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The world has ended, its once prosperous life brought to a sudden and painful end.

We heartlessly slaughtered it, hoping to satisfy the endless want of a god known as man, with little success. Not much has survived the onslaught, and whatever yet remains has abandoned the title of people. We no longer wish to be associated with an age or a creature that is characterized by nothing but death and destruction.

The fall of man had begun with the centuries-long process of deicide. A slow and methodical abandonment of everything that was once sacred left the groves, the temples, and the heavens empty. A species of apes had snuffed the divine flames one by one. At first, they left a single ember to burn and pitifully illuminate a piece of the heavens. It clung as hard as it could for millennia, but eventually, they snuffed even this ember out of existence.

Spiritual death always precedes physical ruin. Humanity’s fate was no different; once the sons of man had abandoned and forgotten all of their gods, they turned ill with the innate emptiness that festered at their cores in the complete absence of spirituality or overarching life purpose.

With the emptiness came the attempts to cure the plague of despair that has stricken humankind, but corrupt and greedy manipulated the masses into believing that there is only one way to escape the grasp of the internal void - the worship of self. The ego was to be exalted, lionized, and sanctified. Man has ascended to the throne of the universe. Everything from the stars to the dirt beneath one’s soles exists to serve one god, and one god alone - The Adamite race of the planet Earth.

No material wealth could truly satisfy the needs of the soul, and no matter how much wealth a man could grab onto, he’d never feel satisfied unless he had a purpose, and without a god of any kind, there was none left.

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The greedy and corrupt soon became the affluent and powerful. The poor remained poor. Their despair only grew worse with time. Befitting the sinful nature of the beast, the affluent and powerful simply instructed the Hoi Polloi to keep on emphasizing their inner self. To worship a shell, to feel at peace with the gaping wound in one’s heart.

There is no peace of mind when one is ill or wounded and thus the world has consumed more to satiate its lust for something it couldn’t even comprehend anymore. The world had consumed without thought. It took everything from the swamps to the stars. It raped the earth until there was nothing left to take and it still took more.

Mother Nature finally had had enough of the parasitic pest slowly draining her dry. Her retribution was swift and unforgiving. Cataclysms swept through entire continents. There were wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, floods, and thunderstorms spanning entire countries.

The average person knew none the wiser and under the unchanging command of the Privileged Few, the legions kept on pillaging the earth even after it spat fire from its core at them. Nothing could stop the starving masses from sinking their teeth and claws into whichever they wanted. Whichever was theirs by birthright.

They took and took and took until the world fell ill with a famine. One unlike any ever seen before. By the time the Many had realized they were about to starve themselves, the Few were already gone. Hidden away like rats in their doomsday bunkers. They had prepared for this exact moment - they longed for it.

It was their orchestration.

The famine brought wars, cruel and endless wars over the scarce resources that not a single nation nor any land could secure for longer than the blink of an eye before being forced into yet another conflict. The affluent rat men commanded these wars from a safe distance.

Perhaps their goal was to eliminate their kind. Perhaps they were just amused by the carnage. After all, these were nothing but vermin wrapped in shining metals. No good could’ve come from such creatures, only pure and unchecked evil.

To the credit of the masses, a modicum of sense had remained among their ranks. Enough sense to avoid the use of planet-destroying weaponry. Even if the use of weapons of mass destruction was commonplace, there were still red lines no one dared to cross. At that point, no one aimed for the total annihilation of that god-forsaken race.

The reality of war is one without winners, only losers. The longer a war drags on, the more it becomes a fertile ground for the other horsemen of doom.

Humans weakened by widespread famine and the endless stress of war and death became susceptible to disease.

Lyssa, Plague, Tuberculosis, Ebola, Great Flu, Anthrax, Small Pox, Malaria, Brain-eating E. Coli and so much more had spread in their midst like wildfire. Reaping human lives like a fruit awaiting the harvest. Worst of all was the Manticora Gula. The Man Eater disease. A condition that had afflicted the human species with a terrible lust for human flesh, completely incurable and utterly unstoppable. It spread through the air, infecting our bodies through our breath, taking over many unsuspecting hosts. It burned alive some in bouts of unrelenting fever while turning others into something that was no longer human. Those who burned were the lucky ones. The madness of this diabolical condition forced those who survived the initial fever to consume flesh to satiate their hunger, but even that wouldn’t save many of them from certain death. Many of the afflicted simply wasted away, no matter how many humans they’ve consumed - while others survived; forced to live with the scars of being a man-eater. A monster forever branded by scar tissue of severe starvation wounds.

