A Widower’s Story – Conclusion

Old Photos 001

She had a Golden Retriever, named Max. As they sat across from each other, sipping wine at her favorite Italian restaurant, he realized their profiles had gone beautifully together. He loved dogs too, and he shared with her that his favorite was the German Shepard. She shook her head yes, and said, “They’re so intelligent!” Neither one of them liked cats.

Caroline was a thin woman, with gray streaks in her hair (which he absolutely loved), and this was their first date together. Grace, the office receptionist, had helped him through the agonizing process of writing about himself, and submitting the profile, for online dating. Now it was all worth it though, looking into Caroline’s amazing, smiling face.

It was her first date in years, after losing her husband in a car accident, but they were both trying to put the pain of the past behind them, trying to discover a new life, trying to make sense of it all. Caroline said, “I know I don’t need a love right now…..I mean not like a teenager type love…. but don’t we all need to be loved?” “Don’t we need a sense of belonging?” William understood completely, and added, “Yes, and for me the loneliness has been unbearable!” She jumped in with, “Yes! That’s exactly what I mean.”

He had the baked ziti, but as soon as he saw her plate of lasagna he wished he had ordered the same. “Would you like some?” she said. He tried it, and it was wonderful. They spent the evening talking about their hobbies. His were sailing and dogs, and she loved dogs, horses, and quilting. “Quilting?” he asked. She just smiled and said, “Yes I make them.” For a second he thought of her making quilts, and then in bed, wrapped in a quilt, but then he pushed those thoughts aside.

He took her home, and when they got to the door, she invited him in. He hesitated. She said, “I want to show you my quilts.” He was nervous but said yes. Fortunately, Max loved him right away, which for her, was a good sign. He was thinking, was this an invitation? Everything these days was so complicated. It was just seeing her quilts though, and in a way he was relieved. Caroline made them both some decaf coffee.

When it was time to leave he said, “May I kiss you?” (always the gentleman) She nodded yes, and as their lips met, tears welled up in their eyes, and began streaming down their faces. They had to stop. It was the first time……well the first time……since their spouses had passed away, that they had kissed anyone. “Emotions!” she said. He just nodded, too choked up to say anything.

It was a good sign though……..it was a very good sign, indeed.

        

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

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The Last People on Earth – Harvest

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XXXVI

It was harvest time. Not only did Anhah improve, after taking the medicine she needed, but in only a few days, she was up and moving around again. Jeremiah kept a close eye on her, taking an EKG every day, and taking her blood pressure on a regular basis. There was still a wonderful sparkle in the old woman’s eyes.

A week after their arrival, Anhah, and Anuniaq moved into the farm next door. It had been too crowded in the house, and even though no one said anything, they were all relieved. Yet the Inuit established a tradition very quickly, of coming to breakfast every morning. In the evening they came for dinner, and there was a wonderful sense of community that was building. Jeremiah loved cooking for everyone. And Jennifer began cooking as well. One night she blessed everyone by cooking her mother’s recipe of orange chicken. They couldn’t believe how wonderful it was.

The new village was busy after Anhah’s recovery. This would be the only year they would be able to collect the harvest from other people’s farms. They collected all of the fruits and vegetables they could get their hands on, from the surrounding area. Most of it was packaged and frozen, but some of it had to be processed, cooked and sealed in glass jars. The process was called, “canning”.

The lab building was converted into the village processing plant. One day when everyone, even Anhah was busy working with sterilizing jars, or filling them with apples and pears, Jennifer asked Jeremiah and Miriam, “I’ve been thinking….would you mind, if the baby and I moved into the room upstairs?” She began to giggle, realizing it was where the two of them went to hide…..when they……well when they wanted to be alone. Jeremiah and Miriam just looked at each other.  “We’ll let you know Jennifer….” Privately they loved their little hideaway.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

Love after 65

Mountains and Rivers 131

She helped him out of the bus, when they got close to the hospital. Shaky legs, down the steps, holding her hand. He was limping with a cane, as they crossed the street to the doctor’s office. He had some blood tests, and got some new medication, to live a little longer. He was often dizzy, and got confused sometimes.

