FICTION: The Last Caucasian, Ch. 2
It’s Chris’s fault. He encouraged me.
I drank from the trickling stream. The cold made its way through my insides. Invigorating. I looked at my watch. It was 5:14 but I wasn’t sure if it was AM or PM. Before the … before the whole thing, the standoff with the Feds, I hadn’t slept for at least thirty six hours. I sat in the dark to think. To take a little time to get my head straight. I dreamt. About Laquita. About my adopted parents. About the Guthries. It was all a jumble. Everything in the wrong places and mixed together. That’s how dreams are.
And then I started thinking, you know. Like how there was no way. There was just no way that every last white person on the planet was gone. I mean, how is that even possible? Even with diseases there’s always a certain percentage that are immune, right? So how could they all be gone. Except me, I mean. No way. Cause even when they say animals are extinct, fifty years later they find one. Oh god. Will that be me? Will I be the one they find? A coelacanth. Albusaurus Rex. No, that would have been Will.
I ached from nostalgia with a visceral pang. I wished I could have been at school. Laquita and I would spoon on her twin mattress on Saturday mornings watching cartoons. When we finally got out of bed we’d have brunch at the dining hall and then walk around campus. Sometimes we would picnic beneath that giant, out of place oak tree.
I’m not saying things were perfect but they were damn sure better than now. Even though there were times I could have wished to be holed up in a cave rather than … than pretending. We had dinner at Sylvia’s Restaurant, the national soul food chain. Me, Laquita, some of my friends. Hers, too. Like that big guy. What was his name? Jamal. Jamaican Jamal. Jamallin’ me crazy. It was all good until someone said something that ate at me for days.
Jamal said, “Yo, on the news right. They sayin’ that there ain’t no more white French people.”
“Where’d they go?” someone asked.
“They gone,” Jamal said. And he kind of grinned when he said it.
“Dead gone? Or gone somewhere else?”
“I dunno. Run away, inter-racial. Dead. Whatever. Shit. Who I look like? Mahfuckin’ Darwin ‘n shit?”
They all laughed. I mean, I laughed, too. We all did. I’m not proud to say it but that didn’t bother me so much. It was expected. You could look at the numbers and see that France of all places was ultimately going to be an Islamic country. Hell, even in the UK it was a narrow vote to not rename London to New Bangalore. Africans in Sweden. Pakistanis. The world wasn’t just changing. A lot of it had already changed.
I said, “Damn, Jamal. If that grin’s not for eating shit, I don’t know what is. What are you so happy about?”
He said, “It was just a matter of time, man. White Man finally gettin’ his. That’s all.”
“Gettin’ his what?”
“Karma, man,” he said. “All that shit comin’ back on him. For crimes against humanity ‘n shit.”
“Death sentence for that shit,” Kevin said.
“I don’t know about all ‘at,” Lakita said.
It was quiet for a moment when the waitress came back with our drinks.
I was like, “Don’t you think it’s kind of … I don’t know. Messed up? Kind of sad for an entire race? A people to disappear?”
This is what got to me. Maria said, “Good riddance.”
“Whoa whoa whoa. I don’t know about that,” Ali said.
I said, “Bruh, you’re talking about genocide. You’re talking about the world losing who knows how any ethnic populations.”
And Laquita said, “Well, they happened before. Maybe they’ll happen again.”
“Happened?” I said. I couldn’t believe that shit. None of them had ever been personally hurt by a white person. Crimes against whites were epidemic even though they were mostly killed by each other in the conclaves.
“Yeh. Like when they left the Mother Land and wandered off to the caves ‘n shit in Europe and what not,” Jamal said.
“‘N shit,” I said.
“Yeh, man. Wandered off and lost that melanin. Couldn’t handle the heat. The sun. Life giver, the sun ‘n shit. Culture of death, man.”
Then I was like, “So you’re saying that, what, brown people are better than white people? How can you say that? Caucasians are a fraction of the world’s population now. They don’t hold much power except in a few places and nothing on a global scale. But look at the world. Pakistan and India are still at war with each other. Talibania and Saudi Arabia have killed God only knows how many people with the field tactical nukes. Civil war between Christians and Muslims in the Phillipines. Violent crime in the US. Hell, the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Chinese Caucus just got into a fist fight on the floor last week. You know? People are people.”
“Amen,” Laquita said and rubbed my arm. “Men and their guns. Now, if women were running the world….”
“Look,” Kevin said. “All I’m saying is that white folks have always been outnumbered. You look at a map, a globe, and there was what. United States, Canada, England, France, Norway, Sweden, uh.”
“Finland, Belgium, Germany,” Jamal added.
“Yeh, see. Europe’s not that big.”
“What about Russia?” Maria asked. “Russia’s big.”
“Yeh,” Jamal said, “but Russia’s Asiatic. Got all those Africans ‘n shit, too. Immigrants.”
“My point is that if you’re, like, ten percent of the world’s population and you’ve got recessive genes, it’s only a matter of time. Not like there’s been any such thing as pure blooded anything for centuries,” Kevin said.
“Except for Japan,” Laquita said. “What? I did my foreign exchange there.”
“But it’s like the frogs . That’s the thing.”
“You mean the French?”
“No, not the French,” I said. “Frogs. When frogs, the little amphibians that go ‘ribbit’, were put on the endangered species list it meant that everything was fucked up. Dying frogs means the water’s poison. That means fish with diseases and chemicals, too, which means that we had more toxic crap in our systems.”
