The sun rose for another day over the empty European continent. After all this time it was still appalling to think that only myself and the birds of the sky and the animals of the ground inhabit this once great land. My heart still clung to the hope of another survivor, someone, anyone, and I would search the entire globe if necessary. I’d just left the wondrous and vacant city of Rome, and considered departing into Africa or Asia. Yet I could not resist heading north one final time.
This particular tale began after I’d constructed a small raft and went drifting down the Danube, through a region men used to call Bavaria. The sun shined down over the waters and as the morning went on I could see a small city ahead. It was partly surrounded by what looked like a foreboding ancient wall. I’d intended to continue down the river, but a desire to explore grew within me. I docked my raft and entered the city through a large walkthrough gate. While traveling through the village, I spotted a few other fortifications that remained intact. There was a tannish colored rectangular building, with a round tower like structure at its center. In a more forested area sat a grey stone structure. Upon seeing this I intended to camp here for the night, but wanted to explore more.
There were a few other Gothic buildings and a few churches. The largest of which was a Russian orthodox church with two onion domed towers. Some of the buildings had a yellowish tint, including one place downtown with a pair of shutter windows, to the right of which was a picture of a dragon and an inscription, but it was too faded to read. To the right was an image of two shields.
In vain, I’d wandered into some of the homes, hoping to find some person, anyone still walking this Earth. It was maddening to imagine another lone survivor in some home somewhere, and missing a chance of companionship by mere chance. Seeing the once inhabited rooms my mind drifted back to happier times surrounded by friends and laughter, but these things were all gone now. Still I did not spend long in this sea of my nostalgia. I may have had all the time in the world, but did not wish to spend that time adrift in memory.
Now the day was getting late and I was growing weary, but there was one final place I felt drawn too. It called out to me as something from a dream. There was a garden, what looked to be a man-made garden, organized with stone walkways. Behind the garden was another rectangular building with two extensions jutting out at both sides. Its colors were a faded yellow and white with a red roof. The right side the building was collapsed; rubble and debris lay about. A few decayed bodies were also present, tarnishing this otherwise beautiful location.
Upon inspection of the building it appeared to be a museum of the history of medical science. Near the entrance were exhibits covering ancient medicine, including folk religious practices, and the process of draining.
The upstairs broke down the history of medicine by subject, ophthalmology, gynecology, dentistry. Apparently botany was also once taught to the students, as it was represented here. One room had a marvelous baroque ceiling fresco
In the adjoining wing featured various tools for medical diagnostics, the hand dynamometer, a laboratory microscope. One room had a pharmacy, and the final section contained equipment for treating the ear, nose, and throat, and also held a large collection of tinted eye glasses. Selected medical equipment was present, such tools for surgery using beams of light, and the first artificial kidney and an iron lung.
In the open sky I could see the sun going down behind me and decided to take shelter here. I was in the nearby woods gathering firewood when I heard the rustling. My heart almost leapt from my chest. Did I finally find a survivor, someone to have as a companion? It was then I saw them, two black eyes staring out at me, its black nose sniffing the forest air. Without hesitation I shot the deer with my crossbow. In my early manhood I had become a civilized man, learned and cultured, but in my youth I was wild and untamed. The knowledge that later came from books and philosophy had no use for me in this desolate world.
The deer was gutted and I’d cooked the meat over a campfire. It was a clear evening, and there was no reason to be weary of sleeping outside. I supposed one advantage of being Earth’s last man is having no fear of robbery. Light from the fire flickered over the rubble nearby. I pondered what could have happened to this structure. I wandered over to the rubble and randomly sifted through it. Amongst the debris were a few books and other items that I presumed were once exhibits in the museum. Before I knew it I’d dug further and further, tossing rock and debris over my shoulder. Some secret ambition possessing my spirit drove me down into the earth. Finally I hit a large slab of stone. With my fingers clasped around its edges I pried it from the earth, and there under the moonlight I saw it. A massive arm stuck out of the soil. I uncovered more dirt and before long the body of a large man lay present before me. In the time before the plague I’d known some tall men, but he was the tallest I’d ever seen. My fire was still burning some distance behind me. Using the firewood I made a long torch and planted it near the ground close to the debris. The new torchlight allowed a clearer look at my find. He had deep black hair with a few specks of grey, and the whitest teeth. He did not appear to have died from the plague, in fact, although covered in stone I could find no wounds on his body to ascertain the cause of death. Since the body did not appear to have decayed I presumed he had died recently, yet his clothes were alien to me. It was a completely fascinating find. I sat down with the debris surrounding me, incapable of lifting my eyes from the man. Before long I nodded off.
Time had little meaning to me anymore, but it must have been deep into the night when I awoke. I sat up immediately, my head darting around in the night sky. My body shook as though awakened by a bolt of lightning. Nothing seemed unusual about my surroundings. I looked over to the body, it had not been disturbed, but I moved towards it, drawn by some irresistible force. I was being drawn to the most impossible moment of my existence, something I would never believe in a hundred years. First the fingers twitched. Though disturbing it was not unusual. Cadavers are known to have sparse movements, but then his chest began to slowly rise and fall. His eyes fluttered. How could he be alive? It was impossible for him to be alive. How long could he have been here and still be alive? Yet here he was, alive alive!
It did not strike me at first, but when reading this travelogue of a journey down the Danube river, a startling revelation came to my mind. It appeared this traveler was speaking of the city of Ingolstadt in the Bavarian mountains of Germany. The gate he describes at the edge of the city may have been the Kreutzor, constructed in 1385. It seems the Church of Our Lady was mentioned, as are what perhaps may be the old city hall, the Reduit Tilly, where the crown jewels and constitution were kept, and the grey tower Trivia in Klenzepark. Due to its location in the man-made garden, I presume the museum may be the old anatomy building of the former university of Ingoldsadt.
Ingolstadt, how would a prophetess from the founders of civilization know of this place? Admittedly there is much room to be skeptical of my claim, yet I believe in my heart it to be true. It was here I was graced with many stimulating discussions with various intellects. My dear Percy, now departed from me, even introduced me to a learned group of men there. They had their own private, what they called Church of learning. Please forgive me for pausing the narrative so I may stop and take a moment of wonderment.