After a bus ride back home, they had some frozen dinners, heated in the microwave. She was done with cooking, and he didn’t mind. He was grateful just to be with her. After dinner he went to the freezer and got out the ice cream (his had no sugar). When they sat down in front of the TV, he looked at her and said, “I may get confused, but I know who you are……..and that I will always love you.” She got tears in her eyes, but her wrinkled face was beaming.

She said, “Eat your ice cream old man, cause when you’re done……I’m going to kiss your face!” Now it was his turn to smile, because that is exactly what he was hoping for.

They watched their favorite TV show that night, a British program called, As Time Goes By.

        

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XXVII – Love and Hope

Oceans 807

Jennifer could not find the goat’s milk anywhere. It had been three weeks now since Jacob was born, and she was starting to mix in a little of the goat’s milk for him. But then, she could not find Miriam and Jeremiah either. She searched the house and looked outside, but there was no trace of them. They were often in the lab building, working on testing soil and plant life, so she headed there.

But she was surprised, when she opened the door, and they weren’t there either. She looked around, was that a noise upstairs? She walked over to the door that led to the second floor, knocked, but then opened it without waiting. She didn’t really pay attention to the noises she heard, “Oh no! Shhhh! Lift your arm – quick! Ouch! Shhhh! Move your head!” Jennifer did get one foot on the bottom step, but heard Jeremiah yell, “Don’t come up here!” It was then that she understood, and she was horrified. She said, “I’m sorry!” I am soooo sorry!”, and she began backing up, with her hand over her mouth, and turning ten shades of red. Fortunately, she did not see anything.

Then she heard Miriam’s voice. “What do you need, Jennifer?” Still embarrassed, Jennifer stumbled over her words, but managed to ask about the goat’s milk. “It’s in the freezer, you have to thaw it first.” Without replying, Jennifer left in a hurry, and closed the door. It wasn’t until later that she thought the whole thing was funny. It took a while for the young couple to recover, but eventually their lips started searching again. He buried his face in her neck, and her nails………well……… the rest of it is not to be told about here……

Later that evening Roger called from England, and Jeremiah was in the kitchen cooking dinner, so he reached for the phone. Jeremiah had spoken to Roger a number of times now, and he enjoyed their conversations immensely. Roger had been a Professor of British Literature, before the wars, and he could tell you anything you wanted to know, about the great poets that had once walked the British Isles.

“Jeremiah!” Roger was obviously exited, “Jeremiah, you were right!” “I found someone, and she is in Croatia!” “I was using that software you gave me, and I was able to look her up, and I called her Jeremiah!” “She sounds amazing.” Jeremiah was excited for him, and said, “Roger, that’s wonderful!”

Roger went on to say it was not a romance, they were just two people, so alone they were going insane, and now suddenly, the future seemed bright again. Roger continued, “Even if we are just friends forever Jeremiah, it is one of the happiest moments of my life.” Jeremiah had tears in his eyes, and asked, “What’s her name?” “Monique! Isn’t that beautiful?” It was beautiful. The two men talked for almost an hour, (that’s a long time for men). Roger shared all about their plans, to meet in France, in fact Bordeaux.

But the good news was not over yet. The next morning, after breakfast, Miriam was in the lab building, while Jeremiah was still in the house shaving. She just happened to check her email, in case, like they did once a week usually. When she saw her inbox, she screamed. “Oh God!” she said, as she printed it out quickly. She was screaming with joy as soon as she had it in her hands. She ran towards the house, screaming, “Jeremiah!” “Jeremiah!”

They all came running, and met her in front of the house. As tears streamed down her face, she yelled, “There are seven more people alive!” “They are in Northern Canada, and they are Inuit people!” Chills ran up and down their spines.

