It was years before our towns were properly rebuilt, but rebuilt they were, as more of us gathered in tighter circles; people with books, with skills they learned in the time before what we called the Age of Dissent. We worked our way out of that cluttered mess of rotted wood and crumbling brick and used old power lines and generators to power our homes, after some clever people figured out how to get the old stations back online. And with the power on, we could do more. We built our homes faster, and towns erupted all over, shivering clusters of people with no practical skills and people with the patience to teach.
But in this world of green and brown, some of us felt that we were missing something. Something important, though none could really say what that was. Then, someone found a book of paintings in a library they were trying to restore. And then they understood.
It was color that was missing from our lives. Oh, there was color all around; red in the sunsets, blue in
In the outskirts of a ruined city, a lone soldier marched on. Though her feet ached from blisters and the sharp stones that pierced the worn soles of her long-neglected shoes, she kept walking, slowing only when she checked the ragged bandages that covered her burned hands. What a battle, she thought, when the only enemy was nature.
She turned her head toward the night sky as a burst of wind threw dust into her eyes. Tears formed, but they couldn't cleanse her eyes, and they couldn't ease her pain, the useless things, so she wiped them away and returned her gaze to the sky. With the city lights long gone, the stars were so much brighter as the history of the universe swirled above her head, sharp points of light in so many colors, though the light was so many millenia old...
She used to be a star, or so she'd believed. A bold, blue star, burning with a fire hotter than anything else Nature could produce. But now, she likened herself to a white dwarf, still bright, still burn
We didn't really know what we were doing. Few of us knew how to live off the land, and those that did had scarcely a tool between them. What was salvaged from the ruined stores wouldn't last; that was clear. If we didn't grow something, we'd starve. We knew something had to be done, and soon, but nothing really seemed to be worth doing. Oh, we planted the seeds and watered them, weeded our gardens as best we could, but there was no real passion in it. And no one wanted to kill those chickens, or rig a line to catch fish. It was almost comical how little effort we were willing to put into surviving.
Eventually a few sprouts poked their heads through the soil. Eventually, some old man got an axe and hacked the heads off some chickens. Eventually, someone decided to catch some fish, but our little community was filled with people that weren't doing those jobs, or caring for the children, or rebuilding some shelters so we wouldn't get soaked by the rain that still dumped its tubs over our
The war started ages ago, probably around the time people started building houses in the middle of swamps because they'd be dead long before anyone got caught in the rain. The war against Nature, that moss-covered, flowers-in-the-hair wearing old lady that seemed to have it out for people since they first crawled out of the oceans and dared to live in brick buildings instead of mud-and-stick huts made with fallen tree limbs. Over time, as things like cars and airplanes started appearing out of nowhere, it seemed she got even more desperate to remind us of our mortality and the more we predicted her patterns, the worse she got. Soon enough, she started ripping the sheets from under our beds in the form of earthquakes and throwing storms at us strong enough to sink cities underwater. And we just climbed back out of the mud and said "Try harder, bitch!" while she settled in her ocean seat and grinned, whispering "I shall".
For years it seemed we were at a stalemate with old Mother Nature;
To the end of the world.
He is thirty years old.
Now, one doesn't suddenly become thirty years old. There are twenty-nine years and three-hundred-sixty-four days that come before the thirtieth year of life begins, but he has only just become aware of his age.
That's not to say he's forgotten all the months that came before, but living through them doesn't mean one is aware of the journey. Time simply struck him like a fly up his nose; he sneezed, and there it was. A lifetime behind him, memories preserved in the window that showed him what was.
He is thirty years old, and he wonders if the rest of his life will pass as quickly, if one day he will blink himself to his deathbed and wonder what happened to him, mourning the years he was never truly aware of. He wishes he could have more time to live, all the time in the world to do anything he wants. He wishes he could live to witness the end of time, so he could say "I've done everything" and die without regrets. He wishes he could never die.
He is thirty
I hate chairs
I don't remember when we got it; I just remember hating it. That splintered wood, the flat cushion made with some awful brown paisley fabric that smelled like moldy Cheerios and my grandmother's laundry soap...
Dad said he picked it up for ten dollars at a yard sale. I told him he'd be better off selling it again instead of sticking it in the living room, but he loved it to death. After a little washing and sanding, he managed to get the thing to not stab my finger when I touched it, but that's as good as it got. It still smelled horrible, but he didn't seem to notice.
It wasn't long before that chair became his signature spot. He watched television there, ate his dinner in that seat, even slept in the chair sometimes. It anyone else tried to take his seat, he kicked them out.
He died in that chair, and for some reason gave it to me.
It's gotten so old, now. The seat is faded and worn to pieces, the frame has rotted and one of the legs broke off some time ago. Yet nowadays I find mysel
Not what I had planned
How many days did she say to follow the river? What was waiting at the end, again? He couldn't remember. All he knew was that he'd know it when he saw it. Or so she said.
She said the trip would get him what he wanted most. She said he'd understand when he succeed. She said everything had meaning, and everyone had a purpose. She said this was a part of a greater plan.
He tried to explain that he wanted no part of any great plan. He didn't want to lead some holy war or save the forest or even write a best-selling novel. She wasn't even his God. He followed the Cloud, and only enough to not get caught in a rainstorm five miles from home. This fancy-footed God of Peace or whatever meant nothing to him.
But in this country of God's That Do Nothing But Still Get All The Credit, he couldn't just say "no" when the Heart gave an order.
So he started walking. The Cloud was kind enough to keep the rain at bay for him as he muttered insults in the Heart's General direction. She probably knew what
God pressed 'Play'
For a moment, all stood still, the world looking clouded with a silver-blue haze. Then life snapped back into motion, and the only thing left to do was watch the vehicles speed by barely over the limit as people attempted quite admirably to race to the end of the crosswalk before they got caught in the rush of oncoming traffic.
Danger didn't bother them, apparently. It didn't bother anyone. Not the people driving too fast, or the impatient folk crossing streets where there was no sign to tell them it was "safe", or the kids by the store trying to dodge sharp metal darts because they have nothing better to do
The world froze again, the haze filling the air again, though not as deep as before. Conversations were cut off mid-word, vehicles halted, never lurching, at high speeds in a manner reminiscent of a paused movie. Except this movie was of much better quality and the effects weren't quite so theatrical.
God pressed "Play" and people were moving again as if they hadn't all been