Last of its Kind. Short Story.

Danny lifted the curtain back and peered outside, he didn’t see anyone, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. He let the curtain fall back into place and took a step away from the window, just in case they started shooting. It didn’t seem like their style, but who knew these days? His stomach grumbled again, he hadn’t eaten since the day before yesterday for fear of poison. He had no way of knowing whether or not they had been in his house and it was too dangerous to go outside. He went into the kitchen and opened up his cupboards, finally he selected a tin of beans, he examined it carefully, there didn’t appear to be any punctures or damage to the cans. He looked around for the can opener. He had to eat something, he needed his strength. Danny looked at the rows of cans in his cupboard, he would just have to carefully examine each one. A sudden thought hit him and he grabbed a deep pot, quickly he filled it with water then he submerged the can and gave it a few squeezes. No bubbles, it was still sealed. He opened the can and threw the beans into a bowl, while they were heating he grabbed another few cans and tested them too.

Once the beans were cool enough to eat he shovelled them into his mouth, using the spoon to scrape the last few dregs out of the bowl. When he had finished testing the cans, only three of them had air bubbles. The rest were safe. They were tricky things, very, very tricky. That was how they survived, after all he thought he had killed all of them. The last surviving nest, he had been so proud, but obviously he had missed at least one. In another year or two the nest would be back at full strength and he would be dead, if he had any hope of survival he needed to go onto the offensive, but he needed to be careful. If he moved too fast they would trap him, too slow they’d attack before he had a chance to figure out his next step.

The doorbell rang. Danny froze. It rang again. He began making his way towards the front door, moving as quietly as possible, who ever it was started knocking too.
“Hello? Are you in there?”
Danny didn’t answer, he didn’t know how many there were exactly, if this was one of them they could have the house surrounded.

“Look, I’m not going to hurt you, I just want to talk. Hello?”
There was another bang at the door, “Fine, I promise I will not harm you in any way, shape or form for the next month. Deal?”
“On one condition, tell me how many of you are left.”
“Just me.”
It wasn’t lying, he knew that much, they couldn’t lie while making a deal.

He opened the door, “Can I come in?”
“Look, I already said I wasn’t going to hurt you. I’m tired, I’ve had a long day.”
Danny sighed, “Fine. If you do anything even remotely suspicious, I wont hesitate to use force.”
“Fine. Fine.”
Danny gestured for the thing to step inside. It looked like a young man, maybe early twenties, with dark hair and tanned skin, he had high cheek bones and dark red lips. Danny wasn’t surprised, of course it would appear attractive, made hunting for them easier. The thing walked passed Danny and into the kitchen, “Could I have a glass of water.”
Danny closed the door and followed, he grabbed down a glass and half filled it, the thing took the glass and drained it all, then he sat at the table. “Thank you, I needed that.”
“Why are you here?”
“To set up a truce.”
“A truce?”
“Yeah. I’m the last one left. There’s no more. I don’t want to die and I don’t want to have to spend the rest of my life worrying about being hunted by you or others like you.”
“How do I know you wont spread.”
It started laughing, “Seriously dude? You’re old enough to know about the birds and the bees.”
it chuckled again, then frowned, “Jesus you’re serious. Christ. How did you think we reproduced? Asexually?”
“No, you turn people.”
“Uh no? We can breed with people, but the babies are always sterile and usually take after the human. We need to have sex to have kids. There’s no women around, least not my kind.”

“And what about all the humans you’ll kill throughout your life?”
“What? I don’t kill people. Jesus. Not all of us are killers, like not all of you are killers. Some of us are normal, some of us are fucked up. Or were I guess now.”
“You don’t exactly seem upset over the loss of your family.”
it shrugged. “We were never that close. My dad was an asshole, abusive. My mum died when I was ten. I left home when I was sixteen. I haven’t seen any of them since. They were dead to me a long time ago. Look I’m taking a big risk here, I’m exposing myself, not just to you but to anyone else out there like you. I just want to be left in peace, I’ll swear anything, sign anything, do anything, just please promise to let me live my life.”

Danny sat across from him, thinking, it wasn’t lying, as far as it was aware it was the only one of its kind left. He nodded, “Ok, say we make a truce, how do I know you wont go back on it?”
“You know us, if we make a deal we can’t go back on it. I’ll have to follow what ever agreement we come to.”
“Ok. So, promise me you will make no move to kill me, or any other human, that you will not come after me or my family and friends, that you will not breed with any of your kind should you find that there are others still out there. You will not tell them about me or anyone I know or care about. You will not cause harm to me or anyone I care about directly or indirectly. You will never tell anyone who I am or where I live. If you come across anyone else like me you will never tell anyone else who they are.”

“Anything else?”
“No. I think that covers it.”

He sighed, “Ok, deal, once you promise to leave me alone, I’ll leave you and your kind alone. Everything you want me to agree to goes the same from you. If you break any of the agreements it will free me from our deal and I will know.”
Danny stuck out his hand and they shook. He tried not to shiver when the thing touched him. It’s skin felt normal, human.

Danny stood and went to the fridge, “Do you want a beer?”
“No, I don’t drink. A coffee would be great though.”

Danny nodded and started grabbing out the coffee and cups. He passed the drink to it and held up his beer bottle, they toasted and drank, sealing the deal. Danny took a long swallow of his beer then smiled. The thing smiled back at him, then frowned, it dropped the coffee cup, which shattered against the ground.
“You were right, you didn’t spend much around you’re kind. They would have never let me make them a drink. It was so easy to slip it into your coffee. You never even checked to see if there was anything in there.”
Danny shook his head as it fell from the chair and writhed on the ground, then took another sip of his beer. The things skin started to tighten, making it look gaunt, after a few seconds it stopped moving, the skin continued to age, until there were nothing left but bones and a green powder. Danny went to his cupboard and grabbed out a sweeping brush. The bones were thin but strong and highly prized, even more so now that the creatures were finally extinct. He started sweeping up the dust, he could get a few uses out of it too. When he was finished cleaning he drained his beer , it didn’t feel like the victory that it was, but either way it had to be done.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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