The Last One to Die
By William R.
''Today, class,'' the teacher began as the students shuffled in, ''we will be learning about Jac Johansen, the last human ever to die.''
''Teacher, what do you mean?'' One of the more inquisitive students asked. The teacher thought to herself of the tragedies the miracles in science had caused.
''Well, Jeremy, that's a good question. To die is to cease to exist in a mental sense.''
''Why did he die?'' Another student asked.
''This was when people used old-fashioned bodies, organic ones,'' she answered. ''These organic bodies would only last for around eighty years before they would break down in one way or another.''
''When did he die?'' A third student inquired.
''I was going to get to that.'' The teacher pressed a button on her desk and a document appeared on the screens of the desks of each student. ''We will study his journal, which he kept in the last months of his life. Everyone read this log and be prepared to be quizzed on it.''
A collective groan rose from the students, but they began to read. The teacher glanced down at the glow of her desk, reading his words again, feeling pain just as she had every time she read them.
February 10, 3006
The doctors came again today. They still want me to have the surgery. For what I hope will be the last time, I declined their suggestions. Immortal life doesn't appeal to me. I just want to rest.
February 15, 3006
I am betrayed. Jude finally gave in to the appeal of an unending life in a perfect, uniform, body. I am now utterly alone in this world. All others have either succeeded in ending their lives, o have consented to a half-life, with out feeling, without pain, nor joy, to become a machine. I only can hope that my time will draw to a close soon.
February 20, 3006
Jude got the surgery yesterday. The tragedy of seeing my own daughter sacrifice her life to science was overwhelming. Children are meant to live the legacy of the parents, and to see them off on their voyage into death, not the other way around.
March 3, 3006
I hope that I never am forced to see Jude again. She is no longer my daughter. She is a mere robot. Why must I live on like this, seeing all the fragments of my life crushed?
March 5, 3006
Something is going to happen, I can feel it coming.
March 13, 3006
I write this last page from my deathbed. The doctors still say they can save me if they perform the surgery quickly, but I am ready to die. It saddens me to know that I am the only human who will ever feel like this again. This is something that all people should know, to see that life is over. I am finally going home. I can rest.
The teacher was shaken from her sadness by the fake cough of one of her students. Startled, she stammered, ''Oh, yes. Sorry, class.'' She pressed the button on her desk again and a quiz popped up on the screen of every desk in the room, covering up the journal.
At the end of the class, she rambled home, still touched by the writing. When she got to her gray apartment, she opened the door, and partially shut it. She went straight to an elaborate urn in a corner of a bookshelf. The pot was labeled: To Jude, beloved daughter. She touched the urn with her robotic hand and wished she could still feel it. She muttered, ''I hope I'm not too late to see you again, Dad.'' She reached up to her neck and disconnected the nutrient tube that fed into her brain. Her eyes grew dark.