“He has completely lost his grip on reality! You can’t visit him or else he’ll panic and we’ll have to sedate him!”
“Don’t you dare tell me what I can and can’t do! I’m the goddamn Once-ler and that is my goddamn boyfriend that you have locked away and there is no way that I’m just going to crawl back home without at least talking to him.”
“But, Sir, he’s-”
“He’s fine enough to see me! He’s no-”
“Sir, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to le-”
“I can have you fired for this! Do you want to be fired? Unemployed? On the fucking blacklist for harassing a visitor?”
“Let me see him.”
“… Five minutes.”
SC looked through the small reinforced window built into the iron door. Chem sat alone in the center of a stark white room on a molded plastic chair, his glassy eyes staring unblinkingly at the blank wall. Formerly fuscia hair had faded to a white-orange hue that matched his sallow, sun-starved skin. The shallow rise and fall of his chest was barely visible through the cream colored jumper that he had been issued when he was committed. SC remembered that night. The screams wouldn’t stop haunting his dreams. He blinked hard and eased the door open with a gentle knock.
Chem was it. The last man on earth. He had done it, done something to wipe out the entire population. What did he do? He had to remember. He had killed everyone, his grandparents, SC, Rad, everyone. He couldn’t remember. What did he do? He was such a horrible person. Why couldn’t he just die? Was he dead? Was this the afterlife? Was he stuck here on earth in the middle of the havoc he had wreaked to suffer for eternity alone? He sat on a tool bench in his grandparents’ shed, staring out the dusty little window at the road. There were no cars. There was no roadkill. There was no sound.