Only Us

The trade winds sink and sigh through the autumn mist, holding the birds as they soar and swoop amongst the falling sky, the terracotta glow drops below the horizon of trees. White towers gleam the moon and bow to the dark, shadows falling across the desolate land of our distant kin. The speckled sky mirrors the land as the crunch under foot stumbles down hills of human stars, each star glowing with the past. 
I’m cold, he wraps the torn sack round her, holds her tighter. The wind finds them and howls above, whipping around the cratered ceiling, the mist seeps but not falling. Endless dark unsettles their sleep as they cling together.

They woke to the birds singing, unfettered and unchecked, grown fat by the boundless gorged insects. Insects feeding on the upturned stars, a galaxy of souls, life after life, fed by our destructive force. They walk through valley hills, lined with the metal carcasses, husks of vehicles, strewn with jewellery and coins, humanities riches reduced to litter.

You’re late. Looking up the office was packed, all yapping with mindless yawning mediocrity, wrapped in cheap suits and cheaper intentions. If all were sheep then the wolf would exist in another world, but sheep to the slaughter can still kick and bite unless they do so willingly. In front of screens they main lined the world. A world of snow and ice, wind and hail, howling into the green-eyed void of reality. Lives a construction of someone else’s reality; a moment in time for someone else. Windows on past imagination and creation.

She stirs and he kisses her softly on the lips. Her eyes open and they find each other in the past. Walking in woods, the calming rain, pitter patter on their hoods as their boots squelch on the brown and orange leaves. A walk without worries, a protected shelter, now as dead as the world they shared.

We should eat, so they do with tentative unease, every meal closer to their last. He pulls a jar of brown granules from his pack, she smiles deeply as he adds a small amount to a battered mug of steaming water and hands it to her. She closes her eyes and breaths in the distinctive respite from the hordes of people. The annual winter gluttony draining not only your freedom but your joy. Yet it was joyous, and they talked of it often, the things you miss are never the things you thought you would. The singsong ease of melodies surrounded by wrapping and promise, a paradox of stifled happiness consumed by consuming. Their things packed up and wrapped against the world the leaves now gone, they set off towards the rising sun, their only guide.

The meaning was never lost, it was mislaid, and over the centuries it was buried under layers of others, anything other, everything other. Forever a future another that always was and never will be. A driving force for conquerors and conquered. The final force reflected in orange tears from ashen clouds, a rumbled bellow of anger and sorrow. The radio singsong warning of chaos and calamity, not a practice for us all, but a plan for us all, the end of us all? Not all, but nearly.

Do you remember? The only substitute, the only relief, the only hope. They trudge and speak of the beginning. Not of this, but of them; of a time without this – before this. Of fake lords and ladies gracing not our presence, but our screens, our lives through trickle ebbing floods. Denied by both and found each other in that unity, an arc against the rising tide.

Roads diverge, but they’ve taken both. Long thoughts and musings, rational yielded decisions, first one, then the other, always the same. Each day, each place, echoes of memories and nothing more as they took the path oft travelled through the frost of the dying world.

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