It all began with climate change. As temperatures increased across the globe, ice melted and sea levels rose. There were fires, heatwaves, and droughts alike. These disasters took away humankind’s basic necessities, but ignorance and indolence remained. The earth was crying out, but the human race refused to listen.

On one of these sweltering hot days, many were laying on their lawns, their bodies soaking in the warmth of the burning sun. Others rested silently indoors, inevitably defeated by the harsh weather. Countless animals were also sprawled across the eerily noiseless landscape, and healthy vegetation was nowhere to be found. They had all been unable to tolerate the blistering heat.

Seeking refuge from the dire state of the earth, one living being sat in a small patch of shade. Through the smog, he observed the terrain before him: dry, dwindled grass, and barren trees, some of which were still blazing with red-hot flames. As he inhaled the smoky, polluted air, he realized he had become long accustomed to the putrid stench that filled his nostrils with each laboured breath.

Drenched in sweat, he lazily rotated his head as he continued to view what had become of the world he once knew. He tried his best to take his mind off of his parched tongue and dry throat. He conjured thoughts of blue skies, lush greenery, cool water, and fresh air, realizing that dehydration was slowly getting the best of him.

Hope turned to despair. Thinking with a clouded mind, he desired for it all to be over. He wanted to shut his eyes and awaken in a different realm. Nevertheless, he kept trying to find a reason to hold on. He was seeking something to elevate his spirits, awaken his curiosity, and motivate him to survive. Perhaps there was someone like him out there.

Mustering up the little strength left in his feeble body, he managed to let out a weak sound. Amongst the crackling noises of the burning trees, he felt as though his voice echoed across the otherwise silent world. In reality, it was nothing but a measly “caw.”

He waited, downheartedly, for a response. Any noise would have sufficed. Two minutes passed. Then five. Ten minutes later, he made his final decision.

Through blurred vision, he looked at what remained for one last time: lifeless bodies, deserted buildings, futile vehicles and shrivelled-up vegetation. Earth was a gift to humanity, but they had taken their home for granted, and now it was melting into nothingness right before his eyes.

At last, he decided to allow himself to rest. Surrounded by the fires that had extinguished his will to live, the last sentient being on earth let his heavy eyes and burdened shoulders collapse.

The crow fell off his perch. His spiritless body landed on the tawny blades of grass below, making a soft thud noise as his feathers collided with the scorched ground. With his fall, the eleventh hour came to a close.