The bane of the Manticora was so severe it had forced every land and every nation to come together to face the newly shared threat of rabid ghouls attempting to consume every man, woman, and child they came across with no regard for allegiance or kin.

Their brutality of the following bloodshed was unmatched. The death toll stood in the billions, leaving the stench of death to hang in the air for months and months on end. Rivers ran red with blood and decomposing corpses, serving as meals for the starving dogs and vultures filled the fields. The great war against the man-eaters spared not a single soul across the face of the planet. Everyone was affected, either by knowing someone involved, losing someone, or being involved in the conflict directly. Despite humanity’s greatest effort to cull the disease, it couldn’t accomplish the goal. No matter how many man-eaters the humans put down or contained, the plague spread on and on until it simply vanished without a trace.

It ended on its own, leaving the world torn between the uninfected and those whom the disease has branded forever with a mark more infamous than Cain’s. Mother Earth had burned the old world to ashes and from these ashes, it seemed like a new one would rise. One led by the men and women who served their kind in its darkest hour as leaders and heroes.

This new world’s leaders ordered the rounding of all the remaining man-eaters and gathered together to decide their fates. After a long deliberation; their collective decision was that for the crimes committed against humanity by those who were lucid; they were all set to be executed.

The overwhelming majority of man-eaters did not oppose such a fate, considering the great shame and pain they felt once their minds were no longer clouded by their vile appetites. They felt as though they had forfeited their right to life after so many lives needlessly.

Or so the legends tell…

Unfortunately, before the new world leaders could carry out their sentence, the rat-men draped in gold and diamonds crawled out of their burrows, proclaiming that the world was still theirs. The subhuman, self-proclaimed masters of the old world spoke in a singular voice against the collective sentencing of the man-eaters.

“Genocide!” they cried.

Rallying the masses behind them, they sought what they called true justice for what was no longer human under the non-existent codex of humanity. Their ploy failed, however, and the only thing their serpentine poison only inflamed old passions amongst men once more.

War broke out again. This time, there was no limit to what was permissible. It was the war of all wars, the war to truly end all others. The war to end everything. This time, the rat-men could not escape to their underground cities. The raging masses whose anger they - themselves incited trapped them on the surface, in the middle of the killing fields.

Victims of their own success.

Prisoners in a gilded cage they had built for themselves.

Civil war was always the bloodiest type of war, and the globalists of old thought that by uniting the world under a single banner, humans would cease their interspecies fighting. The globalists of old didn’t consider the suicidality of this race. A civil war was a gruesome affair, and yet these people were striving for violent evolutions, until one came, and they were nowhere to be found.

A globe-encompassing civil war was the bloodiest war imaginable, as one would expect. When the war had begun, there were nearly two billion humans alive, after the first year less than a quarter remained. Mass murder on an industrial and unprecedented scale. The dead outnumbered the living by an ever-increasing number with each passing day.

An atrocious level of brutality only found in the most graphic depictions of abyssal demonic violence swept all across the globe. Fumes of deadly neurotoxin, chemical fires, and vacuum munitions poisoned the air. A necessary sacrifice to the great infernal bursts of inescapable hellfire that mutilated and scarred the face of the earth. Urban turning into mass graves meant to contain barely humanoid creatures burnt asunder. Whatever was left of the species of the Intelligent Man had to face a rapidly unfolding self-imposed extinction event.

Historical pictures from old forgotten wars proved pale compared to the carnage the Adamite abomination had unleashed on its own kind a mere two decades ago. The further they marched into the jaws of oblivion, the worse their inhumanity had turned. With the dwindling numbers came an escalation of firepower. Accompanying the tightening grasp of death came the maddening desperation. What we once called humankind was already on the brink of annihilation when one madman, forgotten by the annals of history, made the brilliant decision to set the heavens ablaze in a rain of nuclear fire. The others followed suit, mindlessly condemning themselves to a slow and agonizing death.

Nuclear bomb

I still remember that night. I remember it as clear as day. It took the likeness of one. I was gazing at the stars when the first flash of fire lightened up a patch of the night sky, while I was admiring the sudden burst of light another infernal orb appeared followed by another and another until the entire night sky shone brightly with a sea of glowing miniature suns slowly morphing into fungal effigies of man.

