This was one of my earliest attempts at science fiction short story writing ...
He sits, completely silent, under the willow tree. His face, worn by the sands of time, shows no emotion. His clothes are ancient, mis-matched, years out of style, patched at elbow and knee and worn thin in many places. He resembles a common vagabond. He looks one hundred and fifty years old, and is.
There are many folding lawn chairs out for the afternoon show. He alone is the director, the cast of characters; He writes the script.
They have come from far and wide to hear Him speak. At first, they came in small groups, but now they come in hundreds. They come to see Him because they are curious. He is the last of a dying species. He is the last Man alive.
He knows His speech by heart. He has said it many times before. But today He will make a different speech. Today He will give His last.
He raises His head and lifts His hand in the air. A hush quickly falls over the crowd. Children are shushed. Slowly people begin to take their seats. The show begins.
"Do you know the First Law?" as his voice raises it begins to crack. He has felt ill for days. He clears his throat and begins again, a little quieter, "I will tell you of First Law, for it is the sole reason why only I remain. Without it there would surely be other Men alive."
He stands up and takes three careful steps toward the crowd. He has been told this adds dramatics to His performance but He knows it is really done so that everyone can see how weak and frail He is. So they can feel safe, smug in their own health and stregnth. He continues.
"Before I came to this city, I lived with the Isolists in a small farm north of VCBC." He inhales quickly and raises his voice, "Even before I had learned to say 'I love you.' to my mother I was taught to repeat these words..." He pauses, coughing, then quickly sputters out: "Before the Change there was Chaos, and the name of Chaos was Man. Man is Danger. Man is Death. Man must be hidden." He pauses, coughs, continues.
"For over three hundred years, since the Change, Men lived solely with the Isolists. The modern world believed we'd all died in the great y-chromosome plague. Only the few protectors knew we lived at all."
He growls under his breath and the audience gasps in unison. One lady takes her daughter's hand and gets up to leave.
"Please, do not go..." He again begins to cough, a few seconds pass before He is able to continue, "I fear today will be the last performance. I am sick and I am weak and I will be dead by morning." He looks toward the sky and smiles, then continues.
"By tomorrow morning, Man will be one more thing to add to your list of extinct species. For I truly am the last. Without me there can never be another. Fifty years ago, you could have reversed this problem. Instead, you chose to hunt us down and you brought us to these cities to live in zoo's and perform three times daily spectacles about how wonderful it is to be alive. It isn't wonderful. It never has been.
"Fifty years ago we numbered just over two hundred. We would have qualified back then, like many animals, for your endagered species list. You eventually passed laws to protect us. To keep us safe. But we were not animals. Can you not see that? I too have two arms, two legs. Like you I have two eyes, one heart. I am human too." The hacking cough returns, and tears appear in the corner of His eyes. There is some discussion in the back row about whether these tears constitute an emotional response or if they are just a response to the heavy coughing.
"We were no threat to you. Each man lived on a farm. He spent his entire life growing your food, raising your livestock. We had no hope of ever living the pleasurable lives you lead. We could not choose to go to your Universities, we could not have a career in technology. We could never marry, never bare children. At birth our entire life was mapped out. We would live hidden, serve the population with our daily labour, then eventually die.
"And we did live hidden, for many years. And though we never knew the pleasures of your day to day lives, we were content enough as we were."
"Then one day, we were discovered by a woman not of Isolist origin. She coupled with a young boy, not yet 21. And she gave birth to a male child.
"At first she gave this babe up to the Isolists. And she promised to keep the secret of our existence from your media and your academics. But as the years went by the ideas and possibilities for research whirled around in her mind until eventually she could keep our secret no longer. She chose to break the First Law. She told the world that Man was still living, in isolation, not extinct as many believed.
"And they hunted us down. Made us take their so called scientific tests, made to perform strange sexual acts, made to fight our own brothers in contests to death in order to test our strength and endurance. A lucky few were taken and killed humanely to be dissected for in depth study.
"You called us inhuman, abborations of the genetic code. You treated us as animals. You labelled us murderers and monsters. We who lead only lives of peace were condemned.
He begins to cough again, hacking and heaving and eventually vomiting. He lies down and closes his eyes, only those in the first few rows can hear his dying words: "Its finally over. I shall finally die, the last Man alive among animals."
Did I ever over use commas back then. Almost as bad as John Irving and his damned semi-colons. heh heh.