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The cavernous echoes roar in your ears.

Wearily, you grab your sharp rock and make another slash in the small piece of wood you use to mark the days.

It’s been two seasons since you’ve encountered another of your own kind.

The aching hollowness of your stomach signals your rising panic that has been mounting since the warm months—you do not have enough food. And the cold is coming fast.

Getting up off of a pile of old animal furs, a souvenir of the home you once shared with your clan. It had been many seasons since your clan had encountered another of your kind. Even before the earthquake.

A pang of sorrow rattles in your short, stocky frame.

You were out gathering wood. When you returned, there was a pile of boulders where your cave had once been. Where your clan had been awaiting your return.

You waited.

And waited.

But they were gone.

You eye the insufficient pile of nuts, berries and leaves. Nothing that could feed you through the cold season.

The clan used to hunt in groups, many people surrounding a large beast and separating it from its pack. The one to deliver the killing blow was the first to feast that night. The rest would be smoked and dried for winter.

Peeking out of the cave, a harsh, icy wind bites your face. You felt lucky to find this place—secluded from Them.

They came from the south.

At first, your kind welcomed them. Some of your kind even left to join Them.

Then their babies started to get sick.

Every third boy born to one of your kind and one of Them would die in infancy. Both sides associated death and misfortune with the other. They went to war.

You cut out routes that took you through Their settlements, otherwise following your same travel patterns year after year. Gradually you saw fewer and fewer faces that looked like yours. It has been twelve seasons since you have seen any.

Squinting against the wind, you set out for the small pool of fresh spring water. As you lower your hands into the water, you pause to study your reflection.

It’s nice to see a face again, even your own.

Especially your own.

The shape of your brow, the color of your hair and eyes—you don’t know it, but you are the last of your kind.

That hollow panic in your chest is more than hunger, more than loneliness. It is an existential dread that They will never imagine.

Your story will be erased, and Theirs will be written on top of it.

They will forget you. They will deny you existed. They will give you a name you never asked for, and then use it as an insult.