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XXVI – The Lonely

Mountains and Rivers 137

As they finished breakfast, the phone rang for the only the third time, since Miriam and Jeremiah had lived there. Jennifer was closest, so she instinctively handed the baby to an astonished Jeremiah, and reached for it. She picked it up, said hello, put one hand on the mouthpiece, and whispered to everyone in the kitchen, that it was Roger Preston from England.

“Hello Roger, yes I had the baby.….his name is Jacob…..named after his father.” Jennifer leaned against the wall, and after it was clear they would be talking for a while, Miriam started on the dishes, while Jeremiah asked, “What am I supposed to do with the baby??” Miriam, smiled at him and said, “It’s good practice for you!” She turned away, when he tried to hand her the baby. He scrunched his face. He stepped toward Cathy with the baby too, hoping she would take him, but Cathy backed away, smiling.

Cathy and Cory retreated upstairs, to get cleaned up, while Cathy snickered about Jeremiah, and smiled at Jennifer, for being so cute as she spoke to Roger. She thought, “Yes this is a good place”, as they walked up the steps. Noticing Cory’s hair, she said to her daughter, “And young lady we need to wash your hair!” “Birds are going to start making a nest in there, if we don’t do something with it!” Cory sighed and said, “Mom!”

Jennifer said “Guess what?”, once she was off the phone. Miriam and Jeremiah looked up, from their Amharic lesson in the living room, with the baby asleep in a bassinet. “Did you know that Roger is an amateur pilot?” Without waiting for a response, Jennifer blurted, “Roger is planning to fly over the Atlantic……..and come live with us!!”

Jeremiah jumped up for the phone, as soon as he heard this, and dialed Roger’s number. As soon as he heard Roger’s voice, he said, “Roger you cannot do this!” “It is much too dangerous, you could be killed!!” There was a long pause, and a sigh on the end, then Roger broke in and said, “My good man, I am a pilot, and I have been practicing in a simulator for flying the big jets.” “I can do this, and I know I can.” Jeremiah couldn’t think of anything to say, so Roger continued, “You have a whole group of people there, an amazing commune of people, growing natural food, and I have no one here!” “Besides that, I would rather die, trying to get to you, than to be alone anymore!!!” “I can’t stand it here!”

Jeremiah was speechless. These were the same feelings that he and Miriam both had, before they found each other. It was the type of loneliness and desperation that was downright deadly. Jeremiah sighed, and said, “Roger can you just look some more?” “I’m sure there is someone else in Europe that is alive!” “There has to be.” Roger responded with, “Well I’m willing to try for one more month, using that satellite software you sent me, after that, I’m heading for New York.”

In the foothills of Kentucky there was another man that was lonely, except that he did not know it. Lance had deteriorated so badly he barely moved from the rocking chair on the front porch, and he did not know where he was, or for that matter, who he was. The alcohol abuse drove him even further into the darkness. One week after Cathy had left with Cory, he passed away quietly, on the front porch, from an overdose, starvation, and a shattered mind.

To be continued.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XX – She Wanted Peace

Mountains and Rivers 384

More than anything she wanted peace. Cathy and her 8 year old daughter, Cory, were riding in a pickup, somewhere in Kentucky, with a lunatic. His name was Lance, and not only did he have a truck load of guns, he was convinced the drones were killing Americans, and that a foreign government was behind it all.

Cathy hated him, Cory was terrified, but the only reason they stayed with him, was that there was no one else. They were terrified of the drones, and thought Lance was protecting them. The worst of it though, was when Lance said he had special “visions”, of space ships. The “visions” were usually preceded by fits of ranting and raving, involving delusions of him being a king, and stronger than anyone else.

