Saturday, January 16, 2016

Liberty #56: I Was Hitler / The Last Man

I Was Hitler

“Six months. Six months I waited for this. Of all the people who came before. Of all the people I could’ve been…why him?” I said out loud, complaining to no one. I picked up the paper and
read over the names of my former lives again.

Joshua Wilson Donald, July 26, 2023 – alive
Marcus Anthony Fordham, January 19, 1987 – July 25, 2023
Robert Angelo D’Agostino, May 1, 1945 – January 18, 1987
Adolf Hitler, April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945
Nikolai Kremlov, March 18, 1783 – April 19, 1889
Christopher Aiokiev, August 17, 1709 – March 17, 1783

The name just stood out to me, mockingly. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and dialed my sister Emily. “Hey, Emily, you know the appeals process for your past lives?” Emily had worked at the Department of Health and Human Services-Former Lives Division since her sophomore year of college and knew that area like the back of her hand. “Has anyone ever successfully appealed to not have their past lives publically listed?”

“Not in the fifteen years I’ve been with the DHHS and I don’t think there has been a successful appeal since this whole former lives thing started nearly 40 years ago.”

“Why do they have to make the lives public?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I don’t want mine,” Emily said.

“Can you come over after work? Maybe you can help me put this into perspective.”

When Emily arrived, I let her in and she immediately grabbed the paper with my former lives on it and began reading. “Holy shit. Hitler? I’ve never known anyone with someone famous in their past lives. I mean, I know it’s Hitler but still,” Emily said, ecstatic about being related, even generations apart, to someone well-known.

“It’s not that one I’m worried about. I think we’ve all decided how we feel about Hitler but, here,” I handed Emily some papers that had been printed off of a website.

“Nikolai Kremlov?” she read. “What the hell? Raped and killed about 30 young children in Petropavlovsk, Russia between 1825 and 1847. The bones of the children were found after he died in 1889 buried under his house in shallow graves. At least it’s not as bad as Hitler.”

“Two murderers in a row. Do you know who else has two murderers in a row?”

Emily shook her head and shrugged.

“No one. I did a search. A lot of people have one killer in their former lives but none of them have more than one. And my life only goes back 345 years. I saw lives that went back 3,000 years none of them had two killers,” I shouted. I sat down in a chair and looked at the floor.

“I’m sorry, Josh. I don’t know what to tell you,” she came over to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. “You know you’re nothing like Hitler or Nikolai Kremlov, right?”

“I guess but still. It’s a little disarming,” I looked up at Emily and grinned a little.

“Are you hungry? Do you want to grab dinner?” she asked me.

“Yeah, I could go for some food.”

I grabbed my keys off the table and she sat the former life and Nikolai Kremlov papers on the table. As we walked out the door, she chuckled. “If you ever get really bossy, people can tell you that you are ‘literally Hitler.’”

“Thanks, that makes me feel so much better,” I rolled my eyes.

“I knew it would.”

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The Last Man

He went to bed late. It was the sun that woke him up. As he got ready for the day, everything seemed normal. It wasn’t until he went downstairs and out of the apartment building that he noticed no one else was around. The city was eerily quiet, somewhere it sounded like a loose sign was banging against its pole. The stoplight at the corner continued working like there were still cars approaching the intersection.

“Hello?” he shouted, his voice echoing throughout the canyons of street. He pulled out his cell phone and began texting to everyone in his contacts. Three simple words: Are you there? No immediate responses. He slid his phone back in his pocket and began walking down the street. He decided to go to his best friend’s apartment, not expecting much.

As he walked through the neighborhoods, nothing changed. No people emerged, no sounds insinuating life erupted, no clue as to what happened showed itself. He arrived at his friend’s building and walked up the stairs to his floor and knocked on his door. No answer, as he expected. He tried the knob, which was locked.

“Hello?” he shouted, loud enough so that if anyone was in the building they could hear him. When no one acknowledged his presence he began kicking the door in which he accomplished on his third try.

Everything was how he remembered it except there was no evidence of his friend or of what happened. He began wondering what could’ve happened and why he was still here. He closed his friend’s door and began walking home. It seemed to have gotten quieter as he could now hear the soft click of the traffic lights changing color.

When he got home, he turned on the TV which still had programs on it. Pre-recorded and pre-scheduled stuff were airing just fine. News channels, live feeds, however, were either off the air or were just showing an empty desk.

It was weird watching the TV show reruns. Even though he was a human and had been around humans all his life, seeing these…creatures…was strange to him.

He got online and all of it, at least the sites he went to, were working well but nothing had been updated in almost twelve hours and no one had posted what, if anything, had happened which made him think everyone disappeared at the same time.

He began posting things online. Comments, Facebook posts, Tweets and even things on Reddit and other random social sites hoping someone else was out there but there were no new updates and no responses.

What was he supposed to do now? Why was he left here? Where did everyone else go? If no one comes back and he doesn’t disappear, how long could he live? A few weeks? Months? A year or more? To him, all of those were a good possibility. How would he pass the time? Sooner or later everything would stop working because no one was around to keep things running.

Should he travel? Should he stay here in case it all goes back to normal? As he thought about all these different scenarios and attempted to find a way to handle them, there was a knock at his door.

He quickly turned his head and stared at the door. Whatever was on the other side of the door, knocked again.