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News & Features » January 2019 » “The Last Caucasian” by Yvette R. Murray

“The Last Caucasian” by Yvette R. Murray

In October 2017 we published An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, a rare literary science fiction set in a future universe so gorgeously described and perfectly self-contained—and yet so harrowing and cruel—that its only parallel universe is our own. Solomon’s novel has inspired this speculative fiction series. We’ve been through the past, and we haven’t really learned from it. The present? We’re too busy attempting to survive it. So we’re asking you to provide us a glimpse of what comes next. Illustrate the essential choices we must make in the present that will lead us to your brilliant utopian future. Or, if you cannot anticipate utopia, provide us instead with your cautionary tale. Show us where we will fall if we—when we—fail to alter our course. Fri-SciFi stories are published on Fridays because we expect we’ll need the weekend to contemplate your vision. 

This week, Dr. Stacey treats a delusional patient who believes he is the last Caucasian.

The Last Caucasian
by Yvette R. Murray
Earth, 2684

Dr. Stacey Roman watched as Roy, Chief Militia for Apex building, put down the copy of Fire Next Time he had been reading to reluctantly unlock the door for her. He warned her how little time she had to get to her dome before Kapoekan — or the Darkness — started again. She shot him back the same warning and they smiled warily at each other.

Her sharp footfalls echoed in loneliness down the long hallway to the triage ward. Militia found the patient naked, sitting in a wheelchair near Brittlebank Park. A mother on a picnic with her children had been kind enough to give him a blanket. He was lucky she had been there. No one else was around.

Stacey checked her antronic device. She had three hours to get the preliminary evaluation done, prescribe meds, and travel all the way back to the dome. Greg, her husband, and their two children always watched the last sunset before Kapoekan together. The ritual gave them peace. She was determined to hold onto that.

Her device vibrated. Greg! She took a deep breath. “Hey, Honey.”

“Sweetie, did your message say that you are back at the lab? Now?” 

“There was an emergency admission and this guy is delusional. I can’t let him stay without meds for three weeks. Can I, babe?”

Greg was usually the reasonable one. Not this time. “Can you finish and be ready for transport in an hour?”

“Give me an hour and fifteen?”

“One hour and fifteen minutes, Stacey. Not a second more. I’ll send a hoverlimo now. We can’t risk traffic.”

“I’ll be outside on the East ramp.”

“Go to the West. It’s quicker from that way.”

“Will do. I promise.”

Greg was right to be so firm with her. Once, about a year ago, Stacey had gotten caught outside of their dome within a half hour of Kapoekan. The closest dome where any of her relatives lived was twenty minutes away.

She tried to make it there but the air was already too poisonous to breathe and sunlight was diminishing by the second. So, she had decided to wait out the three weeks in the lab.

Those lonely, hungry, dirty weeks had dragged.  She had promised her family that she wouldn’t let that happen again. Determined to keep that promise, Stacey pushed open the doors to the Ward and greeted Mia. She was the psychiatric nurse practitioner who would be running this month’s rotation.

Stacey was pleased when Mia was in charge. She kept it all in order while everyone was gone. She liked Mia’s style too. This month she had long braids and her scrubs were always the vibrant colors of the Ancestors. Stacey admired Mia’s diligent study of 21st century culture and ancient history.

“Hey, doc. You’re here for the new guy, right?” She gestured to her wrist for Stacey to watch the time. “Here’s his chart.”

Mia handed it to Stacey and watched her expression as she began to read. “I’ve never seen this before. He’s a Lucy.”

“I haven’t either.” This kind of psychopathy could take hours to evaluate. Should I even try? Or just medicate ? I have to help somehow.

“Lucy” was the nickname psychiatrists gave to patients who believed that they were the last Caucasian on earth. That honor belonged to a man named Oscar Andrews, who died centuries ago in the hills of Appalachia.

Arriving at his room, Stacey peeked in through the small glass window. A handsome guy with a large afro, he lunged for the door when he saw her. The sound of his head smashing on the heavy steel boomed. “Help me! They’re going to get me.” She changed her mind about going in.

It’s a shame, Stacey mused as she arrived back at Mia’s desk, that the delusion manifested with paranoia. Mr. Andrews, a musician, had lived a full, happy life. In fact, his last recording was still one of Stacey’s favorites.

She sighed as she ordered DNA unsequencing and blood transjections before signing the prescriptions that would keep him calm until his treatment could begin. Mia hugged Stacey and they told each other to be careful.

On her way to the west ramp, she rang Greg on the device and smiled. The Hoverlimo was already there. “Honey, would you tell the kids I’m on my way and pull some Merlot out?” She could hear the smile in his voice when he replied.

***

YVETTE R. MURRAY loves to put words on paper. She graduated from Bishop England High School in Charleston, SC and received her B.A. in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Yvette R. Murray has been published on Charleston Poets, Charleston Currents, now Akashic Books, and in Genesis magazine. Presently, she is writing her first book of poetry, more science fiction and children’s books. She is a member of the South Carolina Writer’s Association, Poetry Society of South Carolina, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Ms. Murray lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her two daughters and her Pittie, Boss.

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Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Fri-SciFi series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines.

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a conceivable, not a fantastical, future. No dragons, please.
—With your byline, include the date or era OR galaxy or ship or planetary system in which your story takes place. Or both. But not neither.
—To be perfectly frank, we prefer dystopias. But feel free to surprise us.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words, and must be previously unpublished.
—Please include a short bio with your submission.
—Accepted submissions to Fri-SciFi are typically posted 1–3 months after the notification date, and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jan 24, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Fri-SciFi | Tags: , , ,



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