You might not know this, but I write. A lot. And like many writers, I often write experimentally. Try things out. So I have this folder on my computer labelled “Bits and pieces”. It contains short bouts of stuff I’ve written either for fun/expression, either to try out a new style, or even as a part of a future novel. They’re not complete. They’re not short stories. But instead of letting them collect digital cobwebs, I thought I’d polish the occasional piece and share it on the blog. So here’s one. Make of it what you like.
They come to me. From all over, I see them drawing near, like ants on a dead rat. From where I stand, I can see them coming for miles – little lines of humanity’s leftovers, small, sad, tepid ghosts dragging the chains of themselves behind them. It’s what’s left of us. It’s what we left for ourselves. And now, on that endless pursuit for meaning, this human detritus still gets on its feet and shuffles over to the mountain, the one landmark over a charred landscape.
They come over and stand at the foot of the mountain, looking up. They don’t know, they just feel for now. It’s rational bypass now, all gone, the logic, the analysis, the mind, the what-got-us-here, it’s just instinct of the basest kind, homing on some rock protrusion in a flat horizon, something different in the nothing that surrounds us.
They look up, watching me. And I look down, watching them. It’s not mercy, or grace. It’s not the pursuit of meaning, happiness or anything like that. It’s just a gaze. Eye contact. Species recognition. Acknowledgment between the damned.
In the grey sky, the light slowly collapses. Dusk. Night. No stars. No moon. Just the dark and the land spreading at my feet, twinkling now with a thousand little fires and tiny dark figures huddling quietly around them.
It’ll be cold tonight. It’s cold every night.
It’s all we have left.