They eventually made it to a hideout that he had known, up in the mountains. He was fond of yelling at Cathy and slapping her around, while Cory cowered in a corner. “Go get some food, that’s your job now!” “But leave the girl here!” he yelled one morning. “Not on your life!”, she yelled back. She would die first, and on the look on her face told him that, so he let it be.

This went on for days, each day the same. She was to go out and run errands, while he stayed at home and drank, and played video games. She tried telling him most of the food was no good now, that they could only eat food from out of a can, and what would they do when that was gone?  He wouldn’t listen. She realized more every day, that she and Cory would not be staying here long. She didn’t care much about herself, but she would protect her daughter no matter what. Staying here was too risky, and she needed to make another plan. But what?

At the farm in Pennsylvania, the atmosphere was much different. It was Friday again, and both Jeremiah and Miriam were preparing a Sabbath meal. Miriam was finding great joy in making some injera bread (a bread from Ethiopia and East Africa). Jeremiah had taken out some frozen chicken, and was grilling it with olive oil, and onions. He was also making his famous salad with spinach, walnuts, and pieces of tangerines. Fresh peaches would be the dessert, with some whipped cream on top.

Jennifer walked slowly around the living room, grateful for the smells coming from the kitchen, but worried. She was holding her tummy, and rubbing it gently. She whispered to the baby, how much she loved him or her. It was her first child, and she had no idea what to expect, other than a lot of pain. She also thought of her boyfriend Jacob, and how happy he would have been to see her now.

Miriam placed the candles in the holders, and the scarf on her head. Lighting the candles, she began reciting the prayers in Amharic, while Jennifer sat wide-eyed, stunned at the beauty of the moment. She had never seen anything like it. Jeremiah smiled knowingly. He loved the voice of his beautiful queen. Now came the Hebrew, and he joined in “Baruch atah Adonai, Eluhenu melech ha olam…….” (In English the words mean: Blessed are You, Lord our God, the King of the universe).

Jeremiah had a strange feeling after this prayer. It was like…well there was a tingling on the back of his neck. He said he felt like they should pray, for the people that had been in Illinois, the man, woman, and the 8 year old girl….……that they would be safe……..…and have peace……….So they did pray.

To be continued.

    

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

Behind the Scenes of the Last People

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So what would you do, if you were the last person on earth? After the initial shock and horror of it all, you would want to find other people! You probably wouldn’t care about the big issues, you would be more concerned I think, about your own sanity.

These are just some of the thoughts I had in writing the series. I wanted to make Miriam and Jeremiah as different as possible. This is my attempt to have racial reconciliation within the story. Her being very tall, makes them even more unique. The neat thing about fiction is that it allows you to create a world that is better than the one we live in. I wanted to show love between people of different backgrounds. This allows me to explore culture, and how it would work in a new world.

From the beginning, I knew there would be a need for other people, instead of just the two. Adam and Eve can only go so far. And they needed people, not just to make the story interesting, but for humanity to continue. In upcoming segments we will see some other characters, including the good and bad within them. For me, a good story is about people. When I admire great literature of the past, it is always the characters, so wonderfully written about, that keeps me interested.

Thanks for reading!

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XVIII – Survivors

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“Are you nervous about delivering the baby?”, Miriam asked as they drove westbound on I-80. “Yes…”, was all he could say. He didn’t want to think about it right now, and he got out their laptop instead. Miriam was driving their brand new Mazda SUV, that she had picked out. She said she always wanted a blue one.

It had been Jennifer’s baby that Miriam was asking about. Part of the reason Jennifer had been so emotional over the phone, was not only was she alone, but she was also 8 months pregnant. She was convinced that she, and her baby, would die if she had to give birth alone. She was ecstatic that Jeremiah had gone to medical school, and so it was a win, win situation for her, to come and live with them, in Pennsylvania.

