“I liked the rush, I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the fallout. Perhaps that was my first and probably biggest mistake. It’s a character trait that has plagued me throughout my life. Happy go lucky, no caring about the consequences of my actions, just settle for the buzz, the adrenalin high. This is beginning to sound like the words of that song, you probably know it, be it upon your own head if you don’t. It goes something like, “Lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink, and the devil take the hindmost in the morning,” sums me up spot on.
Now to get back to the point, just one backward glance and I would have noticed there was something incredibly wrong with the scene I had left behind. Instead of a mass of red and yellow flame with a sky-obscuring plume of oily smoke there was just a white glow and the crater which should have opened was rapidly filling in again. The whole expanse of earth, tarmac and brush started to flow like a river and no matter how hard I pressed my foot to the throttle, the car was still slowly moving backwards with me in it. This was more than unexpected, it was impossible, surreal and I did not want to be part of it. I surmised that the only way out was to get out and be very quick about it. With one hand I managed to release my seat-belt then I wrenched open my door and rolled out onto my side, leaving the car going away from me. By the time I finished rolling and got unsteadily to my feet I realised the error of my ways. It was like standing on a moving walkway and the sand-covered verge was slowly but surely pulling me back to the bomb-site. I didn’t have much time to figure out my next move. Wishing that I was Superman or any other of my childhood heroes I started to wonder what they would do. Then it hit me.”
And God looked down from on high at the gathering below. She smiled in order to put them at their ease, for arrayed in a circle below was a representative from all the nations of the Earth. Chosen at random and summoned while in an enchanted state, none had a recollection of how they had come to be here or why they had been so chosen. God enfolded them in her arms and in soft tones began to speak. Speaking in tongues so that all the gathering were able to understand the message she imparted. To emphasise her imparted warning a loud rumbling began to emanate from the very bowels of the Earth and the earth opened giving all assembled a glimpse of the infernal future for the planet. A certainty if these messengers were unable to convince their fellow countrymen throughout the world of the necessity for change. God released the people from their spell to return and begin their work. It was now dependant upon the inhabitants of the planet if they wished to avoid the second great flood. A flood of fire of their own making.
It was only when we arrived in the basin that I read once more the ancient scroll that had been entrusted to my safekeeping. I realised that despite many years of poring over by student and fellow supposed expert alike we had based on our ideas on a mis-translation of the words. By carefully reordering the words finely etched on the copper plates I could see that our expedition was bound to end in failure. A disbelieving Lot had thought they could divert a river back to save his home but the ferocious heat had turned it to salt.
Sam looked at the trees lining the highway. Varieties that he and his fellow prisoners had uprooted many years before. He knew tears would flow with every mile they covered, with each new memory. Memories of a life passed and lives lost amidst tears, both wasted and wasteful. Tears mixed with sweat-diluted blood. In the blazing, tropical, midday sun, moisture was precious, the guards watching every move, seldom and reluctantly offering water to drink. They had laid the track yard by yard but now he was perversely pleased to see their death railway transformed into the main highway through Burma
The borderlands grew wider and wilder every year. Old Seth had had plenty of years in which to note the changes. Now he felt tired. Of working, of the burning desert sun, of his aching limbs, failing eyesight and his life in general.
Every year there were more repairs needed in the shack and since his two, now adult boys never thought to visit no-one was able to give him a hand. Neighbors never called, in fact it had only just dawned on him that he had no neighbors. The encroaching desert sands and ever increasing summer temperatures had cleared the land far more thoroughly than a team of property developers ever could.
He was beginning to regret the lack of trees. Nowhere to organise a good hanging, even if it was your own. He sat down on one of the scorched boulders and idly ran the sand through his fingers, perhaps he could will himself to death in the way the old occupiers of the land did.
Resolved to try he closed his eyes.
Whether by accident or design the midday sun saved him the effort. Four days later the body was discovered when a real estate team happened to be passing on their way to his farm.
And all those gathered on the Plain of Saarkand breathed a sigh of relief as one.
For as they looked to the East, the first rays of the New Sun arose over the hill that was called The Old Maid’s breast. The harsh days of the cold season were past until the dark days arrived once more, as ordained by the Spirits of Earth and Sky.
With the rising of the sun the dark shadow of the beast, which the more superstitious among them had perceived as Kerhaan, the Dragon of Darkness, began to fade and crumble into glowing silver clouds. Soon to fall as life-giving rain on the high mountains. The rivers would flow freely once more down to the barren plain.
So would begin the new life phase.
Encouraged by the daily, ever-rising heat of the sun and the watering of the beast’s blood the farmers could once more begin the tilling of the earth and the sowing of the seed.
The Elders would continue to offer the sacrifice to the Ancestors and if they were not displeased once more would they fill the grain stores and feed their flocks.