The last human sits perfectly still on an empty patch of ground beneath a yellow sky, waiting.

If he has a wish, it’s the one he’s always carried and returned to: to go back and take the place of one once cast so unfairly out to die.

But with fond adoration and sweetness, he also recollects a later time when each human was given the power and freedom to create others . . . beings like them with whom they could do anything at all.

The humans could cause their beings to suffer.

But none did.

And now ancient wheels of irony begin to creak again, almost cracking loose to turn.

But the machine inside has long since been laid to rest.

And the human doesn’t smile . . . not quite.

If anything, he mourns the fact that consciousness of self might be about to end in the universe.

But the mourning stops long before his mind does.

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