At this moment, all I could do was laugh, for I knew what was to come. I can’t say I have foreseen this future, not at all. I still knew what had unfolded. The rest of us had steered the ship into the surface of the sun in a self-destructive effort to drag everything with us to hell out of sheer spite.

A nuclear holocaust has unfolded right before my eyes and all I could do was laugh at the irony of my predicament. Being so far away from any population center for so long meant I was equally likely to succumb to the cataclysm as I was to survive, thanks to my experience in these inhospitable conditions. I haven’t laughed the way I did that night in a while; there isn’t much to laugh about around anymore.

I slept well that night. When I woke up the next day, I was sure it was still night, but quickly realized that it was way past noon. The nuclear firestorm had darkened the heavens and plunged the face of the earth into perpetual winter. A winter has now lasted for the last two decades. All living matter is suffering, but life always finds a way. It will eventually adapt even to these seemingly unbearable conditions.

I seldom meet others like myself out here. The world has died, and with it, the human parasite. Whatever remains now is no longer human. We still look the same, mostly, but we’re different. We’re ghosts, a cursed remnant from a rather gloomy epoch in this planet’s history spanning billions of years. This planet has gotten big again, travel happens by foot or by horse, and the best horses are the smallest ones.

The last time I saw another survivor was when one of the rat-man showed up at my doorstep. Demanding food and shelter, because he is the son of some vermin whose name I couldn’t hear. I gave him what he was looking for - his untimely death.

For someone who looked like he hadn’t seen food or a shower in about three centuries, the parasite made a lot of noise about his pedigree. Until I blasted his shin into pieces, that is. After that, he was weeping and moaning a lot until the cold took him. The freezing temperatures made sure he would suffer as his body slowly expired because of exposure to the elements, making sure bleeding out wasn’t an option. It was a deliberate and methodical ending to a thing that didn’t deserve the gifts life had given him. I spent that day watching as he was slowly succumbing. At first, he was brazen and attempted to threaten with the prospect of revenge against me through the pain. He even tried crawling away, but realized he wouldn’t get far. After a while, he figured out, he couldn’t do much without my help and became a bit more apologetic. Before finally groveling at my feet when he realized that this old man would let him end up as a sacrifice to King Winter.

I’ll admit this much; had I any shred of compassion left in me when he showed up at my doorstep, I’d blast his brains off when the delirium took hold of him. Had I met this man twenty-five years prior, he’d be a dead once he started talking mindless nonsense. The moment his declining mind forced his mouth to reveal the atrocities he had committed before the war, with the glee of a drunkard, no less, I’d turn his skull into a paste. All the theft, rape, and murder he had committed; and all the lives he ruined; he deserved punishment. I, however, had no desire for vengeance or justice left in me anymore. These things no longer matter in my world. I live with no strings attached, enjoying what life may offer me and welcoming death once it comes. There are no strong emotions, nor any kind of sympathy, left in this shadow of an unclean spirit once forced to consume the flesh of the freshly dead to avoid devouring the living.

When the Manticora came, it afflicted me too, along with my entire family. My wife; Anna and our three daughters, Sophie, Zoe, and Ophelia. They all burned in the fever, but I survived the flames and became a man-eater, even though I refused to eat the living and forced myself to consume the recently deceased.

I wasn’t the only ghoul who refused to feast on those who still had a chance at life. There were quite a few of us who patrolled the hospitals, morgues, and graveyards. It was vile at first. The desecration of graves was beyond abhorrent initially, but we did what we thought we had to.

That said, eating corpses doesn’t come without risk and I know I partook with little regard for my safety. Maybe it was an attempt to rejoin my family… I don’t remember anymore… Maybe I was trying to catch something else, to die from a kind of horrible disease for surviving the Manticora…

I used to get nightmares in which I’d experience the deaths of my daughters repeatedly. I’d watch them, helplessly, whimper in pain as their bodies spasmed and their organs boiled in their skin. My mind forced me to endure the sight of them slipping in and out of consciousness, begging for help and later for death. These nightmares would keep me awake for days on end… Even if what truly happened, their illness and subsequent deaths were much more peaceful than what my mind wanted me to remember. The guilt of outliving my family has haunted me for decades.

It’s no longer there, anymore. I don’t get the nightmares; I don’t get nostalgic about the old photos. The memories are still there, but they don’t carry any weight anymore. Perhaps it’s an effect of my prolonged isolation.

Maybe I am at peace, or maybe I am truly no longer human…



Written by MLycantrope
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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