Day 73 of 100 Word Prompts: Nature
Gideon paced back and forth outside his hotel. He was unsure of what to do with himself but knew that he needed to do something. It had been too long of a day already, yet, based on where the sun rested high above him, the day still had a lot left to it.
“Why me?” Gideon mumbled as he stepped off the curb and set off in a northerly direction. “Why am I the only one left?”
Gideon thought about it for a moment as he crossed the empty street, not even bothering to look in either direction. It had been two weeks since he had seen another person, and so far hadn’t been able to locate another. As far as he was concerned, where they had gone was irrelevant. What mattered to him was why he was alone.
He stepped up to the opposite curb and onto the grass of the park across the street. The fountain in the pond still jetted water fifteen feet into the air before it came splashing down into the tiered bowls. Cars lined the parking area on the other side, and blankets littered the grass around him.
“Pigs,” Gideon spat as he scooped up a few of them, dropping them on the trashcans along the path.
“Hello?” A voice called from ahead of him, “Gideon, are you there?”
Gideon froze, stooping low to look under the branches for a better angle. Though he couldn’t see the face of the person, from where he stood, he could see, quite, clearly the feet of someone wearing what appeared to be flat-bottomed skater shoes. A small shiver of revulsion went through Gideon as he straightened his collar.
“Did I lose him again?” the voice muttered as the feet turned and stepped off the roof of the car. Gideon could see a short, dark-haired person wearing jeans and a t-shirt shaking their head as they walked away from him. “Boss is going to be so angry with me. How in His name does one forget a single human? I mean, it’s unprecedented. There was a list and everything-”
“Hello?” Gideon called, interrupting the stream of thought from the person. “Do I know you?”
The person was, in fact, a man, who, upon hearing Gideon’s voice, spun quickly, and threw their arms into the air in their excitement. He ran up to Gideon awkwardly, legs jutting out to each side as though he wasn’t accustomed to using them.
“Gideon Pertinton?” the man asked, leaning very close as though looking into Gideon.
“Yes?” Gideon replied, confused, “And you are?”
“Oh, thank heavens!” the man sighed as his entire body went limp. He threw a hand on Gideon’s shoulder and leaned in close. “The name’s Devon, an angel of the Lord. Nice to meet you.”
“Angel, of the Lord?” Gideon replied, tilting his head to one side as he peeled Devon’s hand from his shoulder, checking that the contact hadn’t soiled his clothes. “I think you may have lost a few of your marbles in the recent weeks. You see, everyone else has vanished, but I, and now you, are here. Not really sure why, of course-”
“Why?” Devon said, a beaming smile, “the rapture, of course. My Father claimed the souls of the world in a final act of supreme judgment. I’ll let you know now, the vast majority of your kind went-” He paused and pointed a thumbs down, making a raspberry noise with his tongue sticking out of his mouth. “-downstairs. You should feel lucky that we missed you, though no one’s really sure why you were left here.”
“Perhaps it was a mistake,” Gideon suggested, his mind trying desperately to figure out if this man was telling the truth, or had, as he suspected, completely lost his mind.
“That’s not it,” Devon replied, shaking his head.
“How do you know?” Gideon asked.
“Well, for starters, the Lord does not make mistakes. There are no oversights or shortcomings. Never in all of existence, and before it even, has my Father ever been wrong,” Devon said.
“That must get frustrating,” Gideon said, not believing a word coming from Devon’s mouth.
“Not at all. Now, if you would follow me, we need to get you to an extraction point so that we can clean all of this up,” Devon finished his sentence with a wave of his hand and a curled lip of disgust as he motioned away from him.
“You just motioned toward, well, everything,” Gideon said, shaking his head, “And who is ‘we?’ You and me? I think that’s a very bad plan.”
“Not you and me,” Devon said, walking toward the main road, “My brothers and sisters. We are going to clean all this up. Get it back to what it was before your lot messes everything up with your free will and whatnot.”
“I did no such thing,” Gideon protested, following Devon out into the street. “I was a saint-”
“HA!” Devon laughed, right into Gideon’s face. “You were no such thing!”
“How would you know, you’ve only just met me,” Gideon said. “I lived my life aiming solely not to make life difficult for other people, but also to keep life comfortable for myself. I never littered, but always picked up trash where I found it. I never stole, yet gave indiscriminately to those in need. I lived-”
“You lived life like a ghost, didn’t you?” Devon asked. “No one knew your name or where you lived, did they?”
“No, I had friends at work, and at the church, and the gym,” Gideon said, knowing it to be a lie. “Several people I saw daily even.”
“Listen, pal, you don’t need to lie to me about it,” Devon said, “It’s not like I care. I was tasked with finding you, and I’ve done that. Now, where did I leave that extraction point?”
Gideon watched as Devon walked in small circles, staring at the ground. Every now and then, he would bend over and pick up a pebble from the street, analyze it, mumble the word no, and toss it over his shoulder.
“You know, I think I may need to confess something to you,” Gideon said. “I think that you may have lost your mind slightly since the disappearing.”
“No, you don’t get it,” Devon replied, picking up another pebble, shaking his head, and tossing it over his shoulder, “I’m an angel. I’m supposed to get you out of here.”
“I don’t think you get it, Devon,” Gideon replied, walking closer. “We are alone in the world now. There is only us left. There are no angels, or Gods or Devils, or Raptures. It’s just us, and we are going to need to learn to accept that. Now, would you prefer to split everything east-west, or north-south?”
“Ah-ha!” Devon said, plucking a blue pebble from the street, “I found it! Stand back.”
Gideon watched Devon toss the pebble in front of him as though he were remaking a live-action version of a Pokemon show. The stone hit the ground, bounced a few times, and came to rest very near the curb.
“I don’t see anything,” Gideon said.
“That’s weird,” Devon said, walking forward. “It should have worked.”
“I told you, Buddy, we’re just alone now, but we’re alone together,” Gideon said with a sad nod.