Jeremiah logged into the satellite software that the drones had given them access codes for. Miriam said, “Do you think you can find that couple, and their daughter in Illinois?” “I’ve been trying, and it’s like they’ve disappeared”. The software was amazing and could locate any heat source that appeared to be human. It could even tell the difference between a cow and a human, by giving a rough image of the source. “I think they could be running Miriam, not understanding what the drones were attempting to do.” Miriam shook her head yes, that she understood, and she said, “Like us.”

They had been searching for days with the satellites for this couple, not far from Chicago. The letter they received explained there were a few other people, but in some cases the information was sketchy or only partially there. Jeremiah picked up the letter again, as Miriam drove. He read the words once more, still shocked, and excited at the same time, even though he had read it many times, after picking it up in the front yard.

It said:

“If you are receiving this letter then you have gone through hell, and are coming out of it again, to the other side. I am the last remaining member of our government, and I will be dead in a few hours. Once it was clear that humanity would be exterminated, or nearly so, our government began to work on ways to connect survivors, and to bring them together. The drones you have been seeing are preprogrammed to identify human beings, and to report the information to a database located in Washington D.C. Additional drones have been assigned the duty of delivering data to survivors, about each other, as much as is possible. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or anything else that can be found.”

The letter said only six people were discovered in the United States, they were Jennifer, Miriam, Jeremiah, and a couple in Illinois, with a daughter of about 8 years old. There was also a confirmed sighting of a male in England, and there was a fair amount of data available on him, including a phone number. There were some Inuit people, as well in Northern Canada. There may be more people out there, but that was all that was found.

The letter ended with:

“The only known damage to the environment has been to cows, which have been found to be slightly contaminated. Perhaps in about 10 generations they will be safe again.”

“You have been given a unique opportunity to start all over again. Please make sure you do all that you can, to help humanity survive, and to get it right this time. I wish you Godspeed, and the best of luck.”

                                                                 Sincerely,

Representative Thomas Byrnes

    

As Miriam continued to drive, Jeremiah closed his eyes, and thought of those haunting words, “….to get it right this time…..”

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XVII – The Package

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It rained that night. Miriam and Jeremiah, didn’t hear a thing as the drone came by, at about 2:00 in the morning. They were sound asleep, as lovers usually are when it rains, listening to the rain, playing its soulful song on their roof. It was great sleeping weather. The drone had come by to see if the package was still there, and it was, soaked, untouched, on the front lawn.

In the morning, the sun came out, and peered through their bedroom window, waking them both up. After stretching, and saying good morning, Miriam headed for the shower, while Jeremiah headed downstairs to cook them some breakfast. It would be turkey sausage, toast, and eggs.

At the table, they paused and then dug in. The topic of discussion was still the library, because Jeremiah realized they needed to include languages. He said, “Miriam you need to write down everything you know about Amharic, and place it in the format of teaching it, otherwise the language will become extinct.” She nodded and said, “Yes I can see that”. He continued with, “And then work on Hebrew, and French, and….” “Whoa!” Miriam interrupted him and said, “Jeremiah…….wait, one language at a time!” “Plus I’ll be having a baby!” He smiled a sheepish smile, and said, “Yeah, you’re right.”

It was right when they were getting up from the table, that they heard a strange noise. It was vaguely familiar like an alarm, and they looked around. Then Miriam yelled, “Jeremiah!” “The phone!” Sure enough, there it was on the wall, plain as day, and it was ringing. It was the first time in months they had heard the sound. They looked at each other, and a thousand thoughts raced through their minds, within seconds. Would the drones kill them today?

They jumped up at the same time, but Miriam beat him to it. She hesitated, picked it up, then said, “Hello?” A voice on the other end, yelled in her ear, “Oh my God!” “A person!” “Are you a person or a computer??” Miriam was shocked and hesitated once again, but said, “Yes, I’m…..I’m a real person.” What ensued next was some of the fastest, and most emotional talking, and yelling they had ever heard. Miriam placed the call on speaker.

