Empty Planet

The world died centuries ago, leaving a scarred carcass behind—an empty planet full of empty cities. A fiery horizon burns in the lonely wasteland known formerly as the Mojave Desert; a solitary figure travels seeking justice.

Justice for the past.

Justice for the dead.

Justice for a soul that doesn’t deserve it at all.

He clutches a broken timepiece to his chest, imagines he can hear the mechanical ticking. A relic from the ancient past, outdated even before the world ended. Sometimes he uncovers fragments of objects he can’t even name; other times the sudden familiarity of a fractured watch triggers such emotional upheaval that he has to stop for the rest of the day.

He remembers someone waking him in the morning. A cheerful voice shouting, “Up and at ’em, lazy!” and a hand brushing his hair messily.

“Sun’s almost peak.”

He marvels at the timepiece. So much knowledge lost.

A hot blast of air tousles his hair, obscuring his field of vision for a moment. The watch’s face stares up at him and the weakness in him whispers to stop. He has nothing to live for, but at least he’s still alive. Isn’t that enough?

Grains of sand speckle the watch. He lets them fall gingerly, feeling numb.

No more waiting. Time’s up.