“My point,” I said, rolling my eyes in disbelief, “is that if one human population dies off suddenly, the rest of us can’t be too far behind. When we started saving the frogs by cleaning up the water, cancer rates dropped. Autism, asthma.”
“I’m tellin’ you, man. This is karma.”
I said, “But look. We, the human race, let — what’s the CDC saying now — at least 93% of whites around the world to die off. Just sat there and watched and by the time we started to do something, appropriated the funds and research facilities, it was too late. Before we even believed it was happening. We just let it happen. Like, what if the world just stood by and watched the Holocaust happen?”
“Which one?” Maria asked. “Which Holocaust?”
“World War II. The Nazis. Or … the ones after that, too,” I said trying not to get too flustered. “What I’m saying is, this is the same thing. It’s just nature and viruses instead of gas chambers and goosesteppers. That’s going to get you some karma.”
“Diseased, small pox blanket spreading. Karma.”
“We gotta get you a ‘Save the Whites’ T-shirt, yo,” Jamal Said.
The conversation got a little heated after that. I didn’t think I was expressing a particularly white point of view. Just more of a human being with some goddamn empathy for other human beings point of view. Jamal was being an asshole. Our voices were getting louder and louder. Finally, Laquita said, “It’s all right, baby. Calm down.”
The thing is, she wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to Jamal. I looked over at him, but he wouldn’t look me in the eye after that. He found his menu really interesting after that, too. Damn. I had almost forgotten about that night. I wish I could have. It was too bad that I had that particular recollection because with that ping ponging around in my head I couldn’t sit still. I felt restless. I needed a distraction. I felt the need to move. I had to leave the cave. It was making me claustrophobic.
I was out of rations. All I had in my backpack was a thermos and glow sticks. I bent a glow stick to light it. My first light in at least two days. The cave was damp and dark with the exception of arrows pointing toward an exit. Smart. I needed more supplies, though, so I made my way upstream against the arrows back to the Guthrie house.
All this time I had expected to hear someone coming in after me, but when I tried to push the trap door open it wouldn’t give. There was something heavy on top of it. Either something fell on top of the trap door or someone pushed something over it to cover my trail. I pushed with my shoulders the best I could but the trap door wouldn’t budge. I kicked the wall behind the ladder in frustration and it crumbled. Looking closer I could see that there was an opening. Another passage that had been covered up with a wall of mud.
I dug at the clay textured mud until the opening was clear. I crawled in and eventually it grew wider and taller until I could walk upright again. Eventually I came to another ladder. This one opened with a little effort. Hay fell in as I pushed upward. This trap door was in the barn. I almost fell because the first thing I saw was the face of a dead horse on the ground, its eyes open and staring at me. Flies buzzing. It was Stormstrang, Will’s horse. It had been beautiful when it was alive. The color of varnished cherry wood and a tawny golden brown mane.
It was dark but the sun was threatening to rise. I climbed out and headed to the house. It took me nearly half an hour because I inched around every corner and stopped to listen after every few steps. No chances. I stopped and stood at the front door. It was open. A pool of dried blood stained the cobbled stone and the door jamb. There were bullet holes everywhere. Inside the house, dim, oblique morning light poked holes through the mist of swirling dust. It stank. I thought I knew why. My eyes watered with tears more because of the stench than emotion. I braced myself on the kitchen table, which now stood on three legs instead of four. My foot hit someting soft. I hesitated. I have to admit that I didn’t want to look but I did. Three little bodies where there, a blanket placed over them: seven year old Joseph Guthrie, six year old Reagan Guthrie and three year old Eva Guthrie.
My eyes more than watered. Problem was, that if the bodies were still there that meant that the scene was still being processed. Someone would be back. I made my way into the living room. Two of the pregnant cousins were sprawled on the floor. Eight other Hatfields as well. I went upstairs quickly. Ma and Pa Guthrie were in the master bedroom. Riddled with bullets. Probably tried to get to higher ground for a better vantage. I looked out of the window in the distance and saw black smoke rising lazily from a mound of something against the slowly lightening sky.
Jesus. They brought down the helicopter. A tubular weapon lay by the window. Rocket launcher? Where the hell did they get that?
No Will. He wasn’t here. And two of his brothers were unaccounted for as well. From the back bedroom I saw three savaged forms laying in the field behind the house. Large divots around them and clotted chunks of something. The mine field.
From the window in the next room you could see the road for miles. The headlights of a small convoy shone as they crested the horizon. Shit. I hurried around the house, grabbing anything useful and stuffed it into my backpack. Then I ran out the front door hoping I’d have enough time to make it to the barn. It wasn’t until I closed the trap door safely behind me, hoping that the hay I threw on it would cover it, that I realized I had taken a stash of canned food but forgot the can opener.
In the cave I followed the arrows. Lit by the green glow sticks I walked and crawled for at least two uneven, slippery miles before I saw daylight. The passage intersected with the wall of a large concrete drainage system. The Guthries were thorough. Had to give them that. I pointed myself toward the light and walked into a meadow. I walked the entire day, headed north the best I could. I didn’t see a single person all day. If I had I would have asked for a can opener. I was starving. Eventually, in the distance I saw a house in the middle of massive fields of crops. Dusk was approaching and warm, yellow light poured from the windows, cozy. I sat down on a hillside, pulled my knees to my chest and rested. I must have drifted off to sleep because when I opened my eyes I was looking at a pair of boots.
“You’re on private property, señor,” the voice that accompanied the boots said. I looked up at the man who was holding a double barreled shotgun. In Spanish he said, “Come with me.”
“I’m so tired,” I said. My eyes welled with tears. It was getting to me.
“Come with me, señor.”