This long short story was originally inspired by the History Channel program Life After People. The premise of the show is not to examine the potential causes of the end of humanity, but rather “what happens to the world we leave behind.”
It’s a fascinating program. It details the fates of our roads, our cities, our buildings, even our family pets and other creatures who depend upon us for a living. It quite often comes to the rather disturbing conclusion that in a pretty short space of planetary time – mere hundreds of years, not thousands – we will be completely forgotten by an Earth that may fare better without us. While in this story I ultimately chose not to focus on the mechanics of the destruction of the trappings of humanity, but rather on what it does to the main character, I think the former offers a world of interesting possibilities for post-apocalyptic literature and I look forward to returning to this subject in the near future.
“Waiting” tells the story of a middle-aged misanthrope who witnesses this degeneration, who lives long enough to see how quickly humanity can fail, how insufficient its infrastructure is in the case of a massive disaster. But what place is there for a person in a world without people?
“And then we were standing, rising up from the water, and as the droplets cascaded down my naked body I imagined myself as a mortal and less awe-inspiring version of Aphrodite, and Jesse as Poseidon, except with, um, only one prong in his trident.”
Cindy’s friend Jesse is great – especially when he gets out of her way after the “benefits” part of their evening is over. So when he proposes a weekend excursion at a nearby lake, she’s naturally suspicious – isn’t that the kind of thing “couples” do? Now she might never be able to get the smell of him off her…
I have just made autographed paperback copies of each of my forthcoming books available as Goodreads giveaways. Both giveaways end on Sunday, November 23rd and are open internationally. You can visit the links below to enter: