Another Tomorrow by Anouk S.
I was lying between old cans and bags, the dark moon shining its light on my nose, while the wind was blowing over the mountains of trash I had been living in for the past few days. I couldn’t sleep that night. It was too cold and my thin jacket I found the other day wasn’t helping at all. Of course, I could have gone back to my place, to my soon-to-be wife and my adoptive parents. But well, not tonight. I knew what would happen the next day, and I didn’t want to watch my family die while I couldn’t go with them.
Some people may think of it as destiny, as a reward or all in all, just the biggest power on earth: not to die. But well, it is not. It is not nice at all, it’s more like living hell.
Especially when the earth is just about to explode, to only leave a few abandoned pieces of the planet, with just a handful of survivors, probably never to be found by me, and you know your home will be destroyed, but still, there will be no end for you. I can’t leave this world.
I got Nendife, never-ending-life, as they call it, when I was seventeen years old. Don’t take this the wrong way; I never wanted to live forever.
But in a society, in which a human is just as worthless as the old and dirty cloth I used as a blanket, I was just used as a human guinea pig and they tested their things on me. It’s a virus they found on the planet, they were originally heading to. But when they realised this little thing would destroy our society, the concept of living and death, they chose another planet. The virus stops almost everything in your body. On the one hand, it stops every process of growing. I still look like a seventeen year old boy, but I’m actually twenty-five years old. But on the other hand, it instantly heals every injury, so even when I’m dead, when I’m hurt or sick, the virus will make my brain and body work again. I’ve tried so many times already and failed every single time… And at some point, I just stopped being around people. Because I was one of the few who knew what was going to happen. Somehow, they had to get to the new planet, and they had to get a lot of people there, not just a few explorers. They needed energy and the explosion, which would kill the earth in less than twenty-four hours, was going to give it. I still can’t really believe that I found out, but somehow I eavesdropped on a few of them without being arrested. And there wasn’t really much I could have done about this. So, I didn’t have a choice. I’d have to get used to living alone, well, at least without other human beings.
I stood up, the desire for sleep long forgotten, and stared up at the sky, at the “silver star” as they were calling it. All the people who would go to the new found planet when the earth explodes waited up there. And the people down here didn’t know a thing. I could tell them… But why should I? It would destroy the last day they have to live, because they would be afraid. Or probably they wouldn’t even believe me.
Tomo suddenly came up to me and pulled me out of my train of thoughts by barking. I smiled at her, giving her a pat on the head. She was my only friend. She had the virus, just like me. We would last forever, but at least, we would have each other. Even if she’s a dog, she’s everything I have left… Besides, she’s just as good as any human, maybe even a better company. She always listens.
I started walking down my trash mountain and she followed me, she didn’t even question the fact that we wouldn’t sleep anymore. In some moments I thought we were even lucky having the virus. We didn’t need any food, even if it was nice to have something down my throat from time to time; my stomach didn’t complain without food and it was hard to get something, pretty expensive, too.
I heard the guns from somewhere, probably the town nearby, or well, what’s left of it. In a world like this, there are no laws anymore, so murdering isn’t something unusual, especially, like I just said, for food. Nowadays, it’s kill or be killed. Or well, starve…
And again, I think we’re kind of lucky. Tomo and I aren’t part of this, nobody would ever dare attack us since we can’t die and somehow, the lonely and weird guy with his dog from the trash tale outside was a pretty respectable person to the city people. I saw a figure running down the hill, not too far away, probably the person who they tried to shoot. The figure stumbled, probably a girl, as I took from the silhouette of a short dress. And then I saw them and intentionally, I tensed up. They ran after her, one already lifting his baseball bat to hit her when I gave Tomo the sign. She barked loudly while running to the guys, growling at them as she stood right before the girl on the floor, protecting her. They looked around, probably knowing I wouldn’t be too far and instantly, the first guy let his baseball bat down, watching every single move I made as I came closer. “Leave her alone”, I told them and the second guy left while the first one just stared angrily at me. “Will you?” I gave him the last warning, and finally, he also left. I waited for a second and then crouched down next to the figure lying on the ground. “You okay?” I asked, but there was no answer. She only lifted her head to look at me, a gaze full of fear and hatred. “W-who are y-you?” she stuttered while looking around, searching for an escape. “I won’t hurt you” I promised. “You don’t have to stay. Just make sure you come back here when they try to hurt you again, okay? You’re safe here…” Of course I knew there would be no next time. When the sun set tomorrow, this world wouldn’t exist anymore. But I didn’t want to tell her that. She was thirteen, maybe fourteen and obviously pretty shy, at least until she saw Tomo, who was lying next to her and looking at her with those big doe eyes of hers. The girl smiled cutely, patting Tomo’s head and asking. “What’s her name?”
“Tomorrow” I told her, smiling back. “But I call her Tomo for short.”
“That’s cute. It suits her.” “It does” I agreed. We sat there in silence for a while, until she talked again. “Thanks, by the way…” I only smiled at her and stayed silent for a couple of minutes before I asked something. “What’s your name?”
She hesitated before she answered me. “Hannah… and… yours?” Hannah… I liked it.
“Yoshua… But it was a long time ago that somebody actually used my name. I’m more for myself these days.” She nodded and continued patting Tomo’s fur. “I’m not called Hannah too often, either…”
“Too bad… it suits you” I told her. “Just like your smile… it suits you so well, you should wear it more often” and indeed, she did smile. Even if it was a shy and embarrassed smile because of the cheesy comment, it was better than nothing. “Thanks…” she stuttered a bit, it was really cute.
Silence, again. “Are you staying here?” she asked and I nodded. “Why? Don’t you have a home?”
“This is my home… It’s not too nice, I know… But I kinda like it. And here I can be who I am, together with Tomo. We don’t need anybody else.” I smiled. It was true. Even if this earth didn’t last much longer, I was with Tomo and we didn’t need anybody else. We were fine.
“But it’s also kind of sad…” Hannah said. I just shook my head. “No, it’s completely fine the way it is.”
She looked up at the sky. “I wish I had somebody like that, too…”
I got kind of serious. “You will find one, eventually…” I said, even if I knew it was a lie. There really wasn’t that much chance of her finding somebody like that before tomorrow evening. Sadly, I smiled at her and she smiled back. “I hope so…” And then she stood up. “I have to go now… or they’ll beat me up again…” Now she was the one looking sad. “I’ll try to come back here! You’d better be there!”
I nodded. “I will” and I waved at her.
“Goodbye Yoshua!” She said and ran away, leaving my heart to skip a beat when she called my name. The next moment, it was just Tomo and I again.
I stood up.
“You think it was okay to lie, Tomo?” I asked her, unsure of myself. She just looked at me and somehow I knew it was better that way.
We didn’t go too far, so Hannah could find us if she made it back before the explosion. But as the sun rose and we watched the dark sky being painted red and orange, I just hoped for her not to come back. I knew I would regret it to talk to people I would never get to meet again. I could feel the warmth of the sun, which was slowly climbing up the big amount of trash. It’s a sad thing to look at all this. I really hated human beings for doing this to Mother Nature and actually, most of them didn’t even deserve to last any longer. I only could hope they would do better on their new planet. I wouldn’t be able to check, since it seems like I’ll stay here forever… And I just wished that I could have seen this planet, the earth, in its original state.
My thoughts went back to Hannah. I only got to know her for a few minutes, I barely knew anything about her. And still, I kind of felt attached.
And in this moment, I just prayed for her that there could be another Tomorrow…