A Long Sleep

I have no fear of death. Must be wonderful, like a long sleep. —Katharine Hepburn

Sometimes, when she stared off into nothing for a long time, she could see the little particles of light-

(Is that what they were?)

-dance around. She was never certain where they came from or if they were even there-

(Was anything really there?)

-but she would look at them regardless.

They helped her feel less…lonely. Yes, that was the word. She was lonely. She hadn’t always been lonely, had she?

(No, once there were others all around her, weren’t there?)

Either way, she was lonely now.

She was old and there were very few who ever came to visit her now. Those that did would talk around her or at her, but not to her. They had tried talking to her in the earlier days of their visits-

(She still didn’t know who they were…)

-but she had such a hard time keeping track of the conversation that they often had to start it all over again every few minutes.

(She didn’t always make it that far, sometimes it was every few seconds.)

They kept coming anyway, though, and after some time, she’d come to appreciate the visits even if they were nothing more than companionable chatter all around her. She was like the rock in a stream, watching everything swim by but still enjoying the atmosphere of the little glade the river ran through.

(How their lovely faces would crinkle and worry and yet still hold so much love…)

She was smiling when her eyes closed for the last time.

What happened?

There weren’t a lot of people around anymore.

No one was really sure when it had happened, but one day there were no more people who’d made it even half-way through puberty. There were plenty of small children and babies all around, but with no one to care for them, many died. Not all of them, as others found them or were older siblings and thus able to care for them.

Most monetary items lost their value while others suddenly became of vital importance. After all, what children wanted most or needed most was different to what adults wanted or needed.

Still, many died and there were years of anarchy ahead of them, but if humanity had learned anything, even very young humans, it was to persevere through all odds. Some would survive and from that some, generations more would be born.

Many feared what would happen to them once they reached the age of 16 as anyone that age and older had vanished that one strange morning, but as time went on and those who turned 16 stayed alive to turn 17 and 18 and all of the ages above, that fear was forgotten and laid aside like so many other fears throughout the ages of humanity.

“Did anyone ever find out what happened?” a small girl with frizzy hair asked.

The elderly woman in front of her smiled sadly, “No, my child, we never did, Perhaps you might find the truth of it someday.”

Written for the Multiverse challenge of Youngsville: http://multiversechallenge.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/multiverse-fiction-challenge-may-1-2014/