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art by Richard Gagnon

Last

Rich Larson is a 20-year-old student living in Edmonton, Alberta. His cyberpunk novel Devolution was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. His shorter work has since appeared in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Daily Science Fiction, Isotropic Fiction, Scifia and many others. He has stories forthcoming in the anthologies Here Be Monsters and Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction. His self-published sci-fi can be found at Amazon.com/author/richlarson.
He waited until Eta Carinae was in the viewport, roiling on its stellar winds. It was blinding.
"Four hundred times the size of the old sun," he said. "Which, of course, fit upwards of a million Earths."
She champed at the plastic in her mouth.
"And at peak population, Earth had, what, eleven billion people?"
She turned away. The skin of her neck was burned and blistered, like his, from the slow approach.
"And now there's only two of us," he said, craning to see the bodies drifting above them, each with a cauterized hole in the forehead. "Just the two of us with the whole universe in front of us."
Her head dropped to her chest. Then, slowly, she pushed towards the viewport.
"So now you want to see it, do you?" He smiled. "Think of all that room in there. Think of the vastness. If you could love me with the size of one Earth inside Eta Carinae, that would be enough. I'm not a greedy man, you know."
She maneuvered her bound hands to the airlock control.
"We're so important now, you and I." His eyes were rapt on the star. "The last two."
She pushed.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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