“Oooohhh thank you God!!” “Oh God thank you!” “I can’t believe it!” “I found your number on the internet —- Oh God, I can’t believe it!” There was some screaming, very loud screaming, and Miriam and Jeremiah could both tell the screams were coming from joy. Chills ran up and down their spines. It was another person! The voice on the phone continued, “Your names and address were given to me by the drones….…they left a package..…..did you get a package?” “My name is Jennifer Wong and I’m calling from San Francisco!” “I found people!” She was crying now, and with huge sobs, she kept repeating, “I found people!” “I found peeeeeople!”

It took a while to calm Jennifer down, so that they could understand better what she meant about the drones, and a package. “Please go outside and look around”, she said. “You should have one too!”

While Miriam stayed on the phone with her, Jeremiah went out to look around. Sure enough, about 30 feet from the front door, there was something. It was a small package, a shipping envelope really, with what appeared to be bubble packaging inside. He got the shock of his life when he saw Miriam’s name and his, on a printed label, with their address. He picked it up, it was wet but readable. Even more shocking, was the label for the return address.

The packaged was marked, as coming from, “The United States Congress……”

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XV – Letting Go

Oceans 1379

He was going to get a gun today, and that was final. He didn’t say anything to Miriam about it, and he would hide it from her if he had to. Maybe he could leave it in the truck. As they sat at the kitchen table that morning, eating cold cereal, he was angry, and she could tell.

He had never served them cold cereal for breakfast before, only as a snack, and he wasn’t talking. He always said how important a good breakfast was. She could see the problem on his face, and she knew what it was. “Jeremiah…….please promise me, you won’t get a gun today……” His eyes grew big. How did she know? “I can’t do that Miriam, I just can’t.” With that he slid back his chair, stood up and headed for the door, grabbing the keys to their mangled truck. With his hand on the door knob he said, “The drones are costing me my sanity, so I can’t make that promise”. Tears welled up in her eyes. He opened the door and said, “I’ll be at the neighbor’s house across the way…..” With that he opened the door, and she cried out, “Jeremiah please….”

He walked out regretting every minute of it, and everything he just said. But as he got into the mangled truck, he convinced himself he was doing the right thing. So he drove, down the lane, and through the two sets of gates, and to the neighbor’s house about a mile away. “I have to protect my family”, he said.

As soon as he walked into the neighbor’s house, he saw what he needed over the stone fireplace. He took down the 12 gauge, pump action, shotgun. He racked the chamber a few times, loving the sound. “No drone can survive this!”, he said out loud. In the den he found a whole glass enclosed, case of shotguns, and two rifles. Most farmers had been hunters, he thought to himself.

When he checked the drawers of the desk, he found the most beautiful gun he had ever seen. Tucked away in a beautifully carved leather case, with “Colt” written on it, was a collector’s edition, Colt .45 caliber revolver. And it had a pearl handle! It was stunning. He found some ammo and loaded it. Spinning the chamber, he then closed it. Next he looked around the house for bottles and cans. He could go target practicing!

It wasn’t until he was outside, ready to shoot, that he remembered Miriam. A stab of pain shot him in the heart, realizing how badly he had sounded earlier. He didn’t realize it but she had been crying the entire time, since he had left. He would never do anything to hurt her, not intentionally, and he knew she would hear the shooting. She would be horrified, and she might even lose the baby!

It was also a Friday, which meant Miriam would be lighting the Sabbath candles in a few hours, and singing the prayers. He certainly didn’t want to mess that up. He loved her singing, and he had no intentions of being a hypocrite by being angry during their beautiful time together. He loved the Amharic and the Hebrew.

He opened the chamber of the revolver, and dumped the ammo into his palm. He looked up at the sky and said, “Ok this one is in Your hands!” “Help me to trust”. As he walked back to the house he said out loud, “Maybe that’s what peace is all about…..….having the power but refusing to use it…..…” It was time to get back home, (without any guns) and apologize to his beautiful wife.

    

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”