and opened it, finding within a white cloak and pulled it on, protection from the unnatural light of the outside. Satisfied she had everything, she made her way back through the home towards its exit. Opening the door, Ophelia was greeted by the electrifying warm air. With a skip in her step, she made her way down the stairs of the mountain, running parallel with the now broken up and cracked driveway.

Ophelia stood on her toes, spotting the glint of feathery white before it vanished into the clouds. “Almost here,” she observed and quickened her pace down the steps. A misstep on the loose stone set her falling forward, the walking stick catching her at the last moment before the ledge. Taking a deep breath, Ophelia pulled herself back. “Can’t die yet.” She chuckled and resumed her pace at a much slower step. “How ironic, I wanted death so soon after Greg died.”

She made it out to the spacious viewing platform with rusted railing wrapped around its edges. Ophelia closed her eyes and breathed, “It’s been a long year since I saw him, my love. If only I had been stronger then. Maybe I could have helped you save my sister. Instead, I lost you both.”

The flutter of wings. She opened her eyes to see that it floated before her. The creature’s massive wings covered in white and pink feathers curled around its serpentine body. Blue mist drifted off its white feathered body, creating a haze. Its head lowered to her, sniffing the air, and looked at her with an expression of what seemed like sadness. The crystals along its head glowed pink, humming a strange tune. The odd ornament between the crystals glistened with their power. One of its long arms extended outward, the web-like fingers gently brushing Ophelia’s side.

She smiled, touching one of the leathery fingers. “Thank you. I’m so glad you came.” She lowered the satchel and dug into its contents, pulling out a sketchpad and black pencil. “To be able to draw you one last time… I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my final day.”

She set forth, creating marks across the paper with eager skill. Her eyes barely left the creature floating before her, completely enamored by its beauty. Her hands, covered in pocks and wrinkles from the sickening air, now moved with great skill and precision. “It’s funny,” she began, pausing to look down at her sketch, satisfied with the progress so far. “I grew up being told all sorts of ways humanity could die on Earth. So many apocalyptic tales! Who’d think though, it’d be because of beauty and curiosity. When I found you that day, I didn’t tell anyone. You were my little secret, and I just loved being with you. If I had known you’d be the catalyst to end my world… well, it doesn’t matter anymore.” She looked down at the paper to see a wet stain in the corner. Ophelia wiped at her eyes before another tear could stair the drawing. “It’s your world now. I hope you live a long happy life with all your kind.” She moved the pencil, finishing several more strokes before presenting the pad to the creature.

The creature moved closer, studying the drawing with keen eyes. It gently pushed its snout towards her.

“Glad you liked it!” She smiled, petting the creature’s snout. An ache grew in her heart, and her lungs began to fill with the gas once more. In the open air, the atmosphere was thicker and heavier forcing her to take deeper breaths. “I suppose it’s about my time.” She lowered herself, sitting on the hard rock. “Promise me you won’t be sad. I already carry such a heavy burden, and I don’t want to pass it on. It should die with me.” Ophelia rubbed her chest in discomfort.

The creature moved its large hand forward and brushed a finger across her head. A long, low hum sounded from the crystals. With a nod, the creature lowered its self, curling its body around her to keep her company.

“Thank you, my friend.” She laid back against its feathered body and closed her eyes. “I haven’t felt this comfortable in a long time.” Her smile brightened as she snuggled her head against the soft feathers. “I could… I could sleep like this forever…”

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Author of the on-going serial "Perpetual War"

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